Sunday, March 11, 2012
Comforts of Marriage
I am catching up on This American Life episodes, and I listened to the Valentine's Day show today at the gym. The theme is "What I Did For Love," and the first act features Kurt, a guy who dated his college girlfriend for 10+ years. They met when they were 17 and started dating right away. When they are 30, they decide to take a month-long break from their relationship to sleep with other people before they get married. As you can imagine, this doesn't go as planned, and they end up breaking up.
At the end of the act, Kurt says he has a plan for marriage if he ever does marry. He wants to commit for seven years, and then after seven years, the marriage will end unless he and his wife decide to recommit and remarry. He thinks this will make the relationship stronger.
I had a same page moment with Ira Glass when he responded to Kurt's theory. Ira said that he disagreed because one of the comforts of marriage is knowing that there isn't a an out in seven years. Even if you're not getting along with your spouse right now in the short term it is okay because you've made a commitment and you know that you're going to work it out. Even if you are hating each other right now, it is comforting to know that you have time to work it out and that makes it easier. Same page, Ira, same page!
I remember before we got married, I had a couple of friends who were married tell me that it doesn't feel any different. That we'd wake up the next day and we'd be married, but we'd still have the same life. And, I wasn't expecting to feel all that different after our wedding, but you know, I feel a lot different being married than being engaged or dating. We are officially a family now, and we've committed to staying together for the rest of our lives. That really means something, and Ira is right, it is comforting to know that even if we have a spat or disagree about something, we will work it out like families do. We know we will and we have the time to do it and that is so comforting. For me, that is a big change from dating. Even if we're not on the same page about a particular issue we'll figure it out because we are on the same team.