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Old 01.03.2010, 12:59
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what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

I've had some telephone calls from a couple of friends back home... They are, like me, women, 35-40 years old, married, with one or two children.
It seems that the same thing is happening to all of them and to our common friends. That is: by the time the youngest child is 2-3 years old, something happens to the marriage. It's like husband and wife become two strangers. One (more often the wife) or both can't tolerate the other half anymore.
I am wondering, is it a normal "phase" a couple have to go through? Is marriage meant to resist to those crisis? Are we just "spoiled", that when something just isn't perfect we throw it away?
I am confused between different visions of marriage, there are my catholic friends, they would tolerate everything and strongly go on with the marriage. Same for older generations which, not necessarily for religious reasons, went on with their marriages even when they were not perfect at all (now they are old and nice to see aging together: I admire those old couples)
And there are more modern and emancipated people who just say bye bye and ask the divorce (and I also admire those people who have faced reality, when it didn't work, and refused a wrong partner and then found a new, more satisfying life...).
I think it's normal to have crisis, and it would be opportune to fight them.
But there's an important step, after you tried: when is the moment to face that a marriage is failed?
Just asking, because when I have to give advices I really don't know what to say anymore: "go on, it's a difficult moment, it will pass. Marriage is this, after all". Or: "leave your husband, you deserve more"?
I usually say the first. But I'm not so sure anymore.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:08
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

It's over when you look at the other person in bed with you and you have no idea who they are except that you have the same last name. And had just met them, you would want to have nothing to do with them.

People change.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:14
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

Yes, people do change. And that's something that could keep the marriage fresh! All that it takes for a marriage to fail, is for one person to stop working at it. ( Not to say that marriages don't fail with both working at it).

At its best, marriage is two people competing to outdo each other in doing good to the other person.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:14
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

A friend of mine (who is in her 40s).. and had one of the worst experiences in this situation that I can imagine.. said that as a couple, before children, husband and wife are usually traveling along life's "road" side by side.. until they have children which usually changes the woman and her "path" starts turning and winding all over the place and she changes.. whereas the husband just keeps going in a straight line..

Its pretty.. "metaphory", and hard to relate to real life and real situations..
But she decided she deserved better than their cold marriage, so she left
And then on Valentines Day received a CD from him with one song on it (I feel bad telling her story.. and dont know how many details to go into errr.. I dont think she would mind, it isnt a secret and she'll never be on EF..) - I'm Here Without You by 3 Doors Down
Then when she had to go to his house one day he had left that song playing on repeat and she found him hanging in the garage

He left a note about how it was all her fault. But she has handled it well and has got on with her life..
I dont think she should have stayed with him out of obligation, but still, be careful giving advice in these situations
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:16
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

Happens quite often when kids arrive, from what I gather. You go from being two relatively independent people to being forced to spend all your time together 24/7. If you weren't good friends before your marriage, then that kind of in-your-face exposure is more than two people can handle (or one at least). That's just one option for 'why'.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:19
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

I think the best advice is to say they re the ones who know and have the answers and all you can do is listening, which is already a lot.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:25
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

How long have the couples you know been together PsychoD?

There's an 8 or 10 (I've heard both) year "itch" that many people talk about, where people change and relationships break down.

IMO you have to work, work and work some more to make relationships last long and be healthy. As ever, the more work you put into the relationship the more you usually get out of it.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:31
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

I'm one of those straight line guys who has had problems with my wife going off at a tangent for the last 2 years. I have two children aged 8 and 5 and yes she just changed when my son was aged 3.

For other people I know that are together, they probably shouldn't be as they treat each other so badly. I just feel sorry for the children as it is better to have both parents as we as men and women do different things and in different ways with them and they need both aspects.
It is unfortunate to have to walk away and I am bitter by the experience.
But onward ever onward to something better.

Women are unique in their ability to create life but unfortunately when that has been done say a second child aged 3 then their connection to their partner is no longer needed. Its' not done on purpose its more like the opposite of the sex drive that gave them their children in the first place.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:41
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

I seriously believe that children mess a lot of things up in relationships....couples don't have time for each other bacause littly Billy needs to go to Hockey practice, the money might as well be a factor because back in the days you could have just hopped on a plan to Amsterdam with you significant other, but now you can't because Billy and Bobby need an airfare, food and a hotel bed as well....and this causes strains in a relationship...and what are you left with...2 kids, a box of Lego toys, a mortgage, a nagging significant other, a raggedy minivan...and one can't deny it, you see those parents when they go shopping with their kids...most of them look beat and worn out....left there to dream and reminsice what they once were or wanted to be. I think people in general should move away from traditional values of marrying, having kids etc...as it doesn't prove to be a succesful path....this being my controversial 2 cent, ya'll can go ahead and groan me now.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:45
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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I seriously believe that children mess a lot of things up in relationships I think people in general should move away from traditional values of marrying, having kids etc...as it doesn't prove to be a succesful path....this being my controversial 2 cent, ya'll can go ahead and groan me now.
this is what researchers have also found.

The most recent comprehensive study on the emotional state of those with kids shows us that the term "bundle of joy" may not be the most accurate way to describe our offspring. "Parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions and more frequent negative emotions than their childless peers," says Florida State University's Robin Simon, a sociology professor who's conducted several recent parenting studies, the most thorough of which came out in 2005 and looked at data gathered from 13,000 Americans by the National Survey of Families and Households. "In fact, no group of parentsómarried, single, step or even empty nestóreported significantly greater emotional well-being than people who never had children. It's such a counterintuitive finding because we have these cultural beliefs that children are the key to happiness and a healthy life, and they're not."
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:45
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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back in the days you could have just hopped on a plan to Amsterdam
Excuse me while I just laugh my balls off.

How many couples live in your hyperprivileged fantasy world, Mr Inbroad?
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:51
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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Excuse me while I just laugh my balls off.

How many couples live in your hyperprivileged fantasy world, Mr Inbroad?
...DB, this has nothing to do with being hyperpriviledged. That is something an average earner can afford...but only without kids.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:53
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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That is something an average earner can afford...
In your world, perhaps.

No wonder so many marriages fail if these are the kind of outlandish expectations people have.

"Hopping on a plane", indeed...
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:54
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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In your world, perhaps.

No wonder so many marriages fail if these are the kind of outlandish expectations people have.

"Hopping on a plane", indeed...
Last November I took my gf to Amsterdam for 350CHf per person for 5 days. How is that so outlandish? That's how much so people spend on booze on a weekend.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:56
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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Last November I took my gf to Amsterdam for 350CHf per person for 5 days. .
Well done you!

Shall we return to the topic, or must we hear all about Lost Inbroad's overprivileged Bohemian lifestyle for the next eight posts?
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:57
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

It's different for everyone, and I'm not giving advice here. I've been married to the same person for 15 years. We have a good relationship. We decided not to have children because of the strain it would put on our relationship- my age, my husband's career aspirations. We both wanted to work, and had no family or affordable child care near us. I think we've changed, but in parallel. We like to be around each other.

But relationships come in all sorts of flavors, so what works for me doesn't work for you necessarily. I find though, when you can't talk about things that are important, and you can't negotiate disagreements, if you simply have no fun with each other anymore... time to go.

For us, I know that children would have been difficult. For others, it works out fine. I think you need a respite from your kids, so you can spend time together.
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:58
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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Well done you!

Shall we return to the topic, or must we hear all about Lost Inbroad's overprivileged Bohemian lifestyle for the next eight posts?
..you brought it off topic. I simply answered your concern regarding my "overprivileged Bohemian lifestyle".
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Old 01.03.2010, 13:58
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

When the youngest kid is about 3, you suddenly get a bit of breathing space again. So people start to re-evaluate their lives. it is a new phase of development. The same thing happens when the kids have all left home - another chance for couples to break apart.
You have to get to know each other all over again.
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Old 01.03.2010, 14:00
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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I seriously believe that children mess a lot of things up in relationships...
Yup. But...

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<snip>
I think people in general should move away from traditional values of marrying, having kids etc...<snip>
...who's gonna pay for your retirement?



More seriously though

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<snip>as it [marriage] doesn't prove to be a succesful path...<snip>
You'd have to qualify and quantify that. It's never been easier to get a divorce, which is now almost a commodity, and this is combined with the "I must have everything now" attitude that pervades everywhere.

IMO what this could of course mean is that people can enter into a marriage too quickly at one end, and don't work hard or long enough to keep their marriages working at the other end. (I accept that this isn't always the case.)

Without the extra difficulty of annulling a marriage, it is just too easy to dismiss a marriage and "trying" again in the next relationship. Added to which people don't always think of a marriage as a permanent "contract".

That's not to say that all marriages are meant to be, some clearly should be annulled, but to say that all marriages are bad is ill-thought out. It still works for a lot of people.

EDIT:

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<snip> you could have just hopped on a plan to Amsterdam with you significant other, but now you can't because Billy and Bobby need an airfare, food and a hotel bed as well....and this causes strains in a relationship... <snip>
Yes if that is all you value in your life. I don't mean that negatively, but not everyone's idea of bliss is to jump on a plane to who knows where and have a holiday. E.g. some people like camping, some like going on skiing holidays, some like going to exotic islands etc. etc. Sure things cost more with a family, but sometimes there is more to life than a quick trip to Amsterdam or a more expensive jaunt.

This weekend we went to Kindercity in Zurich with my family. We had a wonderful time, and I have memories (and pictures) of my happy children discovering and playing. A lot cheaper than 700 CHF and probably more fun (for me and the missus, anyway).
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Last edited by Carlos R; 01.03.2010 at 14:14. Reason: additional POV added
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Old 01.03.2010, 14:02
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Re: what is marriage? and when one can consider it failed?

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..you brought it off topic. I simply answered your concern regarding my "overprivileged Bohemian lifestyle".
I was merely suggesting that you might not be the best person to give marital advice, given your tenuous links to the real world in which most of us live, in which blowing 700 CHF on a jolly to Amsterdam is simply not a possibility.

How are you supposed to have any inkling of the pressures under which couples with children live, if you have no understanding of the lives of ordinary couples who don't have children?
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