Apr 072015 14 Responses

Ignore the Internet: Marriage Still Works

Marriage still works.

No matter what an article on the internet says, it is just as possible today as it has ever been to fall in love, develop a meaningful relationship, and stay married for life.

Anthony D’Ambrosio disagrees. In his article, 5 Reasons Marriage Doesn’t Work Anymore, D’Ambrosio argues that having a successful marriage is far more difficult in today’s world and his generation simply “isn’t equipped to handle marriage.”

It sounds compelling, but it is false. (See: Divorce is Contagious)

In his article, D’Ambrosio correctly identifies five problems which could hinder any marriage—failing to nourish a physical relationship, finances, refusing to communicate, seeking attention, and the dangers of social media.

While these are real issues to any marriage, D’Ambrosio comes to a false conclusion that they are unique to his generation, beyond the control of a couple, and are radically different challenges than past generations have faced.

This article is an excerpt from my book Friends, Partners, and Lovers.

All three of his assumptions are false.

While I do not doubt that D’Ambrosio sees many failed marriages around him, what he fails to see are the many marriages which are thriving in the midst of the very culture which he claims hurts marriage.

As I’ve written before, healthy marriages are happening everywhere. It is a false and dangerous conclusion to assume that most marriages are failing. They aren’t. Many couples are navigating the challenges of living in today’s complex world while also having meaningful relationships.

Here is the danger: when you believe the lie that most marriages are failing, you will be tempted to write a false story if your marriage struggles.

Instead of taking responsibility for your marriage, you might think, “Well, no one can have a good marriage in this world.”

Instead of seeing your marriage as a result of your decisions, you might say, “This is society’s fault.”

Instead of knowing every marriage should have struggles which we should overcome, we might think, “This is a tough spot so this is when we are supposed to find someone new.”

The problem with the idea that marriage doesn’t work anymore is that it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The truth is:

Marriages today fail for the same reason marriages in the past have failed—one or two people make bad choices and those bad choices have bad consequences.   

The culture isn’t cursed. (See: The Most Overlooked Characteristic of Who You Want to Marry)

Society isn’t doomed to failure.

The next generation isn’t facing a radically different landscape regarding relationships.

Without question there are new challenges, but:

Don’t tell me communication is more difficult today. Technology doesn’t hinder communication; poorly using technology hinders communication. It can also be used for tremendous good–text your spouse you love them, right now.

Don’t pretend finances are worse today than years past. Neither of my grandfathers were able to afford a modest engagement ring for my grandmothers, yet both were married for over fifty years. Foolish spending hurts relationships. Failing to discuss money kills relationships. Don’t accept it. Take a Dave Ramsey class and figure it out.

Don’t fall for the lie that sex stops when you pop the question. Man up (or woman-up) and get it on. Develop a healthy sexual relationship. Tell the truth—sex is better when you “practice” it on a regular basis with the same person over a lifetime. If none of your married friends are having sex, get different married friends because the ones you have are probably frustrated, unhappy, and are clearly setting a bad example.

Not a single person will get divorced this year because the year is 2015. Many people will get divorced for the same reason people have divorced in years past–because they did not intentionally work on their marriage. (See: The Number One Cause of Divorce)

I empathize with aspects of D’Ambrioso’s article. When marriages all around you are failing, it can feel like every marriage is hopeless. But I think his individual experience is clouding reality.

Whenever I did my clergy training in a hospital, the chaplain who trained me gave some wise advice. He said, “Always remember that in many hospitals the ICU is on the same floor as Labor and Delivery.” He told me that anytime I spent an extended period of time with someone in ICU and they died, make sure I walked by the nursery window in Labor and Delivery to remind myself that my one experience doesn’t define everyone at that moment. Even while some are dying, others are being born.

I would give the same advice to D’Ambrioso or anyone else who thinks marriages today are in trouble. Many are, but many more are not. Surround yourself with strong marriages and your marriage is more likely to thrive.

Marriage still works.


14 Responses to Ignore the Internet: Marriage Still Works
  1. […] Appearances matter. Couples don’t have to ignore what they are projecting to others. Yet they ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/the-appearance-of-a-good-marriage
  2. […] As a writer, it is hard to gauge if a book is truly meaningful or not, so the number of sales often ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/9-traits-of-a-healthy-marriage-part-1

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