Marriage- Why Don't We Talk About It?

 Photo by Thomas William on Unsplash

I've been thinking about weddings and marriage lately. It's a pretty common topic- whether you personally are married or not, whether you personally had a big wedding or not, you almost definitely know someone who is/did.

I got married at 18, and have been married for over a decade. I get that this is kind of unusual. But I love being married, and I wouldn't change anything. I like that my husband and I are solid, I like that I don't have to date and go through any drama meeting new people and figuring things out...and  I genuinely like and love my husband- which might be the most unusual part of it all.

For as much as our culture talks about marriage...we don't really say anything. 

We fight about who should be able to get married, and where, and how easy or hard it should be to end it. But we don't really talk about how to get through it.

My church is kind of big, so we have "small groups." This is kind of like a Bible Study group...but ours has pretty much morphed into a framily. We hang out and talk all throughout the week. There are different groups, some based on age or gender or life status and some open to anyone. Ours started as a group for married couples, and now many of us have kids. We have been talking about the Five Love Languages- an old topic, but one that can really help. We were all talking about how we deal with things in our marriage and talk it through, and it came up that one couple used a saying or strategy that another couple had mentioned previously. I can't remember the details, but it was a short little phrase that easily conveyed how the person was feeling. One of the other women laughed and said "I'm sure anyone who is not in this group and heard that would be very confused."

So it made me think...why don't we talk about marriage more? 

Like really, really talk about the common issues that come up and ways to talk it through. It's no big deal if someone complains about a nagging wife or a lazy husband...but if we say we are having trouble communicating then it's "Oh my gosh how is your marriage in trouble I guess you just don't love each other enough."

I remember hearing when I was younger that "If you need counseling then it's already too late." And while therapy is slowly becoming more normal, apparently that is kind of true. Erin hiley is a therapist and podcaster and she ranted a while back that most people who come into therapy for their marriages are about 7 years too late. She says she would never tell anyone they are really too late for therapy, but on average people have been having problems for 7 years and by the time they finally decide to use therapy as a literal last-ditch effort, the work to undo all those years of bitterness is overwhelming to many.

Why? Why is talking about marriage and discussing ways to make it work so shameful?

What would American marriage look like if we had the message boards and support groups and we talked about marriage as much as we talked about weddings?

What if instead of china patterns and new houses and flower arrangements we talked about communication styles?

What if instead of everyone expecting an invitation to a ceremony, they expected a call about how to hold back your anger when your spouse is pushing all of your buttons as once?

I don't think our culture actually values marriage- I think we value weddings and pretending everything is fine. And that's really, really crappy.

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