Writer’s Name: Lorraine Elzia
Title: How long is “I DO”
“To have and to hold; for better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part."
Immortal words uttered at the altar signifying a promise of love.
Till death they do part…
That’s a really long time. The significance of which is not really measured during the fantasy of the two becoming one. Those words are magical in the moment they are spoken, but reality is that most marriages don’t last that long. In general, besides the occasional drunken marriage in a Las Vegas chapel, most people do not enter the realms of matrimony with the thoughts that their union might not work or will be short lived. They believe the words when they say them. But believing them and actually living up to them can be two different things. While the hope of marriage is that the two shall become one, reality is that the union is made up of two separate entities with separate minds and separate actions.
The divorce rate among Americans has hovered around 50% for more than a decade; a fact that engaged couples tend to overlook when walking down the aisle. A rose-colored view of love often obstructs a couple’s ability to take precautions against becoming part of the statistic. While there are several reasons that can bring a marriage to a screeching halt, there are some factors which seem to hold true as a major reason for divorce.
We live in a disposable society. There was a time when people worked harder in order to maintain long-lasting marriages. Divorce was not an option and communicating and creating an environment where a husband and wife viewed all problems as things they could concur together was the goal. But now it seems that if a marriage becomes hard and requires too much time, energy, attention and hard work to maintain it, then it is easier for some to discard the marriage than to use a little bit of elbow grease to work out the problems. When the going gets tough, Americans tend to quit and seek out a new mate that they hope will require less work.
Along those same lines, infidelity often plays a role as a leading cause of divorce. People are too quick to seek comfort somewhere else if things aren’t working out in their marriage. Affairs, both physical and emotional are on the rise. Instead of partners in a marriage reaching out to each other for comfort, they are seeking comfort outside of the marriage. A growing sense of justifying the need to step outside the marriage when certain needs are not being met is on the rise. Infidelity is a hard obstacle for a marriage to recover from.
Another major factor in the rise of the divorce rate concerns finances. There is a saying, “I can do bad all by myself” and more and more marriages fall victim to that line of thinking. When finances get tight in a marriage and the ends are not meeting like they should, instinct for survival kicks in and some people begin to think more about what’s good for “me” as opposed to what’s good for “we.”
Unfortunately, Americans base their views on what love is based on what they see or read. The life of a fairytale is how they enter a marriage and when the butterflies leave, they want to move on to the next exciting moment that can give them that addictive feeling again of being in love for the first time. When hard work is required instead of the instantaneous natural high, more and more marriages are falling prey to the motto, “What’s love got to do with it.” Arguments become the norm and spouses who were initially growing together begin to grow apart.
Buying a pretty white gown and saying, “I DO” before friends and family is a major commitment in and of itself, but that commitment can only prosper if the people on both sides of the alter have given major consideration to all of the factors of life that can, and will, attack the marriage from the inside out. Instead of having a vision of love that is wrapped in glitter and gold, a husband and wife need to remember that love has varying degrees and levels, and it can only shine when both parties take the time to polish it.