What Marriage Isn’t

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About Gint Aras

Gint Aras has two decades of experience teaching, over ten of them in a Chicago-area community college. He writes a weekly column, True Community, about young men and education. His writing has appeared in St. Petersburg Review (forthcoming, 2014), Antique Children, Criminal Class Review, Curbside Splendor, Dialogo, Šiaurės Atėnai and other publications. He's a photographer and the author of the cult novel, Finding the Moon in Sugar. Check out his website, Liquid Ink and follow Gint on Twitter @Gint_Aras.


  1. First year of my marriage sucked. My wife had this fantasy as to what marriage would be like. She had the proverbial rose colored glasses on and when she took them off, it was completely different. We worked at it and 38 years later, I can’t see my life with anyone else.

    Let’s face it, people base what they expect in life on what they see in movies and TV. Just like people thought living in Manhattan with friends (the TV show Friends) was attainable when most of the time the friends were struggling financially and often times unemployed. How many people strived to live like the people on Friends?

    Marriage is no different. How it’s portrayed in movies and sitcoms isn’t realistic. I will admit that my expectations were somewhat more grounded in that I came from an intact family with a variety of issues. Being the youngest of 7, I was exposed to real life issues for many years that people don’t see in movies. The day to day doldrums, the generation gap between me and aging parents. These were all issues directly related to our household.

    Marriage is what we make it, it should never be what we see others have or what people may think it should be. It is what it is. It’s what we make it. To say that romance is as strong 38 years later, I would be telling a lie. Is there romance? Yes but 38 years later, romance isn’t as important as our just being together.

  2. “When did you figure out what marriage isn’t?”

    That is a great question…

    We only got married after being together and LDR for 10 years…if you can get through grad school and career start-up years together (or sort of together), then you can get through anything….that kind of training tends to shatter all your illusions and helps you to get real and prioritize what is important in life…

    That said….our relationship has definitely not been perfect…and there have been many times I did not speak freely or as honestly as I should have because I was afraid of losing the relationship…actually, speaking up sooner would have been the thing to have made it stronger….

    Death of a parent, illness, layoffs, various health crises, and parenting issues all test you in real life…how you resolve conflict like mature adults and with respect and empathy to your partner is the key…

    Pent -up anger is best dissipated with close friends and a great psychotherapist…sometimes you need a person from outside the relationship to keep you in perspective and to bounce off stuff and be the pressure release….I think I have been holding in a lot of negative feelings for years and it is terrible when you think you have to hold it in or that no one is listening….always best to just let it out somehow, some way….

  3. Wow, what great insight from a 20-year-old male! I’d say he has a leg up on the ‘game’ by realizing these things so early on. I think these are conclusions that most people, men and women, come to eventually, but usually after having been burned – and then the conclusions might come tinged with bitterness.

  4. wellokaythen says:

    You can probably guess what I’m going to say, because I’m like a broken record on this.

    There is no such thing as Marriage With a Capital M. It’s probably impossible to say something that applies to all marriages all around the world. There is really just an aggregate of individual marriages, loosely lumped together sometimes by the common ideas that some people have about what marriage should be and shouldn’t be. When you discover “what Marriage isn’t,” what you’re really discovering is “what your marriage isn’t.”

    The biggest misconception of marriage is the assumption that all good marriages are the same, and the corollary that all bad marriages are the same. A particular marriage works or doesn’t work based on the specific things that the spouses do within that marital relationship. If a marriage fails, it’s not the failure of all forms of marriage, it’s the failure of a particular kind of marriage that those two people tried in the way that they tried it. Maybe a different form of marriage would have worked better, or maybe if the two had the same approach to marriage it would have worked better.

    (Or perhaps the two people made a mistake marrying each other in the first place. Not everyone is happiest or most fulfilled being married, no matter how many different kinds of marriage there are.)

    For your marriage to work, you will have to write your own vows, even if you don’t literally write your own vows. I don’t mean write your own personalized vows for the wedding ceremony, I mean you and your spouse have to work out the ground rules for yourselves with each other in mind as you go along. I think importing vows that society tells you to take and then never talking about them again can be a recipe for disaster.

    • We didn’t write our own vows and have managed to stick with what we committed to 38 years ago. I honestly believe that it was to our benefit that we married young. We weren’t set in our ways and grew together and made the other part of who we became.

      @D-vision …It was totally worth it for me. Can’t see myself ever being single. My wife and I banter about who wants to go first because neither of us want to live without the other. Yeah, in my case, definitely worth it.

  5. Marriage isn’t worth it.


  1. [...] I mentioned in a previous article, I recently posed the question When did you figure out what marriage isn’t? to men over social [...]

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