You’ll soon learn that I’m a bit of a Johnny-Come-Lately to some things, so I know that this situation is at least a few weeks old, but indulge me a bit. I still find myself thinking about the frequent dissolutions of marriage following the split of celebrities Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum. This was one of Hollywood’s younger star couples. One of the ones we who actually follow and care at least a little bit about pop culture thought would last about as long as Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s marriage. Yes, I know that we ought not to take much stock in a Hollywood anything, but it still begs to question, why do we give up on marriage so easily?
Well, quite often we get conflicting messages when it comes to how we should handle marriage. Older generations are more likely to tell you to stick with it, that you have to WORK at your marriage to keep it alive. That you’re going to have to compromise, at lot, and even make concessions. Younger generations are more apt to focus solely on the love aspect. To me, and don’t get me wrong, I’m part of one of those younger generations, it seems that we’re willing to split at the slightest inconvenience. When I see that a divorce was based on “irreconcilable differences”, I often find myself asking just what they were.
Now, do not misunderstand me. I do NOT advocate staying in a marriage no matter what, like in the case of abuse or gross adultery, neglect, or abandonment. I’m just saying that it seems that it seems like these days, we get married because we simply enjoy the company of someone and then we figure we can just split when we don’t feel like breathing the same air anymore, or when the novelty has worn off. Also, I feel like we run our lives even within our marriage where they seem to run parallel, rather than converging. We are comfortable with each other just so long as both parties are strong, but as soon as one shows a weakness, we want to cut the bonds. A marriage isn’t like a starter home, where you just sell it off because you don’t like the kitchen, you’re bored with the paint job, and you decide you want a few more hundred square feet.
I’m in league with one of my friends when he says that a marriage is as much a business arrangement as it is it is a love bond. In the Catholic Church, it is a vocation to which you are called and to which you commit. As a business arrangement, you hammer out the details, discuss the contingencies, you invest in its growth, and put in an awful lot of work to make it flourish. You have to sit down at the board meetings, ask the tough questions, sometimes even call in a consultant or efficiency expert in the form of a counselor, find out how to address the liabilities, and sometimes reallocate assets. You need to commit to your marriage just as much as you committed to obtaining your degree, or getting your job. This is an equally important part of your life. You need to remember why you married in the first place. This is especially important if you have kids. You owe it to them to try to keep as strong a foundation and as united a front as you can for their sake. When you brought them into the world, you made a promise to them that you would do these things. If you quit just like that, what are you doing to them? What message are you sending to them? I’m sure this is an unpopular and antiquated opinion, but it happens to be mine.