One of the reasons I’m such a big fan of Warren Farrell’s book Why Men Are The Way The Are is because it helped me look at an important aspect of my life from a different angle.
You see, although I do plan to get married, I can’t help but note that most of my friends who are my age have already gotten married and had kids. So, have I waited too long to get around to it?
There’s a lot to be said for being married to a woman you love, living in a house with a white picket fence, and pumping out 2.1 rugrats. In fact, that represents the American dream to a lot of people. I find it appealing as well and ideally, that’s how things will play out for me in the future.
However, there are a couple of issues a man in my situation has to consider.
The first is rather obvious. Yes, a lot of people my age are married and already have kids. Of course, more than a few of those people are now divorced, too. I’ve gotten to see the ramifications of divorce up close — really good people who’re broken hearted, struggling financially, and engaged in angry, horrible fighting over the kids. And the whole idea of finding one person you love so much that you want to spend the rest of your life with her or him — then after spending years together, watching that relationship shatter despite your best efforts — it must be crushing. From what I’ve seen, even the most “amicable” divorces usually leave horrific scars.
Also, after seeing a number of friends go through bad marriages and divorces, it’s a little scary to realize how unrealistic the romantic notion of marriage I had when I was young turned out to be. Two people find each other, they love each other, they get married, and it’ll all work out in the end. Simple, right?
I’ve seen marriages implode because one of the people involved just got complacent. Other times, one of the partners kept growing as a person while the other didn’t. Then there are the people who met each other’s needs when they got married, but a few years later, they realized they just weren’t well suited for each other. And there’s always a backstory. We all like to make one person into the “bad guy” or the “b*tch,” but it’s usually not that simple.
Have you ever seen someone cheat and thought, “That’s wrong, but if I were married to someone who treated me like that, I might be tempted to cheat, too?” I have. Have you ever seen a really decent, confident, competent person who questions everything he’s ever done because his marriage is falling apart and thought, “There, but for the grace of God, go I?” I have.