An informal survey among married (and divorced, and separated, and remarried) men.
I recently asked men the question When did you figure out what marriage isn’t? The question yieled some interesting e-mail exchanges and coffeehouse conversations. Here’s the list of most intriguing answers.
Lewis: Before I got married, thank God!
Trace: Early on. Most people probably think it’s going to be some sort of fairy tale. But as with all things, in order to be good at something, you have to constantly work at it. Similar to mastering a craft.
Jurgis: On our honeymoon when I fell asleep during sex.
Andrew: Two kids and seven years in to my fourth marriage, I’ve finally figured out marriage ISN’T here to make me feel safe.
Sean: My grandfather yelling for a Schlitz. My grandmother bringing it.
Mel: It isn’t a contest. You start comparing your marriage to someone else’s and you’re screwed.
Waylan: Marriage doesn’t make either one of you into grown ups.
Fred: In my case, that it isn’t ongoing. I’m recently divorced.
Korry: We were barely married a year when I lost my job. It turned out my judgmental family and social circle had very different expectations from my wife. She put no pressure on me at all but took a job at a cafe to see us through. I was able to find a much better job than the one I lost. The stability in the marriage didn’t depend entirely on me. I was taught that it would.
Jose: Stood at the altar twice. There’s a difference between being nervous if you’re doing the right thing and being nervous if you’ll stutter during your vows. Big difference, man!
Marcus: When I had kids I figured out I didn’t know what my parents used to do when my brother and I slept. When you have kids, especially when they’re young, your intimacy comes when the kids are sleeping. The rest is a time management clinic in which you’re always behind. When they’re sleeping, my wife and I sit together. Sometimes we just look at each other, shake our heads and laugh.
Seth: I was with my uncle and aunt about a week before my uncle died of cancer. It was tragic because he was really young, and I never saw anyone cry like my aunt cried at his funeral. I didn’t visit her again until I came home from college in the winter. She still had his picture in the kitchen. I realized it wasn’t just ’till divorce do us part’ or ’till death do us part’. In some cases it can even be longer.
Vince: It shouldn’t be a husband sitting around on a sofa drinking beer and watching a basketball game while his wife sits in the kitchen drinking gin and watching talk shows. That’s what my parents did. Among other things, I knew this was a sign they didn’t get along, even though they didn’t yell and scream at each other.
Nathan: Like five years after breaking up, I ran into my ex-girlfriend by accident at a party. She was still really beautiful, but I had just a brief talk with her and realized how superficial she was. How could I have ever dated somebody like her? I believed I had wanted to marry her. Whatever that feeling was, it wasn’t marriage.
Preston: I realized marriage isn’t prestigious. You don’t necessarily score any points with friends or co-workers just because you’re married. I thought I would get a bunch of respect from people just after my wedding. It kinda happened but not the way I imagined. To most people, it barely mattered.
Bruce: I knew it wasn’t for me. I always knew it wasn’t for me. My parents got divorced. My friends got divorced. I heard them complain about their spouses. Guys lost cash. They got kicked out of their houses. I knew you had to be crazy to do it to yourself. Then I met Laura. Yup…Now I know kids aren’t for me. I swear to God, my right hand to God. They’re not for me.
Photo by firemedic58