Thursday, June 25, 2009

Smug Marrieds.

The entire Jon & Kate divorce debacle has effectively littered the Internet with endless opinions on marriage and how they have "given up."

Frankly, it's irritating the fuck out of me.

Beyond the fact that this is a television show and you are only seeing what the producers want to you see (i.e., what will get ratings, people) and you have no clue what actually did or didn't happen, there is a whole lot of chatter about how I would NEVER "give up" on my marriage. Never, ever! I would work hard to keep it together, WE would work at it. Counseling. Vacations together. The works.

I'm a big fan of the counseling. My first brief stint seriously changed my life and quite likely prevented me from a starring role on A&E's new show about OCD peeps, "Obsession." It can be great. But it's not a cure all. Going to marriage counseling does not always save a marriage.

Because the reality?'s just... over. Eight kids or not. People change, they grow apart and are truly unhappy in their relationship. It happens, it sucks for all involved, it's a fact of life.

I'm as jaded and cynical as they come, and even I believe the vast majority of people feel like their marriage will work when they get married. That they won't give up. That they'll live happily ever after. Does it not dawn on anyone spewing their opinions on what they would do that they may eventually be unhappy? Because if 20 people comment on a blog about how differently they would do things so their marriage would succeed, statistically, someone has to see that about half of those people are going to be eating their words in 10 years. You can't all be the exception. You can't all make it. You all said you'd never give up...but, some of your marriages will end.

My point isn't to say divorce is good or even that it's inevitable. It is to say that perhaps, those smug marrieds that know everything about marriage and how to make it last right now, may be singing a different tune in a few years, despite wanting to make it work. And, for those going through divorce or those that have divorced, these constant know-it-all comments are hurtful. You might as well point at them and say "I would do better than you" or "you failed." No matter if they didn't "give up" but maybe their spouse did, or if they shrug their shoulders and say, "I don't know what happened. Suddenly we weren't happy." You don't know what you would do. You can't sit there a year into your own marital bliss and presume you know how you would behave 10 years from now.

We all make judgments, it's a fact of life. But going through infertility and constantly hearing people say things like, "If I couldn't have kids, I would..." when these people have no idea what they really would do, has made me rather sensitive to the platitudes I'm reading about divorce.


Sandy said...

I totally agree. I HATE it when people say, "That would never happen to me." It's short-sighted and naive.

Stefanie K. said...

YES!!!! I agree with you completely! And I'll take it one step further and say that I think a lot of people who take the "that'll never happen to me" stance could be in some ways asking for it TO happen to them. If you think you're invincible, why would you work daily to keep from becoming unhappy?

AND, I think that my (ifIdosaysomyself) realistic views on marriage are looked down upon by some smug marrieds who think that I must not have the same level of commitment to my marriage or something b/c I won't say "it would NEVER happen to us!" and they will.

Shannon said...

Ha. I might be one of those smug marrieds. :) I think that the show was mainly about the children, but I always go back to the opening credits where they say "we are in this together." I am not sure about the control Jon and Kate had over what was filmed, but some would say this was inevitable by the way she treated him. I would say that it was ineveitable becuase you opened your life up to public scrutiny.

I do judge them becuase they opened their lives to be judged. I don't think they can be afforded privacy when their show is about their lives. My judgement was based on what they show. According to Kate, they film all year around. I would say that the camera catches a lot of their lives. Not all of it, but most.

I would never say that it can't happen to me. However, I would say that I would do everything in my power to make it work. Obiously my husband would have to also.

Divorce is needed in many instances. You shouldn't live your life unhappily and go on just for the children, but children should factor in on how hard you try to make it work.

Hopefully this didn't come off as to smug. :)

Shannon said...

Jeez, typos galore. Sorry.

Faith, the Authoress said...

Great post, Katie. Sometimes, people just grow apart. Or they were never really "together" in the first place. I'm lucky in the fact that my divorce has blessed me with pretty widespread support, but I can't imagine what Jon or Kate feel like right now. Public or not, judging someone's marriage based on the very little knowledge you have of their inner private life is laughable.

Aunt Becky said...

Spot on, duder. Spot freaking on. People love to get all high-and-mighty about stuff they don't know anything about. Makes me very, very annoyed.