Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Love is a temporary insanity cured by marriage.

The best way to fall out of love is to get married.

A fool and his money are soon married.

To have and to hold
For richer and poorer
In sickness and health

For better or worse

As long as we both shall live.

I pledge thee my troth

Forsaking all others

For this reason, a man will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife, and the two will become one body. Genesis 2:4

marriage - 14th century mariage , the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as a husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.
an intimate or close union as in the marriage of painting and poetry.

An average couple has a 57% chance of reaching their 15th anniversary. If they make it that far, most will reach "till death do we part."

What therefore God has joined together, let no man pull asunder. Mark 10:9

Three handicapping factors are 1. the relationship, 2. finances, 3. family history.

So much has been thought, said, written and argued about marriage, it seems everyone has an opinion about this ancient institution. What no one can argue is that marriage is in danger. On average, first marriages have slightly more than a half chance of ending in divorce. Second marriages have even less chance of 'till death do we part." Add to the mix variables like age (under 25, over 35? less chance of a happily ever after), if the couple lived together before marriage, the bride's relationship with her father among others and the odds become even more steeply stacked against the couple.

Why? Now couples marry for love (hopefully and not for ulterior motives) instead of for cementing dynasties, we have pre-nuptial counseling, men and women on a more equal financial footing and our marriage success rates are still so low?

These are my observations, and certainly not from a scholarly source. However I'd like to point out that I've been married for over 30 years, which is probably longer than most of the researchers have been married, or even been alive. Also, both my husband and I were well under 21 when we got married, which according to statistics means we never should have made it, and yet we did.

Where is the trust? I understand that men and women are getting married at much older ages than we were when we got married, and have accrued a lot of property: houses, stocks, retirement IRA's, insurance, and inheritances from grandparents and possibly even parents. They want to protect these assets. But when you make a Prenuptial Agreement, it really makes it sound like you are prepared to fail. The only good way I can see a Prenup for a marriage is that the Prenup becomes null and void if the spouses are divorcing because the Prenup holder initiates the divorce or has been unfaithful.

Your money, my money. I understand totally that each spouse needs to have their own bank account with enough funds in it to cover a few months living expenses on the chance that a spouse dies. Probate can tie up bank accounts for a quite a few months, and you need to have funds in your own name. But, money that comes into the house should go into "our" account, and expenses should be paid from that account. There shouldn't be "his bills" and "her bills" in a marriage.

And on the subject of money, do not fall into the trap that the person who brings in the most money, or even all the money is the "owner" of that money. The person who is in the home, trusting their well being to another, is vulnerable. Do not betray that trust by being the "Lord and master" because you bring in the paycheck. And do not make the mistake that because someone stays home with the kids that they aren't really working or have lots of free time. They are not your maid, do not expect an immaculate home. Your day ends, the stay at home spouse's doesn't get to punch out of the job at 5, or 6, sometimes not even at midnight. So don't be a jerk! You can do real damage to your marriage.

50/50 marriage The erroneous idea that chores around the house will be shared exactly, right down the middle by both spouses. I have never seen this work. It certainly never worked in my marriage. Truthfully, the majority of our early marriage, the household chores were no where near 50-50, not even 30-50 - way lower. Fast forward thirty years, add my cancer and the division of labor was 5-95, then 0-100 and has only now settled to 15-85. These later ratios are my husband doing the lions share. And that is the way it is going to be. Sometime a spouse is going to come home from work so physically or mentally drained that all they can do is sit in a chair and mutter mono-syllables while staring into space. Sometimes mom is going to be so over scheduled that she can hardly crawl. Marriage is not about keeping a scoreboard for who does the most, it's for standing in the gap when needed.

Which brings us to the line "in sickness and in health." In my early days after the first few of my cancer operations, I joined a cancer support group. I was absolutely appalled by the stories I heard from people who had been in long term marriages, 25 and 30 years, whose marriages fell apart because they couldn't withstand the ravaging winds of cancer, and the side affects like colostomy or chemotherapy. What exactly did the abandoning spouses think "sickness" entailed? That the promise was null and void for anything more detrimental than the flu?


Lily said...

Wow, Mary, you would think that after 20-30 years you could rest assured you will not have to worry about the 'sickness' part of the vows. Sad.

Mary Bennett said...

It really surprised me. The marriages/relationships that were for under 5 or even 10 years, didn't surprise me. But after 30 years? I couldn't believe it, it's such a chunk of time, you'd think there would be some loyalty/maturity. Having a colostomy/chem/radiation is no picnic, to be left at such a vulnerable time,,,, makes me really, really appreciate Nate.

Julie said...

I love what you wrote here, it is so true. We had marriage prep with a Trad. priest and we learned so much! Most of modren society doesn't get the beauty of marriage, which is sad.


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