Sunday, September 16, 2007

Marriage, a sacred union -- well not anymore!

Ok, I'm on my soap box again. I clicked open my Internet Explorer and by default (which I've never bothered to changed) the MSN homepage popped up. And right there in front of me, the headline read "The Starter Husband: Is it wrong to have a practice marriage?" Huh? Did I read that correctly? Surely they're joking, right? Well, curiosity got the best of me and I clicked the link to the article. And beneath the ginormous title read "You'd never buy a car without test-driving it first right? So why settle into a lifelong marriage before trying one on for size?" And OH.MY.GOSH, they were not kidding. They've written a whole, three page article about this! So, to the best of my ability, I'm going to try and sum up just what in the heck this article said . . . and then you'll hear from me!

The article begins telling the story about Andi (wife) and Tucker (husband). Everything is told from Andi's perspective.

"I'm just really not ready to be committed like this." That's what Andi said to Tucker, her husband of 11 months, after she came home from a crazy day at work two years ago with an overwhelming urge to quit her marriage. Today. Right now. "This just isn't for me."

She watched Tucker crumple against the dining-room table. "I don't understand," he said, over and over. "We're married."

"I was married for like, two seconds." That's what Andi says to me today, her enormous kohl-rimmed blue eyes crinkling as she recounts her drive-through union. "It was literally an entry-level marriage."

Hearing her words, I flinch slightly. We're talking about an event that's supposed to be a turning point in life, and she sounds so cavalier. And yet, Andi is only articulating what the one in five women under age 30 who get divorced every year must thinking. (Really? Can I get a witness? Are there any sane, Christian women under 30 willing to chime here?)

THE REASON FOR THE DIVORCE . . .Within months of promising to love and honor and cherish Tucker forever, she knew she had made a huge mistake. The problem? He was boring. "Wholly uncomplicated," as she puts it. The kind of guy who reads Tom Clancy books on the couch and watches Adam Sandler movies while dreaming of white-picket fences. Going to depressing French movies, leapfrogging over the less ambitious on the company ladder — those were the things that excited Andi. "The idea of spending my life with someone like that seemed stifling," she says. "It finally just got to me that he was so . . . sunny." (Was he beating her? No. Was he mean to her? No. Was he controlling her? No. Oh, yes . . . he was BORING, people! Hey Andi, had you met Tucker prior to marrying him? If so, had you not noticed before that he was boring? Or did he all of the sudden become that way after marrying you? Seriously?!?)

"Oh, my God, it was so easy," she says, exhaling loudly. "I realized, I can get out of this, and he can get out of this, and we can get on with our lives." They sold the condo and split the profits, and that was that. She felt bad about hurting his feelings, but she never doubted her decision. I raise an eyebrow. "Never," she repeats. "I think marriage is the new dating and having kids is the new marriage," she proclaims loudly, as yet another woman dining with her partner turns to stare. "It's true. I wouldn't have married him if I didn't think I could get out of it." ("I wouldn't have married him if I didn't think I could get out of it." Let me just ask you Andi . . . are you a compulsive liar or what? Because if you stated the same vows that I did, you said you would love Tucker, honor Tucker and cherish Tucker until death do you part. DEATH.DO.YOU.PART . . . that means FOREVER!! So, why would you say those words and think "I'm only marrying him knowing that I can get out of this thing when I darn well please"? WHY?)

The author of the article says:
Andi was my introduction to the concept of an icebreaker marriage but certainly not my last. Burning through a starter husband is almost becoming a rite of passage: While newly-marrieds everywhere fear the one-in-two-marriages-fail statistic, the more relevant stat is that while the median age at which a woman first marries is 25, the median age at which she first divorces is 29. In fact, 20 percent of marriages fail within five years, and of those, one in four end within two years. So much for until death do us part. For some, a starter husband is like a starter home — a semi-commitment where you're willing to do some of the surface work, like painting the walls, but not the heavy lifting, like gutting the whole foundation; he's just not a long-term investment. Others compare a starter husband to a first job, where you learn some skills and polish your resume before going after the position you really want.

Elisa, another marriage tester outer says:

My own parents' bitter divorce — many, many years in the making — played out right around the time of my engagement. I knew all too well what the seamy underbelly of marriage looked like, and it had made me incredibly cautious about commitment — it took me seven years of dating my husband before I could consider the concept of "forever."

Still, it's a legacy that cuts deep. "We were both like, We're going to do this right! Divorce is for losers," Elisa says of her and her ex's attitude toward their own parents' divorces. But she knew in the back of her mind that there was a plan B, that marriage was not necessarily a binding contract. And when she realized that she didn't even have a clue what a good marriage looked like, let alone what one felt like, she didn't hesitate to produce her Get Out of Jail Free card. "It was a constantly pitched, keyed-up hell," she says. Their downstairs neighbors left a note on their door: "I don't know what the hell is wrong with you people, but you need to stop screaming at each other." (Elisa, did it ever cross your mind to seek help? Do you think that if you marry again, there won't be arguments? Get a clue honey! There WILL be arguments. There may even be YELLING - gasp!)

It's easy to write these women off as callous or self-absorbed (ahem . . . yes!). And yet on some level, they just might be pioneers: Why stay put in an empty shell of a marriage — an arrangement on paper only — instead of calling it what it is? "This generation is reinventing marriage," says Paul. (This whole paragraph just sickens me. Why get into a marriage that is "an arrangement on paper only." Are these people even using their brains? Where is the taking responsibility for your actions, huh? Who said that marriage needs to be reinvented? Mr. Paul . . . Do you think that God needs our help reinventing marriage? Absolutely not! Marriage is an institution ordained by GOD - not by man!!!)

My opinions:

Can you believe this article? It infuriates me. And unfortunately, this is how many people view marriage. It's nothing more than an agreement than can be broken at any time.

Now I'm not saying that divorce is not absolutely necessary sometimes. I am not against divorce per say. Sometimes divorce is unavoidable. Like for Tucker . . . he didn't want the divorce, Andi did. And it seemed that no matter what Tucker said or did, it wasn't going to change Andi's mind. Hear me: I'm against people going into the marriage intending divorce. Poor 'ole Tucker, he sounded shocked. Andi fully admits in the article that the divorce was not a result of anything that Tucker had done. So, he's an innocent victim of this "starter marriage" syndrome.

I feel sorry for Elisa and Andi. I hope that they have since comed to their senses. But unfortunately people . . . this is the world that we are living in . . . God help us, literally!

Romans 7:2
1 Corinthians 7:10

I know there's more . . . but I'm done now!


At A Hen's Pace said...

What a shocking article. It almost sounds like it was written to bring out the maximum shock value. I hope that the MAJORITY of twenty-somethings don't enter marriage with such ideas.

However, I'm sure it's a higher percentage than it used to be, especially as we've gotten farther away from the understanding of marriage as a sacramental covenant.


Anonymous said...

I know as Christians we have to keep refuting the "wisdom of the world" and point to God's better way, where two become one, and each seeks the good and wellbeing of the other. Quite different from the "look out for me" attitude of those who aren't following God's way. The sins of pride/greed/get all I can get sure show up in their philosophy.... Yes, Christians have some disagreements too, but forgiveness and love are our forte, enabling us to experience "taking the high road". Ain't it great? Love, Pianomum