It’s a pretty simple concept — fall in love and share your life together. Our great grandparents did it, our grandparents followed suit, and for many of us, our parents did it as well.
Why the hell can’t we?
Many of you will ask what gives me the right to share my advice or opinions.
I’ve been divorced myself. But I’m only one of the many people today that have failed at marriage. And while some of us have gone through a divorce, others stay in their relationships, miserably, and live completely phony lives.
These same people, though, are quick to point the finger and judge others for speaking up.
I’ve spent the better part of the last three years trying to understand the dating scene again. Back when I met my ex-wife in 2004, things were just so different. Social media had yet to explode. I had this desire to ask her about her day simply because I didn’t know.
Texting was just starting to make its way into mainstream society, so if I wanted to speak to her, I had to call her.
If I wanted to see her, I had to drive to her house and knock on her door. Everything required an action on my part, or hers.
Today, things are different though.
Looking back nearly 11 years, I began to wonder how different things were for the older generations.
More importantly, I wonder how different they will be for my children.
Our generation isn’t equipped to handle marriages — and here’s why:
1) Sex becomes almost non-existent.
I don’t know about you, but I am an extremely sexual person. Not only do I believe it’s an important aspect of a relationship, I believe it’s the most important.
Beyond being pleasurable, sex connects two individuals. There’s a reason why it’s referred to as making love.
There’s just something about touching someone, kissing someone, feeling someone that should make your hair stand up.
I’m baffled by couples who neglect having sex, especially younger ones. We all desire physical connection, so how does cutting that off lead you to believe your marriage will be successful? It’s like telling someone you’ll take them out to a restaurant but they can’t order food.
Instead, we have sex once every couple weeks, or when it’s time to get pregnant. It becomes this chore. You no longer look at your partner wanting to rip their clothes off, but rather instead, dread the thought. That’s not crazy to you?
It’s not just boredom that stops sex from happening. Everywhere you look, there’s pictures of men and women we know half naked — some look better than your husband or wife. So it becomes desirable. It’s in your face every single day and changes your mindset.
It’s no wonder why insecurities loom so largely these days. You have to be perfect to keep someone attracted to you. Meanwhile, what your lover should really be attracted to is your heart. Maybe if you felt that connection beyond a physical level, would you realize a sexual attraction you’ve never felt before.
2) Finances cripple us.
Years ago, it didn’t cost upward of $200,000 for an education. It also didn’t cost $300,000-plus for a home.
The cost of living was very different than what it is now. You’d be naive to believe this stress doesn’t cause strain on marriages today.
You need to find a job to pay for student loans, a mortgage, utilities, living expenses and a baby. Problem is, it’s extremely difficult to find a job that can provide an income that will help you live comfortably while paying all of these bills — especially not in your mid 20s.
This strain causes separation between us. It halts us from being able to live life. We’re too busy paying bills to enjoy our youth. Forget going to dinner, you have to pay the mortgage. You’ll have to skip out on an anniversary gift this year because those student loans are due at the end of the month. Vacations? Not happening.
We’re trying to live the way our grandparents and parents did in a world that has put more debt on our plate than ever before. It’s possible, but it puts us in an awful position.
Part of life is being able to live. Not having the finances to do so takes away yet another important aspect of our relationships. It keeps us inside, forced to see the life everyone else is living.
3) We’re more connected than ever before, but completely disconnected at the same time.
Let’s face it, the last time you “spoke” to the person you love, you didn’t even hear their voice.
You could be at work, the gym, maybe with the kids at soccer. You may even be in the same room.
You told your wife you made dinner reservations … through a text message.
Your husband had flowers delivered to your job … through an app on his phone.
You both searched for furnishings for your new home … on Pinterest.
There’s no physical connection attached to anything anymore.
We’ve developed relationships with things, not each other. Ninety-five percent of the personal conversations you have on a daily basis occur through some type of technology. We’ve removed human emotion from our relationships, and we’ve replaced it colorful bubbles.
Somehow, we’ve learned to get offended by text on a screen, accusing others of being “angry” or “sad” when, in fact, we have no idea what they are feeling. We argue about this — at length.
We’ve forgotten how to communicate yet expect healthy marriages. How is it possible to grow and mature together if we barely speak?
Years ago, my grandmother wouldn’t hear from my grandfather all day; he was working down at the piers in Brooklyn. But today, if someone doesn’t text you back within 30 minutes, they’re suddenly cheating on you.
You want to know why your grandmother and grandfather just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary? Because they weren’t scrolling through Instagram worrying about what John ate for dinner. They weren’t on Facebook criticizing others. They weren’t on vacation sending Snapchats to their friends.
They were too preoccupied loving and respecting one another. They were talking to each other at dinner, walking with each other holding hands instead of their phones. They weren’t distracted by everything around them. They had dreams and chased them together.
4) Our desire for attention outweighs our desire to be loved.
Even years ago, people would clamor over celebrities. When I think back, I can imagine young women wanting to be like Marilyn Monroe. She was beautiful, all over magazines, could have any man she wanted and, in fact, did.
But she was a celebrity. And in order to be a successful one, she had to keep all eyes on her. Same holds true for celebrities today. They have to stay in the spotlight or their fame runs out, and they get replaced by the next best thing.
Social media, however, has given everyone an opportunity to be famous. Attention you couldn’t dream of getting unless you were celebrity is now a selfie away. Post a picture, and thousands of strangers will like it. Wear less clothing, and guess what? More likes.
It’s more than that though. What about the life you live? I see pictures of people decked out in designer clothes, posted up in some club with fancy drinks — People that I know are dead broke. But they portray themselves as successful because, well, they can. And they get this gratification from people who like and comment on their statuses or pictures.
If you want to love someone, stop seeking attention from everyone because you’ll never be satisfied with the attention from one person.
Same holds true for love.
Love is supposed to be sacred. You can’t love someone when you’re preoccupied with worrying about what others think of you. Whether it be posting pictures on social media, buying homes to compete with others or going on lavish vacations — none of it matters.
5) Social media just invited a few thousand people into bed with you.
We’ve thrown privacy out the window these days.
Nothing is sacred anymore, in fact, it’s splattered all over the Web for the world to see.
Everywhere we go, everything we do — made public. Instead of enjoying the moment, we get lost in cyberspace, trying to figure out the best status update, or the perfect filter.
Vacations are no longer a time to relax, but more a time to post vigorously. You can’t just sit back and soak it all in.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing moments of your life. I do it myself. But where do we draw the line? When does it become too much?
We’ve invited strangers into our homes and brought them on dates with us. We’ve shown them our wardrobe, drove with them in our cars, and we even showed them our bathing suits. Might as well pack them a suitcase, too.
The worst part about all this? It’s only going to get worse.
Immediately, people will assume that my failed marriage is why I am expressing these emotions; that’s not the case. It’s what I see around me every single day that inspired me to write this article.
Marriage is sacred. It is the most beautiful sacrament and has tremendous promise for those fortunate enough to experience it. Divorced or not, I am a believer in true love and building a beautiful life with someone. In fact, it’s been my dream since I was young.
I hope you never experience the demise of your love. It’s painful, and life changing; something nobody should ever feel.
I do fear, however, that the world we live in today has put roadblocks in the way of getting there and living a happy life with someone. Some things are in our control, and unfortunately, others are not.