There are those who say that if men complain about marriage they will often get in trouble. Additionally, there might be a romanticizing or fearing that if we talk about it too much, marriages will just fall apart. Is it better to let sleeping dogs lie?
This is a comment by wellokaythen on the post “Open Thread: Why Are Men Reluctant to Write About Marriage?“
I enjoy my relationship with my wife now, although I didn’t enjoy it much earlier in the relationship. We’ve started over from scratch, basically. That’s where I’m coming from here.
What I’ve noticed is that the way that our society currently talks about marriage appears to have a kind of split personality. On the one hand, a lot of people think that marriage is “under assault” somehow today, being dragged through the mud, shattered, etc. On the other hand, in part in response to this, a lot of people have simply re-invested in all the hopeful illusions of the romantic view of marriage. So, I detect a kind of bunker mentality out there that might explain the reticence. In many cases, they compensate by devoting even more attention to the wedding, so that if they’re thinking about place settings they won’t have to think about thornier issues.
I get the sense that there’s some fear out there that marriage is extremely fragile, that individual marriages are extremely fragile, and looking too closely might bring down the whole house of cards. Much of the romance of our intimate relationships is based on pleasing illusions. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, but taking it too far tends to create a vicious cycle. The more my illusions are challenged, the more tightly I hang on to them, so the less I want to discuss them.
So, many married men have a sneaking fear that if they examine marriage too closely, the cracks will get bigger. They may have to take responsibility for their own happiness and their own fate. Not an easy thing when the slightest expression of discontent often means one or more of the following:
- Not grown up yet
- Afraid of commitment
- Don’t appreciate everything your wife has done for you
- Whining — do you realize the crap that your wife has to put up with?
- Need to count your lucky stars that any woman puts up with you
Now, all that being said, this is clearly a partial explanation. It doesn’t fully explain why someone would be reluctant to speak as a single man writing under a pseudonym. If you’re afraid of anonymous castigation when you write anonymously, then that’s a pretty unnecessary fear in my book. Perhaps the larger social issue is that too many people care too much about how anonymous online people think about them. (Usually it’s the opposite, people don’t care enough how they come across online, but sometimes it goes the other way.)
Want to nominate a comment of the day? Email the comment and the post it was on to [email protected]
Photo credit: Flickr / alastairas