There’s an article floating around the internet called ‘5 Reasons We Can’t Handle Marriage Anymore’. James Michael Sama debunks it completely.
Anthony D’Ambrosio is a 29 year old sex and relationship columnist who recently published an article titled ‘5 Reasons We Can’t Handle Marriage Anymore.’ He and I are the same age until May 29th, when I turn the big 3-0. I mention this because Anthony’s article speaks in generalities about those in our age range.
The article, which paints his (our) generation with fairly broad brushstrokes and suggests that none of us are capable of having a successful marriage due to some generalizations which Anthony seems to think that everyone our age shares. It is worth noting that Anthony is divorced after a marriage which began in 2012.
In this article, I will outline his points and give my own opinions in return. I welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
1) Sex becomes almost non-existent.
In this point, Anthony discusses the virtual inevitability of a sexless marriage.
“Instead, we have sex once every couple weeks, or when it’s time to get pregnant. It becomes this chore. You no longer look at your partner wanting to rip their clothes off, but rather instead, dread the thought. That’s not crazy to you?”
Now, I am not married yet, but I have parents and grandparents who have been married for decades. Not that anyone wants to think about their parents being intimate, but I can say with confidence that lack of affection is not an issue for them. The statements Anthony makes here are presented as universal and factual, where the reality is they are just not.
He goes on to suggest that visual stigma around us such as ‘half naked’ photos will cause us to become less attracted to our spouse. I never use “lol” when writing articles, but the only thing I can say to this is…lol.
Anyone who is familiar with my writing knows that I spend a lot of my time discussing the importance of keeping the romance alive even in a long term relationship. This means continuing to date each other, show your appreciation, doing the little things, and stoking the fire. Yes, that very much includes sex too.
I do not want to point fingers at anyone, but if one’s marriage becomes sexless (while they are still in their 20’s, no less…) one may want to hold off on suggesting that every other married couple eventually meets the same fate. It is simply not true.
2) Finances cripple us.
“Years ago, it didn’t cost upward of $200,000 for an education. It also didn’t cost $300,000-plus for a home. The cost of living was very different than what it is now. You’d be naive to believe this stress doesn’t cause strain on marriages today.”
You’re right, Anthony! And I myself have taken this into consideration repeatedly. I have recently more deeply understood the importance of developing a savings and putting money aside during our youth – but I have always had the desire to be financially comfortable before getting married.
Regardless of savings, though, financial challenges are a reality of life whether you are single or married. They are part of the journey and one of the challenges that a couple decides they are going to face together.
This is an interesting statement from Anthony: “Part of life is being able to live. Not having the finances to do so takes away yet another important aspect of our relationships. It keeps us inside, forced to see the life everyone else is living.”
His closing words suggest that not everyone is facing these financial hardships. Not everyone needs to sacrifice going out to dinner in order to pay the mortgage. Not everyone needs to choose between clothes or food for their children. Do many people? Yes, unfortunately. Does everyone? No. Another reason to not play into these damaging generalizations.
3) We’re more connected than ever before, but completely disconnected at the same time.
This is a good one. Anthony says:
“Let’s face it, the last time you “spoke” to the person you love, you didn’t even hear their voice. You could be at work, the gym, maybe with the kids at soccer. You may even be in the same room. You told your wife you made dinner reservations … through a text message. Your husband had flowers delivered to your job … through an app on his phone. You both searched for furnishings for your new home … on Pinterest. There’s no physical connection attached to anything anymore.”
As my English friends would say, what a load of bollocks. Forgive me for saying this but I am starting to feel like I am reading a jaded rant from someone who had a negative experience and is projecting his shortcomings on to the rest of us.
Some of us really listen to the person we love. Some of us understand the difference between using technology as a convenience, and completely relying on it. Some of us do still develop deep emotional connections with the person we love.
If you don’t do that, that is why a marriage will fail. Not because you made dinner reservations via text. Give me a break.
4) Our desire for attention outweighs our desire to be loved.
I am starting to think “our” should just be replaced with “my” throughout the original article, because so many of these points don’t apply to many of us. Is social media creating an attention-driven society? Sure it is. Does that take away the innate human desire to be loved by another? Definitely not.
A good man (or woman) understands that attention from multiple people can’t hold a candle to the feeling of being loved by the right one.
5) Social media just invited a few thousand people into bed with you.
“Everywhere we go, everything we do — made public. Instead of enjoying the moment, we get lost in cyberspace, trying to figure out the best status update, or the perfect filter.”
Sure, I am as guilty as anyone else of over-sharing online, but that doesn’t mean it has to interfere with an intimate relationship. I posted a photo the other day of my girlfriend and I, and some people commented that they didn’t even know I was in a relationship.
Why? Because we have kept things private. I have been better and don’t check-in every time we go somewhere. I don’t take photos on every date. My personal Facebook page has become void of any sort of hints about where I am, usually. While these things are still present, they are rare.
We all have a past, we all have relationships that didn’t work out, and many people like Anthony have marriages that didn’t work out either. But the key to moving forward in life is to look back and learn lessons from these situations. What could we have done differently? What could we have improved? What can we do better next time?
These are the questions we have to ask ourselves and use to grow and develop. I am afraid that Anthony simply took his experience, wrote down all of the reasons why his particular marriage didn’t work for him, and he painted the rest of us with the same brush.
Marriage (I would imagine) is full of challenges. There are promises that need to be made, and kept, in order for a marriage to work.
Every situation is different and unique. My relationship is not Anthony’s, which is not yours, which is not your neighbor’s. We do not need to fall prey to societal norms that keep others from happiness. We do not need to become victims to technology and allow it to act as a barrier between the one we love – instead, we can use it as a bridge to stay in closer contact with them.
You are not a statistic, you are not a generalization, and you are not somebody else’s story. This is your life, make it everything you dream for it to be.
Photo credit: Nathan Congleton/flickr