What Makes Marriage Last?


January 2nd, 2015

The weddings are piling up, invitations slipping in through the cold cracks in the door every time the wind whistles by.

We went to a wedding on New Years Eve, a brilliant flash of purple and gold and silver, balloons and streamers, dancing and spinning, and love. It’s was a night so wide eyed, so consumed in itself.

Each subsequent wedding provides me with more questions and fewer answers. People always say this was different. And I can see it. The difference that’s present. The way they look at each other and they way they hold each others hand. I start to wonder if one has a keen enough eye, if they can see divorce. Like a blemish or a beginning of a cold. I can’t imagine a single one of them ever being unhappy, but it sneaks in somehow, and whats to stop it?

I went on the other day about how couples don’t seem to think about marriage. It was a completely offhand remark. For the longest time I thought that marriage wasn’t different. That it couldn’t possibly be different. That things could just go on the same as they always did. Now I feel obtuse. It seems like marriage must change everything. If you really, truly want to be with someone for the rest of your life. You have to see that relationship as worth the struggle.

Of course, not everyone wants to get married. A good portion of my friends don’t believe in the thing at all. Yet somewhere, lingering behind the doubt, and the failure of the institution, is the desire for that partnership. That one person that sticks with you, grows with you, and finds some truth in the good and the bad. For some, that one person offers something else. A desire for polyamory. The openness for non-monogamy. An understanding that desire never really goes away if you stoke it just right.

I haven’t provided very many of these questions I have yet, but they are all swarming in my head like bees. They’re stinging my cerebrum and expanding out the tissue until I have such an awful headache I have to stop thinking about it all.

The one I keep going back to is this. Can any marriage be saved from divorce, or do some marriages simply time out, like any other relationship? The logic in me says they can time out. The burgeoning romanticist says that anything we cherish enough can be cherished forever if we just do all the right things.

This of course completely ignores the reality of the whole situation. That even if we all do the right things, theres still the problem of the unforeseen. The incompatibilities we never knew were there, the abusive partner awakening, the slip and fall from infidelity. Traps that we thought we were prepared for, but came anyways, barreling ahead into all of our well laid plans for love.

All these questions I have about marriage are rhetorical, my least favorite type of question. Questions that are often only answered when its too late to prepare.

When I think of the statistics, the failures, the its too lates, I also think of this. The dizzying look on every single one of their faces in the few moments before they say I do. How they seem to smile in unison, like they just can’t help it. And how not having the answer to “what makes it last?” doesn’t matter, when you can see very plainly that both of them are willingly to figure it out together.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. jr cline says:

    27 years married
    Dated for 5 years before marriage
    It was awesome until menopause.
    Then she left to try and be 25 again.
    Never again.


  2. LaNeshe (Nesheaholic.com) says:

    I think it can work when both people want to make it work. If one person has already given up, it’s a done deal.


  3. Khai says:

    I don’t know anything about marriage, but I’m engaged, because what I know is that I am willing to commit to my partner, and she to me, that we will stick it out. Come what may, we will stick it out.

    Past that, who knows? If you could answer that in a soundbite, you’d be rich too.


  4. Married for 29 years, till death parted us, physically but not spiritually. We worked through her misgivings and my immaturity, but we never hurt each other. In the end, her care and well-being was everything to me.


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