Author Topic: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY  (Read 3315 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« on: February 21, 2011, 12:37:13 pm »
from Black and Married with Kids.com:

MARRIAGE WAS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY

I posted the following as my status on Facebook yesterday:

Marriage was not designed to make you happy, satisfied, or whole. If you go into it for any of the aforementioned reasons, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Some of my friends asked me to expound, so I guess I’ll take a stab at it here.

First let me preface this post by saying that I in no way claim to be an expert on marriage. My husband and I have been married a little under four years and we’re still learning a lot of things about being married. If you want expert advice, talk to someone who’s been at this for decades (and let me listen in). I can only share what I’ve learned so far. Further, I assure you that, despite the tone of this post, I really love being married. However, I don’t want people to be delusional about what marriage is or is not. So let me share with you what marriage cannot do.

Marriage cannot make you happy.

I think it’s safe to say that many people who want to be married think that marriage will make them happy, but I maintain that’s just not true. We’ve all grown up with the fairy tales where the princess finds a prince, gets married, and lives “happily ever after.” Simply put, nothing can “make” you happy. Absolutely nothing. Happiness is a personal choice and is not contingent upon one’s circumstances. There are plenty of happy poor folks and miserable millionaires. If you aren’t happy before marriage, chances are you won’t be happy in it. And unfortunately, a lot of people get dejected when they enter a marriage and realize they’re not as happy as they thought they’d be. Learn to be happy independent of outside influences.

Marriage does not equal satisfaction.

Let me be clear: you will not be completely satisfied in your marriage 100% of the time. You’re talking about two people who were raised by different mothers, were taught different standards, and somehow decided it would be a good idea to join together and become a unit. But because they are still two very distinct people, clashes naturally arise when expectations don’t align with reality. He has different ideas about cleaning than you do. She has different ideas about money than you do. You both thought sex would be more plentiful than it currently is. Somebody is going to be disappointed occasionally.

There is not a single person on earth who can completely live up to your expectations because all of us fall short. Whomever you marry will likely disappoint you, and I’m sure you won’t do much better. And don’t think you can change the things you don’t like about him or her. That’s a dead-end road, and even if you did “fix” those things, chances are you’d only find more things later that need to be “fixed.” Go into a marriage expecting the other person to fall short (within reason) and decide preemptively to extend some grace when they do.

Marriage cannot make you whole.

Everyone wants to feel complete, whether it’s in their careers or their personal lives. They somehow don’t feel like they can sit back, relax, and enjoy life until they have something they’ve always wanted. Sadly, plenty of people put their happiness on hold for some hypothetical day in the future when they have everything they want, including a marriage and family. If partial contentment is your status quo and the way you live your life, I can guarantee you that once you do obtain the things you think you want, you’ll find a reason not to be happy with them. Something will always be out of place.

Oh and another thing… do NOT go into a marriage expecting your spouse to make you better, fix your hurts from your past, or give you everything you ever thought you’d need. Only God can do that. Please, if you have personal issues that you’re aware of, work on them before you get married or you will sabotage yourself. Your spouse is not your therapist or your fairy godparent.

So, why get married in the first place?

Well, only you can answer that. But I can tell you one indispensible prerequisite for a successful marriage: be prepared to work. Marriage is beautiful, blessed, and sacred, but it’s not for punks. They say it takes work, but I say it more than requires work — it is work personified. It is a full-time job requiring a lot of spiritual, mental, and emotional strength. When you hear the words “for better or for worse,” imagine what the “worse” could possibly look like and honestly ask yourself if you have the wherewithal to thrive in those situations. If you don’t have it, that’s fine. There are far worse fates in life than to live it as a single person. But if you feel you have the fortitude to fully submit to another person until one of you leaves this earth, by all means go for it.

There is honestly no nobler thing than to dedicate your life to someone other than yourself, which is essentially what marriage is. You have to have the heart of a servant to do this thing correctly. Can you still fix him a plate even after he’s thoroughly pissed you off? Would you still put gas in her car for work tomorrow even after she’s stepped all over your ego? After days of fighting and arguing, can you still muster the humility to pray for one another? These are the types of things successfully married people do. In this job, you don’t clock out just because you’re not “feeling it.” That’s a hard thing for people to understand in a culture of selfishness, but it is what it is. Strong marriages are comprised of strong people, so you must ask yourself before you get to the altar, “Am I strong enough?”

Denise is a wife, mother, professional web designer, and minister-in-training living in the D.C. area. Check out her blog, How Mama Got Her Swag Back.


Offline Battle

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 06:53:14 am »
From the article:

MARRIAGE WAS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY




Ya See? :D
I knew it all along!

Offline moor

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 08:50:42 pm »
I'd say it's more like three full-time jobs, on top of the one you go to from 9-5.


Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 12:19:24 am »
Soooo...don't get married, co-habitat for life? *takes notes* Got it, thanks.
"don't fight the power, be the power" - Reginald Hudlin

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 06:51:50 am »
Soooo...don't get married, co-habitat for life? *takes notes* Got it, thanks.
Fellas, what makes you married, truly married, isn't the ceremony or the legal piece of paper.

It's the kids. 

That's the deepest of all lifetime commitments.  If want to see your kids everyday until they they leave to start their own life, you have to stay married. 

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 10:50:27 am »
I thought the #1 reason to not get married was the divorce laws, actually. It seems designed to make the man pay, regardless of who's at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. So its just funny to me here's an article saying there's really nothing in it to get married. You can co-habitat and stay in a committed relationship and still see the kids you have from that relationship.
"don't fight the power, be the power" - Reginald Hudlin

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 11:31:12 am »
I thought the #1 reason to not get married was the divorce laws, actually. It seems designed to make the man pay, regardless of who's at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. So its just funny to me here's an article saying there's really nothing in it to get married. You can co-habitat and stay in a committed relationship and still see the kids you have from that relationship.
Whether you are married or not, once the relationship ends you are in a bad way, both financially and right-wise. 

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011, 12:39:36 pm »
I thought the #1 reason to not get married was the divorce laws, actually. It seems designed to make the man pay, regardless of who's at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. So its just funny to me here's an article saying there's really nothing in it to get married. You can co-habitat and stay in a committed relationship and still see the kids you have from that relationship.

Whether you are married or not, once the relationship ends you are in a bad way, both financially and right-wise. 


Of course, but its usually both parties that are in a bad way, not just one (the man) if the relationship that ends is a marriage.

We got this:


and of course this:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8227235/Husband-facing-five-years-in-jail-after-hacking-wifes-email.html

I think that last one was posted her recently in another thread. But the point is I see no point to getting married, and the original intent of this thread only added to it. If the only counter is "you have to decide why to get married for yourself", which is nebulous and vauge, and "do it for the kids", is all that's available, I'll take my chances co-habitating. If you're already putting in the work to make the relationship work, why change that dynamic and give one party more leverage over you (alimony in the event of a divorce) when things are fine just the way the are?
"don't fight the power, be the power" - Reginald Hudlin

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2011, 01:26:34 pm »
I used to feel the same way, BPStorm4ever. By way of background, let me say I have been married for 16 years but I've been with my wife for 22 years. Our children are 12 and 9.

That is to say, we were together for a good while before we got married and neither of us felt any urgency. I certainly agree that the relationship is primary. For us it became more a question of why not get married.

There is something profound about the ritual of marriage. Standing before your circle of family/friends and declaring your love and commitment with your partner is an affirmation of your status as a team and can help others to help you to sustain your relationship. Sometimes determination is needed to sustain commitment. Anything that helps is good.

Finally, the clarification of your societal status is a subtle but real change. People know what marriage is and so introducing your wife is straightforward and clear. Everything between single and married requires explanation. You can say what you like about individualism and every situation being unique -- and that's true -- but nobody is an island.

Nobody should get married unless they want to, of course. I do believe that with a good person (for you) it can be an avenue to a satisfying life. Not being alone has its advantages.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2011, 01:34:01 pm »
Curtis, the only thing I can add to all that is I've always loved the fairytale view of marriage. Two people love each other so much they want to make that even stronger, an unbreakable bond, one soul two bodies, strong enough before but now together strong enough to conquer the PLANET if they felt like it. Why do you think I like the idea of Black Panther and Storm together so much?  ;D

But just like Black Panther and Storm, that fairytale view is fiction. Or at least it has become that way. With a divorce rate of over 50%, marriage has become simply the intermission to alimony. And it doesn't seem likely to change. Of course there are exceptions, I don't know you or Mr. Hudlin well but I'd dare say you two are part of the exception. But the exception is not the norm, unfortunately.
"don't fight the power, be the power" - Reginald Hudlin

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2011, 02:00:49 pm »
I feel you. I used to think romantic love was a hoax. If I hadn't met my wife, maybe I'd still believe that. I can only offer my experience as one data point.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: MARRIAGE IS NOT DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU HAPPY
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 02:32:39 pm »
Here's the thing about a 50 percent failure rate.  That means a 50 percent success rate. 

This only becomes a real issue when you find someone that you actually want to be with.  Because when you want to be with someone, you focus on how to make it work.  And actually being married helps. And if you're not interested enough in a person to bother with trying whatever it takes for it to work, then who cares?