Does anyone else remember the days when marriage was not only a good thing, but the expected outcome for couples? I am totally unconcerned about the logistics (i.e. who is getting hitched) but I just can’t shake the feeling that marriage is a good thing and why wouldn’t it be? A public declaration that you love and care for someone and intend to do so for the rest of your life? What a beautiful thought, so why has it suddenly come to mean so little?
I’m not talking about the droves of people that choose to co-habit rather than marry; if that’s more comfortable for you then carry the hell on and have a great relationship, but what really gets my goat is just how disposable marriage has become, especially to those in the public eye. It’s not a cliché to say that these people are supposed to be setting a good example and living their lives in such a way as to inspire ambition or even some healthy envy, but instead, marriages are dissolved after days, lifelong commitments are broken due to affairs and engagements pop up after mere hours of dating, so what the hell is going on?
What IS marriage good for? It’s a union of two adults that share values and aims and want to work together to achieve them, plus it offers certain levels of financial security, but is it still a religious innovation? Who sanctifies the union if it’s not carried out in church and why the hell is it so easy to extricate yourself now? Maybe we need to blame Henry VIII, after all, he’s the one that started the whole ‘I want to get divorced so I can legally knob some other chick’ movement.
So who has gotten me thinking bout all of this? Well it’s the good old Daily Mail actually and it’s unending desire to report on the heaps of celebrity marriages that are breaking up every day. It drips feeds us tasty little morsels about who cheated and with who, posts tantalising pictures of divorce papers and starts filling our heads with potential new suitors for everyone involved. Not once does it talk about the effect on any children, the heartbreak for at least one of the couple or what a sad and tragic situation it is. Is this just part of our voyeuristic nature that has been nurtured? Are we yearning for people to fail? Take a look at the most ‘popular’ break ups right now.
Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale – A couple that I feel confident in saying that we all expected to go the distance. Both had similar careers and understood the pressure on each other, she is gorgeous, he’s not been hit with the ugly stick either and after over a decade of marriage, they have three kids. So what has been cited as the cause of divorce? Irreconcilable differences is a go to excuse when celebrities don’t want their situation exposed to the world, but despite taking this evasive step, detail of Rossdale’s numerous affairs and Stefani’s unwillingness to keep turning a blind eye have been leaked. It’s got to make you wonder what hope is there for us mortal women when someone like Gwen can’t hang onto a man? She ain’t hard on the eyes or the wallet, so what gives?
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck – This really was a shock, but with new pictures of her looking utterly destroyed and him looking chubby and pathetic emerging EVERY SINGLE DAY, is anyone thinking about what impact the intrusive reporting is having on the children? Come to think of it, did Affleck consider his children at all when he started boinking the nanny and showering her with gifts? My guess is that all thought processes were out on hold while she found a suitable way to thank him.
You see, it’s just not okay to ‘get bored’ of your spouse and decide that bunking up with someone else looks like good fun, you have to have the nuts to leave, to tell your partner you are no longer attracted to them and that the life you built has become stale and predictable and that you really fancy shagging the nanny or au pair. Yes it’ll sting, but at least your other half will find it easier to get over your sorry, vow-breaking behind. So you’ve been together 13 years and you’re not still having sex four times a day… you know why? Because life has more important things to throw at you. If your husband or wife isn’t as lithe and appearance-driven as they once were, who cares? It means they trust you enough not to be and how dare you get sidetracked by a little leg hair or a paunch. If you promised to love and honour someone for life, you bloody well do it because I’ve never heard a stipulation clause in there that states *until such a time as you find each other slightly less attractive, become too busy to bone constantly or sexy staff offer themselves to you. It’s ’til death do us part guys, not until someone better/younger comes along.
But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom. Plenty of people have successful, forever marriages and they are willing to impart their wisdom to the rest of the world, so God bless you Davina McCall and your sexist advice. Apparently, girls, if we want to ‘hang onto our man’ (cue snorting, excessive winking at the camera and the jerky gesticulations that always make me think that Davina is having some kind of seizure), there is one surefire way; never turn him down for sex. Yes, you really did read that right. So what if you’re exhausted, feeling about as sexy as a rotting turnip or simply not in the mood, give in. Roll over, give him a smile and think of England, because it’s going to keep him by your side. Oh please.
When you consider that this advice has come from a woman that perpetually takes jobs that are too young for her, spends all her time doing fitness DVDs to try shake the mum tum (nothing wrong with mum tum, but stop trying to turn your shapeless frame into something with abs Davina, we are all cringing for you) and giving golden nuggets of marital advice such as ‘shag him whenever he demands it’, is she really the marriage savant that she claims to be? Can she really be in a state of perpetual bliss or is she wishing she could just join the rest of us and kick back on the sofa in mismatched pyjamas with messy hair and no make up, safe in the knowledge that our husbands love and respect us?
The secret to a successful marriage? Love and respect each other in equal measure so that if one ever goes away, you have the other to fall back on to guide your behaviour. Oh, and never marry a rock star, that just goes without saying.
by M. Baxter
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