People are asking, "Can consumer culture affect marriage?"
Unfortunately it does.
Nowadays it seems like some couples only get married because their partners can meet their qualifications. And that's it.
But some people still believe that couples do get married because they truly love each other, they want to have a commitment with each other and they want to live their lives together.
However like in all marriages, there are rough times. And when this comes, we hear a voice within us saying "Is this what I signed up for? Am I okay with this?"
Awful things occur in marriages. Things like a philandering spouse or physical abuse. And those things are not acceptable. They become "hard" reasons why a marriage falls apart.
However in today's society, we hear a lot of "soft" reasons. Reasons like they argue too much. They don't feel supported. They don't communicate well. Sex isn't good anymore or they just don't get along like before.
According to Family Therapist William Doherty, people back then would stay together no matter how difficult the situation was. But now, people are divorcing because of "soft" reasons.
In a marriage, problems happen not to break the union but perhaps serve as a wake-up call to reinvest in the relationship.
But some people in our circle make the problems worse by agreeing that separation or divorce is better for us instead of giving the marriage another shot.
Instead of challenging the "soft" reasons, what some people do is listen and just agree that divorce is the best solution.
There was a woman whose daughter came to her one day and told her she's getting a divorce.
Her mother said, "Over my dead body."
She told her daughter to think about it first and get some help. Eventually they were able to work out their differences and they didn't separate.
The key to that was "Over my dead body."
She was basically telling her daughter that there was more at stake than just herself. She wanted her to slow down, get some help and then decide.
And that's one thing that Doherty wants to see nowadays.
People think divorce will make them feel better. For them divorce is a solution because they are in pain.
If we emphasize on the things that we don't like about our spouse, then marriage can fall apart anytime. What we can do is focus on the positive things and remind ourselves of the commitment that we made.
Some ask, "Do marriages naturally drift apart?"
Yes they do.
It's like getting married at the farthest north point of intensity and passion. And as years go by, there's a natural drift especially if you have kids. It happens to almost every couple.
A neurochemical evidence even showed that torrid, romantic love is way different from stable, married love.
The reality is, something just cools off.
But the problem is people think they are the only ones having problems in marriage. And we blame our spouses for it.
Doherty added we can help married people by letting them understand that their problems are like the common cold or flu. It's not a life-threatening disease.
Marriage is similar to spiritual life. As humans, we never stop improving ourselves.
We may not get to our destination but at least we don't stop working at it.
And churches can do something about this. Married couples see church as an institution that they can trust because they have credibility.
Catholicism takes marriage seriously. In fact, they have pre-Cana programs for couples days before they get married.
Life is indeed full of tragedy but that doesn't stop us from holding on to the idea of a long-lasting marriage.Let's not see marriage as just a simple private lifestyle decision.
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
Business Valuators / CPAs