1. michael says:

    well….i dont know what to say about marriage. There are what, 6 billion people in this world? maybe 3/5 are adults. so out of the 3.6 billion adults what are the freakin odds of you finding that “one” person you are suppose to find? thats why there are so many divorces, because you say “i do” then you realize, “damn she aint the one”.. or “damn this guy is a loser”

    my parents have been together for 37years, and as bad as it sounds i think sometimes if they were suppose to be together. Are they still together for religious views, their children, financial reasons??? maybe its just love? I dont know, but the odds are never in your favor.

    maybe i’m bitter but Love is just a hoax, and Love is a corresponding part to the word Marriage. So maybe Marriage is too????? I dont know

    Good piece Frank.. I know my comments arent exactly related to your article.

  2. sweet jane says:

    Before I begin: because it’s hard to decipher a person’s tone via text, I’m going to go ahead and tell you that I’m speaking to you in a conversational yet firm manner. Got it? Pretend I’m a female friend who is (once again) telling you how it is.

    I’m surprised at this article – it seems too narrow-minded and angry, Frank. Reread it from a pretend-outside perspective and ask yourself if the author doesn’t sound a tad bitter. Granted, I too question the purpose of marriage these days. How many times have I seen women show off their rings as though they were worth more than the relationship itself? How many couples have I seen slowly downward-spiraling into their own little universe of boredom and oops-we-moved-too-fast? But I also believe that it’s ok for two people to decide to get married because they want to be together for a long time and have a big party to kick it off. (Hopefully) everyone is capable of love, and many relationships can last for decades as something dynamic and complex, but nonetheless supportive, positive and loving – even if they start before the popular cut-off age of 30. Your cousin might – eeeep – be in love with his wife, and be very happy to spend time with his baby in lieu of writing for the time being. If he really is a great writer, then he’ll probably pick it up again when he isn’t waking up 6 times a night to a newborn. Life doesn’t end after 30! I hope to always be as interesting, smart and cool as I am currently in my twenties, and I can imagine that if I wind up marrying and having kids, it will be ok because I would be – eeeeep – happy! The horror of sticking one’s balls (or heart) out there!

    I can’t help but feel biased against you because I’ve known men with your attitude in their twenties who grow into (less attractive) men in their thirties suddenly wanting to settle down, usually with taut, bright young women in their twenties. Needless to say, some of these women are recovering from broken relationships with twenty-something men who go to weddings for the booze and who avoid serious relationships because they don’t want anyone to ruin their one-track path to various experiences (that only really risk ruination by their own means, anyway). I think you might need to delve deeper, Frank. At the risk of sounding harsh, your article reeks of fear that a formal commitment will somehow ruin one’s (read: your) manly empire (yeah, I said it). Yeah sure, it sucks to see people get hitched for reasons other than genuine affection, and we’ve all scoffed at their pretentiousness while nabbing extra mini pizzas and champagne. It’s 2008, humanity has come to embrace reality tv and salad-in-a-bag – yup, you nailed it Frank, we’re surrounded by fakeness a lot of the time. But there’s plenty of Good out there, too, and that’s nothing to piss in anyone’s koolaid about (come on, you lectured your cousin about his writing as he presents you his new family? Ouch. Lighten up, dial his number and scoop your poop). It’s ok if people have a different life than the one you choose for yourself. Instead of wasting your time being angry and arguably unpleasant company, try smiling and making someone feel good about a choice they made. It’s ok. Dip your toe in, the water is warm.

    Oh, and go ahead and email me your writings before you post next time, ok? You had a few spelling errors I’d like to proof-read next time. (Annoying, isn’t it. [But really, there were a couple typos…])

    • First of all Sweet Jane (if I may call you that), I want to thank you for taking the time to write your very thoughtful comments. I got a sense that what you wrote was something you sincerely felt, and the fact that you stuck to your guns by writing honestly and truthfully is something I appreciate immensely.

      Let me start my reply with some of the comments you mentioned with which I agree: I do believe that some people marry for love, and I’ve been witness to those types of unions (my sister being a perfect example). This might surprise you, but I do believe in (to quote Celine Dion) the “power of love” (in fact, some have accused me of being a “hopeless romantic”). I believe that such relationships (i.e. marriage) can last for decades, relationships which can never be perfect (and I don’t expect them to); and with such imperfection comes the complexity, positivity, and genuine love you mentioned. I know such unions are possible because I’ve seen people living them: they aren’t a lofty ideal.

      But those relationships are nevertheless few-and-far-between.

      You’re right that my article is somewhat narrow-minded; it is because it’s based on my experiences, which, when it comes to love and relationships, are very limited. I can only approach the subject from what can principally be labeled as a “theoretical” stance deduced from first and third-party observations. Coming from a broken home, I have always been very distrustful of people’s true intentions in relationships – that whatever “good” might exist in such unions was tenuous at best. Once in a while I’ll come across some friends or relatives who seem to truly be “in love” and therefore married for all the right reasons. Those are the type of stories that really give me hope; they reinforce what I think separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

      But for the most part, my experiences – both with my own personal relationships as well as the relationships I’ve seen around me – have not been so positive. Of course, these negative impressions I have could be more symptomatic of the PEOPLE in these relationships as oppose to the concept of a “relationship” itself. I don’t discount that possibility, for I know full well how the dynamics of a relationship can turn the nicest, warmest person into a cold, calculating monster; how someone smart, independent, and rational can be whittled into a reckless, dependent, emotional mess. I know that not all relationships and marriages are the same, but the key consistent element I’ve found in all of my observations has been this deep, underlying need for control over the other person, and therefore the “success” of any relationship is when one party inevitably “submits” to the other, thereby preemptively quelling any possible conflicts which may put the union in jeopardy. It is my limited experience, coupled with my rather cynical view of human nature, which has informed my impression of relationships as being “power struggles.”

      Time and time again I see this shift in people around me who had these really ambitious goals and seemed to be on the right path to achieve them, but then they meet someone, fall in love, and “settle” on something less – their ambitions now thwarted. It’s as if they had to make this compromise between their own future and the future of their relationship – that both futures seemed mutually exclusive. And when I see these friends go through this, they may very well be sincerely in love, but that very passion that once defined them has somehow become extinguished. Again, this is my impression: by no means am I claiming this observation as fact or that it is “generally the case.” You were very right in pointing out this bias.

      However, I do feel that you connected some dots in the article that simply weren’t there. I never told my cousin any of these ideas I wrote in the article in terms of my thoughts about his decision to have a family. I never “lectured” him about putting his family before his writing. In fact, I mentioned in the article how imperative it was to prioritize the needs of one’s family in front of your own personal needs, a shift in paradigm that unfortunately some young people don’t adopt when having families. By no means was I lambasting my cousin for choosing his family over his writing. I like to think that despite my personal views, I try to adopt a pleasurable demeanor in social situations (it seems to me that, consequently, my writing as been an outlet for what Freud refers to as my “latent content”, a tendency I realize I have to be more conscious of and curb).

      What I DID tell him (and again, I excused however forthright I might have sounded by noting that I was a bit drunk) was that he should MAKE time to write, even if it’s an hour before he goes to bed. I did not tell him that he should have to pick between his duties as a husband and father and his duties as an artist. Many great writers have been able to successfully juggle both, and so I don’t subscribe to the notion that a family man can’t be a great artist. My cousin is a very smart guy, and so I have complete faith that he could balance both.

      I’m perfectly fine with people choosing a life that is different from mine. I didn’t mean to suggest that he chose “wrongly,” and if that was the vibe you got from the article, then I apologize, for that was not my intention. The intention of the article was an attempt to explore the reasons WHY HE CHANGED. I wanted to know how we went from typical bachelor who didn’t believe in being “tied down” to conventional family man within a matter of a few years (perhaps his time in the military has something to do with it..?). Some people might think I’m overanalyzing this and so might be quick to say, “well, he feel in love – what do you expect?” Pat explanations like that don’t satisfy me; they do nothing but make me want to know more.

      Despite whatever personal reservations I had about my cousin’s decisions with his life and what may or may not have informed them, I am nevertheless supportive of what my friends and family ultimately choose for themselves. At the end of the day, THEY know what’s best for them, and so the only thing I can do is offer my take on the situation, and the article was simply that: my take.

      I’m well aware that when it comes to love and relationships, my view is rather pessimistic (perhaps misanthropic), and therefore rather unpopular. The impetus of the article was to put out a view on the topic that I felt many people DO have, but are afraid to voice (which I now see why). Despite my own views, I still think marriage is a legitimate subject to talk about, for it is a topic that is very much paramount to one’s twenties. I do believe that marriage affords you pre-conceived expectations that can help certain people develop and redefine one’s identity and goals, concepts which can be very fleeting in the “quarterlife” experience. And perhaps in that context, marriage can be a good thing.

      Damn, this reply got kinda long, didn’t it? Perhaps this should have been a post…

      Anyway: It’s become obvious to me that I didn’t do justice for the subject because of my limited experience and (perceived) bitter tone, and I accept that, for I never claimed to be a so-called, “expert” on the subject. There is plenty of “good” out there as you say, and I’m all for taking the time to recognizing and acknowledging such instances. If anything, I hope whatever deficiencies the article has (misspellings and all) will continue a dialogue that might breed some insight into the very concept of marriage and perhaps, relationships in general within the context of the “quarterlife” experience.

      And again, thank you for continuing the dialogue.

      P.S. Thanks for volunteering to look over my articles before posting. We now have an editor, so hopefully, those kind of errors will be caught and rectified before going to press!

    • dan says:

      Sweet Jane,

      I’m one of the blog’s editors. I really enjoyed reading your response and was wondering if you’d like to contribute to the blog on a regular/semi-regular basis?

      • sweet jane says:

        Hi Dan,

        I’m glad you liked my response – it was actually the result of procrastination from research about the quarter-life crisis for a final paper. I took my stress out on poor Frank. Anyway, sure, I’d love to contribute. I put my real email in the box this time. Send me the details.

  3. David Morgan says:

    I’m tempted to quote Prince Humperdinck… Yes, you heard that right, Prince Humperdinck.

    “You truly love each other and so you might have been truly happy. Not one couple in a century has that chance, no matter what the story books say.”

    Relationships aren’t always easy, for some people they’re never easy and sacrifices will always have to be made. But I think a positive relationship is one where each others goals and dreams are encouraged and supported. Your cousins wife should be encouraging his writing as much or more than you are.

    On a side note, as a married man I obviously have nothing against marriage. However, I’m not particularly fond of weddings. Generally, I think 90% of the people (probably more) don’t want to be there. Weddings are usually boring and who honestly wants to bask in the glow of someone else’s happiness(or sadness depending on the couple) for an entire day. I know I’d rather be doing something else. They’re full of criticism, bitter and jealous people, something always goes wrong, it’s ridiculously expensive, etc , etc… It seems like the perfect day to lose friends because there’s always somebody who disagrees with the marriage. Man, I had a very small wedding and there was still a ton of drama. My brother had a very large wedding, and I’m pretty sure the drama grows at an exponential rate to the size of the event.

    • dan says:

      David’s take really nailed it. Frank’s harsh indictment of marriage may in fact be nothing more than a visceral reaction to the extravagant glitz and glamour (read: tasteless phoniness) of modern weddings, which tend to overdramatize and thereby cariacature (distort/exaggerate to a ludicrous degree) the love that two people feel for each other, creating a set of (probably) unrealistic expectations about that couple’s future together. A wedding should be more about the intensely private love that two people feel for each other than about the magnitude of the event itself. but, of course, in modern weddings (read: hollywood productions) the bride and groom (read: the writers) are overshadowed by a thousand bascially indifferent guests (read: the extras), the inevitably tasteless DJ (read: the composer), the caterer (read: the director), and the producers (read: father and mother of the bride).

  4. Lily says:

    Wow.

    That was my first response to this article. Not a good ‘wow’, either. No, it was a shocked ‘wow, this person really hates marriage’ wow.

    Being in my twenty somethings as well, I know I’m not an expert of any sort on marriage, but I guarantee that is isn’t nearly as bad as you make it out to be, Frank.

    Half of the problem with marriage these days is that people don’t really understand when to get married. You should never marry someone solely based on their income, looks, status, or when you essentially only want something from them. Some people get married because they’ve become pregnant, and they think it will save the relationship.

    First things first, marriage doesn’t change anything.

    That’s right, it DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING. Your relationship with your spouse isn’t going to change as soon as the marriage certificate is in you hands. Whatever problems are there will always stay there, unless they are resolved with focus and communication, and if they can be resolved whether you’re married or not.

    It’s true that fifty percent of marriages end up in divorce, but there’s also that other fifty percent of marriages that work out. People always seem to forget about the ones that do work out. Once that one person has been found that you’re happier with than without out, isn’t it worth it to ‘take the risk’ of marriage, rather than miss out on happiness?

    Also, getting married and having a family absolutely does NOT inhibit a person from achieving their dreams. I have known a lot of people from my college graduating class, and years both above and below mine, that were single parents making their way through college and making a career for themselves. If a single parent can do it, a parent with a spouse should have even more opportunity.

    You make it sound like having a family is the end of your life. Some people actually WANT to have a baby. All they can think about is raising a child and having a family of their own.

    If there are people out there having families because ‘it’s what society says they have to do’ then there are some pretty weak minded people out there. I’ve never met anyone who had kids because they were told to do so.

    Perhaps you should try asking why some of your relatives are getting married, and how they feel when they say ‘I do,’ rather than discounting what their doing as a misguided step towards a false, fairy-tale future?

    And that’s not to say that a happy marriage is truly like a fairy-tale, because that is quite far from the truth. Relationships do take work, compromise, commitment, and understanding. If you can’t compromise with a girlfriend/boyfriend, then you’re not ready for a committed, long term relationship.

    I’ve been in my current relationship for a few years now, and we’re planning on getting married once we’ve left our early twenties. And trust me, if I wasn’t sure about my future with him now, I wouldn’t still be with him.

    I hope that, someday, you will find someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with. It’s an indescribable feeling, being that much in love with someone else.

    • brandi says:

      and some also have the choice not to. that’s frank prerogative. for some folks, it may be the end of their life.

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