Trapped in the Supposed To’s: Marriage

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Trapped in the Supposed To’s: Marriage

January 1, 2018 Contemplating Family Friendship Kids Marriage Random Supposed-to's 0

The “supposed-to’s” get us through life when we don’t have a plan, a dream, or a path to take. They are a basic outline for life’s path. The norm. The way everyone goes if not driven by anything else but following from the beginning to the end. Born. Grade school. Graduate. Go to college. Get a job. Find a man/woman, fall in love, get married, have kids, save for retirement. Retire. Die.  Basic. People who don’t take risks, check all the boxes.  Add a few things, but mostly this is the Plan.

But is it the right plan? For everyone?  Sure, if you don’t have anything else in mind.  But what if you want to deviate from the plan? What if you have to (i.e. can’t have kids, can’t afford college)?  Is this the end of the world? Are you a failure? Or what if you don’t go with the program?  Maybe you shouldn’t? Why is THIS the plan? Why is this the norm?  Will you look back on your life, back on a life just filled with completed checkboxes?

Sometimes items along the way are steps to other things. For example, I love my kids. I wouldn’t give them up for the world. I love how they’ve grown. But in my path, the prerequisite was marriage. We raised several great kids. The early years it was useful. But is marriage all it’s cracked up to be? Is it right for me? Yeah, it served a purpose, but to me, it’s just a check box. It isn’t some great love. Now it’s becoming a real negative. I am seriously thinking it’s not right for me. At least not til the end of my life.

In the beginning, we’re sold on the wedding, the picture perfect start to a love-filled, child-filled, wondrous monogamous adventure that we work on and cross bridges together. Two of us against the world, perfecting our life at every turn. What a beautiful ideal! We’ll work through everything. We’ll beat every obstacle… But after awhile it deviates from the objective. The ideal. So what’s a person to do? What are they “supposed to” do?

Oh yeah, work thru it. Because marriage is “work”. Forgive the slights. Forgive the abuses. Because the most important thing is keeping the marriage together. Well, I call bullshit.

In life, we should be happy. If we are going to be with a person, then we should be happy. We should be a team. We should work together. That’s where the give & take comes in. Where working through things is important. But when it becomes one sided, then it’s no longer a partnership. A dictatorship is not a marriage. It’s a trap. One parent has no say. One partner is faced with unhappiness the rest of their life. I believe this is more common than not.

But what if there is no explicit abuse? No hitting. No clear emotional trauma. Just dissatisfaction. One partner wants sex, the other is uninterested. No spouse should force the other to have sex. I’ve seen this from both sides. So what does it evolve to? What is it when one partner lays there & lets it happen because the other “needs” it. Yeah, once in a while, this makes sense. One partner is not in the mood. The other is. But what if this is the norm? When love and attraction dies? Is that marriage license a license to force it? What’s the line of abuse? Entitlement? Freedom to chose? I don’t know the answer. I just know it’s not right.

So should marriage dissolve when there’s no cheating? No “technical” abuse? When you date, and you decide you’re “just not into them” you break up. But what if you signed up for more of a commitment? And after 10 or even 25+ years you aren’t sure anymore? You don’t care to fix things? You’re just spent. And done. What’s the right choice? Live out the rest of your days in unhappiness?

What if your goals have changed? Your interests? What then? Yeah, we all fall out of love, but what if you also fall out of friendship? Isn’t that really what the long term marriage is? Caring about another person? What if you no longer care? Then what? Fake it? Follow the “supposed-to’s”?


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