Marriage Isn’t What it Used to Be

The last two weeks, I could not help but reflect upon marriage. It seems to have been a theme in my office and amongst my friends. Dinners with friends have unfortunately made me walk away in tears. Moments in my office have left me sad wondering what has happened to marriages today.

I know that all our parents have had their set of issues in their marriages. My husband and I often reflect upon our parents’ marriages so that we are more aware of how we do and how we do not want to grow old together. We can complain about our parent’s traits, their behaviors, and their communication styles. But, we ALL have our issues and we ALL have struggles in our marriages.  So, why does it seem that our parents and our grandparents’ have their marriages somewhat intact and our generation seems as though it is falling apart? And, let’s not look at the generation after me because the majority of them don’t even believe in the sanctity of marriage any longer.

A beautiful reminder….

A beautiful reminder….

This is what I do know….there are no longer any clear cut definition of roles. Partners are juggling more while also expecting more from each other. I’m not saying that the partnership shouldn’t be 50/50. What I am saying is that some of these expectations are typically not discussed before marriage and/or it may be incredibly difficult for a man to multi-task working full-time, being a proactive dad, while helping maintain a home (especially if they were never role-modeled that type of behavior.) I also find that the pressures we place upon our children have gotten in the way. We are so consumed with our children and what WE want or expect of them, that we become overly enmeshed.  I end up seeing moms (or dads) married to their children instead of their spouse. The competition nowadays are horrendous. Trying to keep up with the Jones’ is absolutely ridiculous and to see how it affects my couples in my office is heart-breaking. As opposed to keeping up with the Jones’,  I’m thinking that we need to keep up with our spouse. We should be more interested in how our spouse’s hard day at work was, than we should be about the extravagant new diamond ring that so and so got “just because.” I am also seeing less God. I have a lot of Christian couples that come in to see me and yet, they have missed the mark. Being a “Christian” spouse does not solely entail praying together as a family. It means honoring one another and speaking kindly with one another. It means living our faith out in our marriages, so that it bleeds into how we raise our children. That leads me to pornography. I am amazed at the number of males that come into my office with pornography issues. This should be another post all together (which it will be.) But, the accessibility to be tempted by everything that is wrong with how we view women is at these male’s fingertips. It distracts them from being the kind of husband they can be and it influences the reality of what real women are and struggle with. No, I will NEVER look like a model from Maxim or Victoria’s Secret and frankly, I don’t care! Why? Because it is not my priority. My priority is about my character and not whether I can look like a model in lingerie. Unfortunately, this is what men begin to expect when it floods their computer screens and its image after image of the same photoshopped body. And, while we are at it, I see too many couples put their private business on social media without respect for their relationship or their partner. Not to mention, instantly claim “single-hood” or submit themselves to another match.com site as though we can peruse people like they are on a McDonald’s menu and simply order what we want. Another component that I see is different, is patience and hope. Everything today is about instant gratification and how much I can get, along with how quickly I can attain it. We get into marriages looking at how quickly we can get our needs met and our feelings catered to, without recognizing that we need to water, tend, and shed some light on what we care for in order for them to grow. When we don’t see things grow or move quickly, we lose hope and move on.

My husband and I celebrating our anniversary in New York

My husband and I celebrating our anniversary in New York

These are some of the observations I have made. My grandparents have had their share of struggles. They had less money, a smaller house, and more children. My parents had their share of struggles, as well. They had more money, a bigger house, and a little less children. My husband and I have, and I am sure, will continue to have our share of struggles. And, regardless of how much we make, what type of home we live in, or how many children we have, we will have our marriage.  We have different struggles than our parents and our grandparents; but my HOPE is that regardless of the journey, that I always trust in what God has given me because He knows what my husband and I need despite the moments of hardship and despair. My friends often ask me how my husband and I do it all. For me personally, I have to separate and compartmentalize. We are constantly fed by society to “look out for ourself,” but I know that God instructs us to looks out for others and that includes, our spouse. When I look back on my grandparents and my parents, they seem to have gotten that concept right no matter how loud our society screamed in their face!

Charise

Charise Casiano

About Charise Casiano

Charise obtained her BA degree at California State University, Stanislaus and immediately pursued her MS degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College. During her college years, Charise left for one year to do missionary work. She traveled the United States troubleshooting with teenagers.