I apologize if this post heading is misleading, but I do not watch the Bachelor TV show. I do listen to NPR and this weekend’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell me show included a comment from Ira Glass regarding this particular feature of the Bachelor, The final three contestants each get to spend a night in the Fantasy Room with the Bachelor with no cameras to watch what happens.
Ira Glass commented that one romantic night alone together is not the most telling experience for determining couple compatibility. Instead, he suggests giving them a few kids and send them to Disneyland at Christmas… on fly Southwest airlines.
I think couples who are planning to have a family, this would be a very appropriate experience, but not until after a year of dating as the “honeymoon phase” seems to be a short lived oil greasing the wheels of a relationship. This is apparent in the documentary about finding happiness in marriage called “After Happily Ever After.” The film does a fantastic quick summary of the historical changes in the reasons for marriage. A majority of the film contrasts the quirkiness of long term relationships that appear to be “working,” against the failure of Kate’s (the creator/director) second marriage. This film helped me describe what I had already been thinking about long-term relationships and modern marriages.
Sadly so many relationships fail. I don’t think all relationships that do not stand the test of time are failures, I myself have had successful relationships that were intended to be temporary. As long as both (all) parties are aware of this expectation, I think that can be the recipe for success for those people. Since every person is different, modern coupling arises for different reasons. Each relationship has different reasons to come together, and different reasons for success or failure, so there is no a recipe that works everywhere. Gasping Through Marriage: Are we Asking Too Much discusses the demands we place on marriage, and asks if the romantic love/soul mate idea of relationships is realistic? Social change has been so fast over recent decades, relationship changes have been slow to keep up.
This is exactly my current struggle, as I do not have a priority to have children, and I don’t rely on a significant other for financial support. Ironically, I tend to attract the types of guys who want to be a provider for the family, which is a toxic relationship for me.
I struggle with the thought that no one is perfect, I am not perfect, and therefor there is no perfect relationship. Every potential mate will have some characteristic that bothers me. So am I the problem that I can’t just be happy and accept the person who is trying their best. Maybe it comes down to what I can live with and what I can’t, and the things I can’t live with just take time to surface. Sometimes I think people want something bad enough that they are willing to “put up with marriage” and that I just don’t want anything that much to accept the realities of marriage.
Congratulations to everyone out there who is making it work, and learning to find happiness and beauty in their relationships. And to Sarah and Phil who eloquently tell the story of the metamorphosis of love.