Disposable Marriages

I’ve done some thinking about Brian Holcomb’s excellent guest post on Saturday.  When he and I were talking prior to that post being written, I made the comment that my wife’s sticking with me through all the crap we’ve been through actually made her hotter than Kate Beckinsale to me.

Photo by Ben Stephenson
Photo by Ben Stephenson

I did some thinking as to why that is, and I think I’ve hit on it.

You see, in this day and age, guys are bombarded by stories of women bolting from the marriage after the guy loses his job, or of leaving their husband for someone who makes more money, and so on.  It’s terrifying to think that someone you swore to spend your whole life with is really only looking for a paycheck.

The thing is, my wife has been with me when I was literally making nothing.  She was there when my business collapsed.  More importantly, she stayed.  

It’s not like she didn’t have offers, either.  At least one former friend sought to woo her during a difficult period in our relationship during this time.

But she’s still here.

I’m not the perfect husband, but that’s OK.  She’ll tell you she’s not the perfect wife.  We’re both damage in different ways, but we’re broken in such a way that we fit together pretty well, all things considered.

And honestly, that is what we should be teaching young men to look for.  They should be seeking that woman who will be with them through thick or thin.

I can hear the MGTOW crowd now.  “They’ll all leave you!  They’ll divorce you, take your kids and all your money, and maybe even leave with an STD from screwing around on you.”

Or something like that.

Look, they can go their own way all they want.  I’m going to go mine, and I personally think it’s pretty damn fulfilling.  Just look at what Brian wrote about his wife.  Think about what I’m saying about mine.

Marriage is supposed to be about building a partnership, having someone with you through thick and thin.

Too bad it’s not like that these days.

Women have been told that they “shouldn’t have to put up with that!”  It’s the reason no fault divorces exist, after all.

The thing is, that phrase as meaning when she’s not putting up with something like philandering or abuse.  I don’t think any decent individual would say otherwise.  No one should.

However, it’s also being said about financial hardships or even just not getting along all that well at the moment.

Years ago, I had a female friend who went into the Navy.  After several years of not hearing from her, she reached out as she was about to be discharged and looking at coming home.

I asked about her husband, the one she’d married just before she enlisted.

It turns out they’d gotten divorced.  “I’m sorry to hear that,” I said.

“Oh, I knew we weren’t going to last when we got married,” she replied.  “He knew it too.”


Now, this woman is still a dear friend of mine, but this attitude alarmed me to no end.  What is the point of getting married if it’s not with the intent to try and remain so?

Marriages of convenience aren’t anything new, but that’s not what we’re talking about here (though I have issues with those as well).  Instead, marriage is disposable.  It’s like a paper plate or a plastic fork or a Nickleback album, something designed to be used briefly and then destroyed.

It shouldn’t be this way, and we can make it so that it isn’t this way.

Men need to be selective in who their potential spouses may be.  Get to know them, and really get to know them.  Find out about their views on divorce somewhere along the way.  Do everything you can to make sure you’re both compatible and are looking at this as a “forever” kind of thing.

Personally, I recommend a long relationship first.  The reason being that when a couple first gets together, everything is bright and passionate.  It’s easy to see it being forever at that point.

The problem is, that usually fades.  It fizzles out and that’s when the real test begins.  Do you have enough going on emotionally that it can survive the lack of passion?

Yes, there are billions of websites with advice on how to “keep it fresh” and all that, but so what?  A lot of that only works once or twice based on my experience, and then what?

If you have more of a connection on an emotional level, you can be content to just sit at home and binge watch Firefly on Netflix or DVD.  You can each be reading a different book in the same room and be content just because they’re near you.

That is when you know you’ve got something with a good chance of lasting.

But what if it doesn’t?  What if, despite your best efforts, you get divorced?

If you honestly and truly did everything you could, so be it.  Your job as a man is to fill the roles required to the best of your ability, to love your wife with all your heart, and to do your best by her.  If that’s not enough, there’s not much you can do.

If you didn’t, then learn from it and move on.

But don’t ever, ever treat marriage as disposable.


Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.