Apr 072015 13 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.

 

13 Responses to Ignore the Internet: Marriage Still Works
  1. Larry & Kris Reply

    Celebrating 40.5 years today as we read this tells us this article is completely true. The one lie we never fell for is that “Marriage is Hard”, that seemed like a self-fulfilling failure statement. We knew a life long marriage would be worth it, and we invested in what we valued. Our marriage is full of joy, adventures, saying yes, peace and just plain fun. When we operate under the principles of how we were designed, life just works.

  2. Dan Reply

    This reminds me of something else you said a while ago. That one needs to marry a grown-up, not a child. I think the biggest reason marriages are ‘not working’ for this younger generation, is that this younger generation refuses to grow up.

    You are correct in that none of the problems Anthony D’Ambrosio says are anything new. These problems have always existed in some form. I remember my grandmother complaining about my grandfather doing nothing but listening to ‘that talking box’. She was referring to the ‘radio’.

  3. Aloise Reply

    Oh my! I wish I could “like” this a million times. I’ve seen the article multiple times, but refused to comment. I knew it would create a firestorm on my Facebook page. You summed up my sentiments exactly. As a single young lady, this encourages me. With tears in my eyes, THANK YOU! #sharing

  4. Carli Reply

    Every generation deals with their own challenges. If you want to make it work you still can, though. My husband and I are 30 and 32, so close in age to the guy who wrote the original article. Next month we will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. We are still very much in love and happy together.

    Marriage is work, but so are so many other beautiful things that we don’t quit just because we are having a hard time of it. And marriage is fun. It is worth all the work we put into it. Our marriage works because we make each other and our marriage high priority.

  5. Kevin A. Thompson Reply

    Happy anniversary Carli. Work and fun are a great way to describe marriage.

  6. Michelle Reply

    July 3, 1987. I stood with my husband and exchanged vows before God, our Pastor and family and friends. VOWS. That is what they are and in 28 years there have been better and worse BUT NEVER has God not been a huge part of our marriage. If you are with the one God chose for you and your marriage is a threesome with God it can and will work.

  7. Susie Reply

    This article reminds me of a great comment I read in another article somewhere, “Whose promise are you going to believe? God’s, or the world’s?” The world says being married is hard. The world says married sex is boring. But when we honor God in our marriage, He blesses our marriage in unthinkable ways!!

  8. […] Appearances matter. Couples don’t have to ignore what they are projecting to others. Yet they ... kevinathompson.com/the-appearance-of-a-good-marriage
  9. Jimmy Ipock Reply

    I’ve heard this “marriage is hard” thing for years, never made any sense to me. I’ve been married for 22 years, it’s never been hard at all. It’s been fun and exciting and great the whole time. I can honestly say it’s gotten better every year.

    If marriage is hard for a couple, then my guess would be one, the other, or both of them are selfish in some areas. My wife and I argue over who can be most helpful to the other person.

  10. Max Reply

    Hello, Kevin, Thanks for this article. So you say “Sex is better when you “practice” it on a regular basis with the same person over a lifetime”. Well, maybe, but that’s if the other person agrees. If your wife just keeps on denying sex for months, for years, and when you talk about it she says you’re a pervert, what’s the point of the marriage?

    Honest question.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      It’s a fair question. I would get with a good counselor and work through it.

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