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Matthew Newman

Professor Camille Pack

English 2010
Word count: 1,315

Whether you will admit it or not, everyone has thought of the day you say, I do. We all have
our own ideas of what the wedding day will be like. We have different views on gender roles. There are
differences on where we get married depending on religion, ethnicity, and culture. I personally am
engaged, and will be getting married May 15, 2015. Coming from a divorced home, marriage is
something that crosses my mind frequently. Despite the high divorce rate, and the media glorified single
life, marriage is worth it. It is commonly thought that marriage is outdated, and not living up to societys
expectations. However, it is quite the opposite. Marriage can be as strong as ever, and is one of the most
satisfying ways to live our lives. Unfortunately, there has been a shift in how many people think marriage
should be.

We have all heard the phrase, put a ring on it. Believe it or not, outside of
costing young couples thousands of hard earned dollars, a wedding ring has symbolic significance. The
circle was the symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end, not only to the Egyptians, but many other
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ancient cultures. The hole in the center of the ring also had significance. It wasnt just considered a
space, but rather a gateway, or door; leading to things and events both known and unknown. To give a
woman a ring signifies never-ending and immortal love (The Origins of Wedding Rings and why theyre
worn on the 4th Finger of the Left Hand). Obviously, this is a little cheesy and overdramatic. I certainly
wasnt quoting Shakespeare as I proposed. However, does our idea of marriage measure up to neverending love? A recent survey found that 73% of divorces had one thing in common as a major factor.
Lack of commitment (How common is divorce and what are the reasons? Pg. 44) Are people living up
to not only what the wedding ring symbolizes, but what they promise in their vows? Obviously there are
solid marriages and relationships which we must applaud, but the majority of Americans either do not
understand marriage, or do not have realistic expectations. Whether they keep the door open for divorce
in case things get hard (lack of commitment), or they think their relationship will be a textbook Disney
movie, we need to assist people in gaining realistic expectations.

What do you think of when you think of marriage? If you are like most
Americans, you think of the big day, the white dress (I personally think of my new suit), the cake, the
band, and the whole $25,000.00 ordeal. You think of Ross and Rachel, with lots of sex and romance.
While I plan on having nights of romance and intimacy with my wife, is it realistic to expect this every
day? When researchers surveyed therapists, seeking to identify the frequency, difficulty in treating, and
severity of the effect of 29 problems couples might face, they found the following problems identified as
the most frequent problems couples bring to therapy: unrealistic expectations. . . (Strong and Cohen, the
Marriage and Family Experience pg.254). You may think this contradicts the point made earlier of people

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having a lack of commitment. But does it really? Do some people value the perfect marriage so much,
that they are willing to keep the door open for divorce in the chance their current marriage does not live
up to every expectation/fantasy they have? Are they so committed to the perfect marriage, that they are
uncommitted to their imperfect marriage?

Maybe I shouldnt find it comical, but people are actually surprised

when their marriage isnt identical to what they see in the media; as what they see in the media is what is
referred to as Rocky and Turbulent Relationships. Professor Ted Huston describes three prototypical
courtship experiences: Rocky and turbulent courtships, Passionate courtships, and Sweet and undramatic
courtships (Strong and Cohen, the Marriage and Family Experience pg. 291). In the media, everyone
loves to see a couple get together, then break up, and repeat this cycle about ten times before they tie the
knot in the final episode. Then there are the best friends of the main characters who meet each other,
quickly fall in love, and get married. Out of the 3 types of courtships, these two are by far the ones that
most often lead to divorce. The relationship that most often leads to a happy marriage is the sweet and
undramatic, where everything progresses naturally. But that is not what people want to watch. With the
average American watching more than five hours of television every day (David Hinckley, Average
American watches 5 hours of TV per day, report shows), no wonder many people have unrealistic
expectations about their marriage.

Newman pg. 3

With this information, people may wonder if marriage is worth it. It is

our job to help them see the light. For this we must examine what people want most. Dr. Rosalind
Tompkins wrote the top ten things people want in life are:

Having love in their lives.

Being healthy.
Having high paying jobs.
Looking better.
Losing weight and toning their bodies.
Learning new things.
Living longer with their families.
Being safe from perceived and real hurt, harm, and danger.
Being comfortable.
Having more pleasure to satisfy their appetite and desires.

(Rosalind Tompkins, What do you want?)

Married couples report greater sexual satisfaction. Married women report higher levels of physical and
psychological health. Married people are more likely to volunteer. Being married increases the
likelihood of affluence. Married people tend to experience less depression and fewer problems with
alcohol. Getting married increases the probability of moving out of a poor neighborhood. Married men
make more money. Ever-married women are less likely to experience poverty. Marriage is associated
with a lower mortality risk (The Benefits of Marriage). Although men and women are equal, there is no
argument that they are different. For women, on average, marriage will result in higher physical and
psychological health, money, and time for family. For men, on average, marriage will result in higher
sexual satisfaction, and money. What male (and a most females) does not want that in life? Returning to
the top ten things people want from life, marriage is likely to contribute to at least six of the ten desires in
life, and although not mentioned in either article, it is likely to contribute to all ten.

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It is not expected for you to go out and try to find a spouse immediately.
But if you have never thought about it, you may want to consider the benefits. If you have been thinking
about it, act on it. Marriage is never easy. But to quote Dr. Kelso, the Chief of Medicine in the television
show scrubs, which incidentally portrays a perfect example of the rocky and turbulent relationship,
nothing in this life thats worth having comes easy. If you work at a marriage, it will be worth it, as
long as you dont mind living the life every American hopes to achieve.

"The Origins of Wedding Rings And Why They're Worn On The 4th Finger Of The Left Hand." Today I Found
Out RSS. 27 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. <>.

Newman pg. 5

Web. 13 Mar. 2015. <>.Strong and Cohen, the Marriage

and Family Experience pg. 254

Strong, Bryan, and Theodore Cohen. The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a
Changing Society. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.
"Average American Watches 5 Hours of TV per Day." NY Daily News. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.
"Life Lesson: Top Ten Things That Most People Want | Community Blogs." Life Lesson: Top
Ten Things That Most People Want | Community Blogs. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.

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