Anatomy Of A (any?) Marriage

We meet, fall in 'love', the companionship is awesome and the sex is great. Then we get married thinking it will 'complete' us, and it does for a while. With marriage, in addition to exclusive companionship, we also get family and social acceptance and it open doors to circles that singles usually don't. And there are financial reasons. Two people have higher purchasing power and we get a discount on rent and mortgage.

After the first couple of years of bliss, perhaps it is time for kids (or are we getting bored already?). In a world where there is no village (community) anymore and we grow up worshiping ourselves, none of us understand the tremendous burden kids bring to our lives. Of course kids are precious beyond anything, but they sure are a huge responsibility. Nobody tells us that, and if somebody did, it does not really register. Three kids is not 3 times the work, but is 5 times the work, not exactly sure why but maybe we should ask that IPhone SIRI why!

With kids, mothers shift their passion and laser-like attention from their hubbies to children. Time rolls on. And Dads, who never really woke up to the reality (or maybe they are on a different clock!), still want their wives to give them time/attention, dress up, be 'sexy', play, basically whatever they did when they dated and first got married. When that is no longer happening, they feel all alone. Ask themselves what the hell happened, what to do about the void, and start looking around if anyone will comfort them and baby them again.

For moms, juggling kids, chores, job, friends, family, personal happiness, and spousal intimacy, one or more balls are sure to be dropped. Or relegate some to the 'I will come back to this later' bin. Friends drifting away? Not able to give 60 hrs for that job? Husband is switching off? Daily happiness is becoming rare? We cannot press a few buttons and bring things back. A little bit of spite and payback thrown into the mix by all parties, and the package is complete for disconnection.

Is one more to blame than the other?

Can a relationship like this be saved? And should it even be saved, and at what cost? Because, in the juggle of priorities, perhaps some other balls need to be dropped in order to pick this ball up. Should we give up job/money for this? Pay less attention to the kids? Or swallow some self-worth? Or should we simply look elsewhere?

How typical is a story like this in America?
raidenthor raidenthor
31-35, M
6 Responses Dec 27, 2012

Our youngest left home last year, coincidentally our 25th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a transatlantic cruise. It is becoming increasingly clear that having an empty nest is a GOOD thing for our marriage. My husband says I give him increased attention.

All in all, while I can't say we've discovered a second "spark", life is certainly easier, sex more spontaneous, and obstacles to getting there less numerous. I'd say - if you love your wife - hang in there! Life's a ride with tons of ups and downs, but 25yrs later, you'll be rather glad you're with someone you don't have to constantly impress, who accepts you with all your flaws, and who cares about you deeply enough to take care of you -- even when you're at your worst. It's not the breath-catching, heart-palpitating, "fire-worky" thing -- but I think I'm beginning to believe it might be better...

I think this is an everyday thing for most people in the world but I think that is because we don't live in a world where people get the big picture. I live in Alaska where things are much simpler. We need food so we hunt, and gather the things that we need to survie and it works. I found that I am the happiest when I am away from the world living simple. When we go out to the lake where there is nothing no power no people I feel free and totally content to just be with the people that I love. I hope more people discover this and find a way to save their life they began together. You just need to remember why you were happy to begin with.

Good story for the regular American couples. There are ways to save the marriage and have all the fun you want since you are not alone, you just have to find the way best suite you.

My offspring received laser-like focus because, unlike his sweet words, my spouse did not appear to want the offspring very much at all. Life definitely becomes crazed when one must suddenly do the work of two parents. It took my spouse 12 years to tell me he actually wanted any attention from me, and then, it was only to sit next to each other and watch t.v.

And, please, own the story of your marriage instead of couching it as a sweeping generalization.

"With kids, mothers shift their passion and laser-like attention from their hubbies to children."

Let's not be gender biased here. My H had no problem doing this in his quest to avoid intimacy with me - the kids came 100% first ahead of any time with his spouse. To the point of ridiculousness.

You are very good at generalizations and gender bias. I think you need to look around at the success stories. I do know people around me - few and far between - who CAN and DO juggle it all. They are people who are authentic in THEMSELVES, who have been lucky enough to grow TOGETHER, and who have been lucky in ways and smart in ways.

Can everyone achieve this? I'd say it's rare, but it's out there. It's a matter of finding the right person and being lucky in the right circumstances (i.e., having enough work that you don't starve but not so much that you lose your family, etc).

As to marriage, people generally did NOT get married except for nobility in the past, so I'd say do some more research.

All the marrieges I know, including mine and I don't even have children, are exactly the way he described!

Well, maybe I hang with a different crowd. Either way, you make your own choices in this life. Including who you choose to associate with.

zsuzsilowinger, the story is largely experiential, namely mine. It is not a generalization, and I apologize if it came across that way, and biased or stereotypifying. I put it in 'story' not 'confession' because I could express it in the 3rd person. My question at the end: if this story is typical, that is, it assumes there will always be exceptions or outliers (as you say few and far between). If it is typical, I wonder what the 'common' causes of this quicksand are.

FeGomes, I was somewhat surprised that cultures outside of the USA also would have similar circumstances. Thanks for clarifying, and in hindsight it is believable. After all, why not! These problems seems to be equal opportunity and transnational :(

I always wondered how this plays out when there no children involved. Without children, I imagine there are fewer hiding places?

1 More Response

Not only in America. I think giving the circunstances any marriege, anywhere in the world follows the same pattern. The marriege life just sucks, it's boring. Things started to get confused when they added love to this business. I believe that only in the 17th or 18th century people started marring for love, until then it was only a family business. Nowadays we expect love and fireworks and the true is that they have expiration date.

Not always...but they are far harder to maintain than advertised...and I think some people just aren't temperamentally suited for monogamy at all.

(sociology majors, we just don't do absolutist statements...)