We’ve just come off an election that was all about percentages. Unemployment rates, electoral colleges and, of course, that old 1% versus 99% debate. What’s often true when we get into percentages is it depends on what percentage you’re in as to how you’ll look at things. Depending on where you are, the grass is either green or its patchy brown and dying.
So when we look at marriages and the percentages of successes or failures, it all depends on who’s talking as to whether or not things are as bad as we say. We’re all aware of the fact that 50 percent of marriages in this country end in divorce, but what I find odd is we never focus on the 50 percent that succeed. We make it seems as if the success or failure of a marriage is arbitrary. We make it seems as if it doesn’t matter how hard you work at it or what choices you make before and during the marriage. We treat it like a lottery. No matter what your intentions are, once you enter into the marriage lottery, you’ll either win or lose and that’s just how it is. Good luck!
This thinking has influenced many a decision on marriage. Men have never stopped running from marriage and the divorce rate is one of the tools that they use to talk women out of pressuring them. Is there a legitimate reason not to rush? Sure there is. People have changed, the rules have changed and motives have changed. You need to be sure that you’re sure. But if you’re doing your due diligence, you won’t have as much fear in those numbers. You’ll actually gain perspective on them.
At the same time, the women that are applying the pressure need to do their homework as well. This idea of patience is often to their benefit. We have too many women that are looking to be married just because they feel they should be by now. They believe promises that aren’t true from men that haven’t even shown the ability to keep the promises he’s making. They break up with him one week because he’s no good, and you see them the next week wearing an engagement ring. They miss the fact that some men will marry because they feel as if they’ve found their wife, while others will marry because they’re tired of running and they need a place to lay their head. In all of this uncertainty, one thing is constant in the midst of this inconsistency: We’re continuing to make babies.
One of the main issues in America is there seems to be a separation from the traditional family. More and more people don’t seem to see the value in being a family anymore. We started out with men making babies without even a thought of sticking around to help raise the child, and now we’ve morphed into a society where women are choosing to have a baby and getting rid of the man. We’re pre-breaking the family.
The bad news about marriage is a lot like the bad news a doctor may give you when he tells you that you have a life-threatening illness. If he tells you that there’s a 50 percent chance you’re going to die and starts rattling off all of the names of people with a similar disease that didn’t make it, you’ll instantly go into depression. But if he tells you that the survival rate is 50 percent and he gives you examples of people that have beaten the disease, unless you’re that type that’s naturally “glass half empty” no matter what, you’ll be optimistic.
Most people that fear marriage do so because they look at the numbers. As a society, we’re gamblers. 50-50 doesn’t always sound like a promising proposition. We’d feel more comfortable about the odds if they were, say, 75-25. Strangely, when the odds of success increase, we’re more likely to take a chance because we see ourselves in the 75 percent. We never imagine that we could still be in the 25 percent.
The success of a marriage has never been in the numbers. It’s always been in the people. Once we decide that we’re no longer willing to try and force compatibility into things that are incompatible, we’ll see success. When I first realized that I was staring at my wife, I made a conscious effort to work towards proposal and building a life for us. I made sure that we were compatible enough to spend the rest of our lives together. I made sure that we would make good parents, both individually and collectively. I made sure that we were spiritually compatible. Together, we took a look at all of the things that would make us successful and we made sure that we were aware of any pitfalls that may be in our way. But the one thing we never did was consider the rate of divorce in this country. Some may call they naive, but we call it being sure. We intend to be together until one of us dies.
Those that choose based on something substantial will often have a successful marriage. Those that choose on material of physical things will often struggle. That’s true no matter what the statistics say. I just think it’s sad that when we look down the road in our relationships, we often look at all of the things that will bring it to an end rather than the things that will make it successful.
Unfortunately, our society is so negative these days that even the bliss of marriage has taken a hit. As I stated earlier, if you’re sick and you go to the doctor, your outlook may very well depend on how he chooses to give you the news. How we view marriage is no different. Either way, you’re a part of the 50 percent. It’s up to you as to which 50 percent you’re looking to be a part of.
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