Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Marriage musings

Posted on 03 October 2012 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



When a long-time young friend called me recently to announce that her 24-year marriage is over, I started to think (again) about marriage. I often think about marriage in the abstract. It is perhaps the most enduring social institution we have, and seems to exist in all cultures and since as long ago as Adam and Eve, who incidentally, probably never had “the (commitment) papers.”

And yet, statistics are showing that marriage is waning. A Google search on marriage discloses some amazing statistics on who is more likely to be divorced and at what point in the marriage. It’s no secret that we are stretching over the 50-50 mark for such enduring liaisons.

I have just celebrated 58 years in a state of matrimony. And without divulging any of the personal details, suffice it to say, it’s been good and not-so, which is probably a metaphor for all that life offers. And we’re still hangin’ in!

People experiencing what they call “love” in its earliest stages “are the luckiest people in the world,” to usurp a wellknown lyric. All the juices are flowing; the heart, indeed, pitter-patters, there is a measurably high happiness scale and the pure physicality of the emotion produces endorphins that heighten one’s sense of well-being. The condition has often been described as akin to taking an opiate. Folks who are living in that state of euphoria – and it can happen at any age cannot conceive of its ever ending or changing.

The truth is that the feeling does not last forever and lucky that it doesn’t, because it affects even the brain and one’s ability to focus. And thus, the good Lord giveth and taketh. Eventually, those affected by “the love bug” marry, cohabit or move on, as reality closes in on them. Married reality is laundry, bills, kids, exhaustion, in-laws, disagreements about watching football, whose turn it is to cook or babysit, being too often too tired for sex, the acceptance that one of you loves mountains and the other loves a penthouse in the city. And finally, the chance that one of you is more needy than the other, a condition that can be cementing or entrapping. And despite all the print dedicated to “25 ways to spark up your marriage,” for many, it becomes the “same old, same old” and most anything looks better than that.

And so it is that many people are ready to bale at the first glitch in their dream-bubble. Their expectations, although often reasonable, are, in actuality, not realistic and they, therefore, become disappointed, hurt, angry, enraged and so on down the line of toxic emotions, instead of learning to readjust their expectations.

We all see people in many states of coupling and uncoupling: married, or merely living together, or being together only at intervals, or commuting to be together, or living alone and loving it, or living alone and hating it, or contemplating one or a combination of the above. It is obvious that one size does not fit all. The world is in seismic transition in all areas of human commerce and I do wonder what marriage will look like in 2054 – my 100th anniversary.

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