Marriage & Divorce in 2010: Are we really selfish or just wanting to be happy?

My parents celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary this week.

I tweeted that on their anniversary and received a lot of congratulations from people.  I also received a number of tweets mentioned that their parents were also celebrating 40+ year milestones in 2010. And as happy as it made me to know my parents are still together after all this time, it also depressed me a little bit.

No, I won’t go into a big long “oh woe is me” rant on how my marriage failed in under two years. The thing is, that’s just the reality of our world today.

Are we more fickle? Are we LESS loving as a people than we were just 30 or 50 years ago? What is wrong with us as a society?

I realize that there are a thousand answers to those questions, but to me I think there’s just one that stands out: we want to be happy.

I truly believe that if my parents had been married during the current generation, they may have already divorced by now. But they’ve percevered and have worked extremely hard to remain in love and committed to each other for 42 years, even if they may not have been happy the entire time.

I think we as a society place more emphasis on personal happiness than our parents did. If things aren’t going well, we try to work them out. If that doesn’t work, we pull the plug and move on to something that hopefully will be “the one”. Happiness is key when it comes to long-term relationships.

Do a lot of people pull the plug too soon? Sure they do. But I think the ideals and morals from the 50′s, while important, also blinded people. The “family unit” was more important than the individual…and things are different now.

Does that make us as a society more selfish? Probably…but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I know I’ve never been as happy as I am right now…and if I hadn’t gone through a downward spiral and suffered through a failed marriage, I don’t believe I would be even remotely as appreciative as I am of my current relationship.

So happy anniversary mom and dad. While my generation may not have as many “success stories”, yours is certainly one to aspire to. I only hope to live long enough to be able to enjoy 40+ years with the love of my life…through good AND through bad.

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5 responses to “Marriage & Divorce in 2010: Are we really selfish or just wanting to be happy?

  • jolene1079

    Seriously, could NOT agree more with this post. Marriage isn’t “made” as it used to “back in the day” when our parents and grandparents were married. It’s just not. You captured it perfectly as this is exactly what I would have written! And congrats to your parents, that is truly a testament, though, to them, and that’s awesome.

  • CP

    I think we have become inherently more selfish as a society. All about me me me. We are also a far lazier generation. If things don’t work out, bail out. It’s easier to just give up than to persevere and work things out. Have an argument? Call your attorney…toss in the towel. I think it is extremely selfish to always put your happiness before someone elses.

    And I can say this…having been married three times already. LOL

    Admittedly, I could have worked things out on marriage number two. I chose not to. I was being selfish. Marriage number one was pointless and doomed to end. “I was 18 and he was hot” is not enough of a reason to get married.

    Number three, however, is a keeper. And, if things suddenly went awry, I would do everything within my power to fix it and keep it well. Unless he cheated. Automatic deal breaker in any marriage as far as I’m concerned.

  • Little Ol' Me

    My mom and dad are celebrating 33 years together this year.

    I divorced just before I hit my 15th wedding anniversary. I stayed married about five years after it went bad, well okay, it was never very good – getting married at 19 just isn’t a good idea.

    Anyway I tried for five years to save my marriage, things were never going to change. I think for our grandparents and even our parents things were easier in some ways. There was no internet and fewer other types of distractions to take you away from your mate/family.

    People spent more time together, they ate meals together, roles were firmly established and people stayed together because of the family. Personal happiness wasn’t as high a priority as it it today.

    Not sure if that’s good or bad, it could be both.

    I really hope some day I find someone who will love me enough to fight for our marriage if there were problems.

  • aspirefreak

    People should talk and respect more each other.This is the key for happy marriage.

  • Melani

    I know this has been posted quite a while back,but I do believe we have become inherently selfish as a society and there are all sorts of things wrong with this, especially when we decide to get married to another person. When we get married, we are taking upon ourselves, a responsibility for another person’s happiness along with our own. We are promising to be there for each other through the worst along with the best times. So when one of us decides that we are not happy and therefore can’t be married anymore, we are taking the easy way out. If marriage is only about our personal happiness, we might as well get into a FWB relationship or better yet, pay for sexual favors or masturbate; anything that does not involve hurting another person and causing that person to get bitter and disillusioned, especially when that person is trying hard to work on the marriage and is not in it merely for the “excitement” of being married and the good times. Unless there is no physical or mental abuse or infidelity in a relationship, there is absolutely no reason to end a relationship. General boredom and dissatisfaction occurs in every marriage and if we are not prepared to deal with it and work through that rough phase, we are better off staying single and sowing our wild oats . And yes while we are out seeking our “personal happiness”, We should not forget to get ourselves neutered because selfish, sensation seekers do not deserve to breed and spawn children, since it will lead to another vicious cycle of selfish, sensation seekers who cannot look beyond their own happiness and mess another person’s life in the process. Rant over :/

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