Why Marriage CAN Work for Millennials
I recently read an editorial in the Asbury Park Press on 5 reasons why millennials like me can't handle marriage anymore, including crippling finances, social media, and 'virtually non-existant sex.'
And I couldn't help but think it was a complete crock.
First things first, it was written by APP 'sex columnist' Anthony D'Ambrosio, a 29-year-old Wall resident who married his girlfriend of 8 years in 2012, and got divorced somewhere between then and late 2014. (Do with THAT math what you will.)
Now, consider me biased, as I recently got engaged, so obviously I believe that Duzzy and I are not only 'cut out' for marriage, but in it for the long haul.
The reasons listed in that editorial as to why marriage is no longer feasible for people in my generation seems more applicable to a column titled 'Why Immature Narcissists Can't Handle Marriage."
Let's break this down step-by-step.
D'Ambrosio says the first reason why marriage doesn't work these days is that sex becomes virtually non-existant, writing:
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.
Perhaps if you're in a relationship with a superficial person you have to be 'perfect' to keep your partner attracted to you. When you are part of a truly loving adult relationship, you don't rely on looks alone, because 50 years from now, your partner will not look the way they do now -- and neither will you. It's not possible, and THAT'S OKAY.
I'm not attracted to Duzzy because of what he looks like. Of course I find him attractive, but that is a small part of why we kiss, and hug, and cuddle, and do all of the things that fall under the umbrella of intimacy.
Your partner should be the one person you never feel insecure in front of, and if they DO make you feel insecure, don't walk, RUN -- because that person is a terrible human being.
D'Ambrosio states that millennials are dealing with miserable financial strain from the insane costs of student loans and housing...not to mention other living expenses and the cost of having children. He says,
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.
You know what that's called? ADULTHOOD. I would LOVE to go on exotic vacations every year, and fill my closet with designer clothes, but I instead choose to live within my means. I am not a Kardashian, and I don't expect to be able to live like one.
Duzzy and I have steady jobs, but we're not making Rockefeller money, and yet, we find a way to make living on the cheap work. I make dinner at home during the week. We might take a long weekend to Atlantic City instead of a weeklong trip to Bora Bora. We kept our anniversary gifts to small, thoughtful things because we're saving up for our wedding.
We make sacrifices TOGETHER, because we are IN THIS together. Would it be nice to be living it up in a luxury penthouse condo, going to fabulous, upscale restaurants every night, and jetsetting around the world every other month? Sure. But we're just as happy in a small, one-bedroom apartment, eating the meals I cook at home, and going for walks around town.
D'Ambrosio writes that technology has us more connected, and yet disconnected, at the same time, writing,
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?
Again, this seems to be a maturity thing. I've never gotten a text from Duzzy and immediately accused him of feeling anything. I might ask him via text if he's okay, or upset, etc., but if you're arguing with someone over a text, you need to grow up -- no matter how old you are.
We certainly text or Snapchat or Facebook message each other during the day, but when we're together, we talk to each other. We AREN'T pre-occupied with our phones during dinner because that's really rude. It's not technology that's disconnected people and ruined marriage, it's a lack of manners and respect.
Don't treat your partner like crap and maybe they'll want to stick around.
This one really gets me -- "the desire for attention outweighs the desire to be loved."
Social media ... has given everyone an opportunity to be famous. ... Post a picture, and thousands of strangers will like it. ... 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. ... If you want to love someone, stop seeking attention from everyone because you'll never be satisfied with the attention from one person.
Trust me when I say I love getting attention. I doubt I would have pursued this career if I didn't want people to pay attention to me. But I'm also not a child, and I know that I cannot have everyone's constant attention. You know who thinks that way? Toddlers. Again, I say, grow up.
5. Social Media
The fifth point is similar to the third, in saying that social media has invited people into every aspect of our lives.
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.
Again, maybe this has to do with the fact that I work in the industry I do, but I actually try really hard to keep some aspects of my relationship private...hence why I usually refer to my fiancé by a nickname. Most of my friends are the same way.
The only people who DO seem to share every little aspect of their lives are in fact the incredibly immature, insecure, superficial types. THOSE are the people that marriage doesn't work for...and probably never did.
Granted, I'm NOT married yet, and maybe 10 or 20 years from now, I'll feel differently about marriage...but today? I have a clue and realistic expectations about what I'm getting into.
I don't expect marriage to be easy. I don't expect marriage to be about ME. I don't expect it to be much of anything, honestly, other than something Duzzy and I will both have to truly commit to, work at, and appreciate.
Life is flawed. Relationships are flawed. Neither is ever perfect, and if it ever is, it will likely change. We all must learn to embrace those flaws for what they are - a chance to truly know the best of everything and everyone we love.
Marriage won't solve any problems, and it won't be all sunshine and rainbows, but it's absolutely feasible if you think it all through as the serious commitment and responsibility that it is.