Sunday, October 22, 2006

Married Life

So, a lot has happened since I last wrote. I finished my first year of law school, completed a summer internship, celebrated the addition of a new family member, and oh yeah, got married. The wedding was fantastic, and being on the other side there is an even stronger sense that we're sharing in this adventure. When we talk about the unknown, the edge is softened just a little bit. The ultimate ultimatum - I'm leaving/moving out - just isn't an option, and that feels good.

I'm taking Family Law this semester, and damn if the statistics aren't sobering. The divorce rate in this country still hovers around 50% - but we are also a nation where more people get married (though that seems to be changing). According to some studies, women are most often the initiators of divorce, and most often they cite emotional disatisfaction as the primary reason for wanting out. Ironically, women also continue to fare worse, financially, then men post-divorce. So what does this picutre say? Do we over-romanticize marriage, raise our emotional expectations to heights that are unattainable? Is the answer to lower our expectations? Or should we keep those high expectations, but recognize that the pay off only comes with lots of hard work? But then again, work doesn't sound very romantic...Interestingly, another study found that of couples interviewed when they considered their marriages unsatisfactory, the majority of those interviewed 5 yrs later who had chosen/managed to stay together reported being happier than ever in their marriages. What happened in those five years?

In talking to my newly-wed cohorts, it's already becoming clear that there is a mythic aura to marriage and to being a newly-wed that doesn't match up with reality very well. And as the billion-dollar wedding-industry continues to blossom, I can't imagine that's going to change anytime soon.