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Marriage: Now with a money-back guarantee

in Life Lessons, Romance

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Photo by nubuck on

Last year I ordered one of those “90 days to a new body” workouts. My husband and I did the DVDs daily and we saw good results. The program itself was great, but I always had the money back guarantee in the back of mind. “If it doesn’t work, send it back for a full refund. No questions asked.” And every time I got tired I thought about it.

I think divorce has become the money back guarantee of marriage. As more and more people cash in that policy, marriage is losing credibility as a quality institution. That concerns me.

The stats

The Fatherhood Initiative released a survey earlier this year that broke down why people got divorced. Lack of commitment was one of the top problems.

  • 73% of couples said a lack of commitment was the main reason their marriage didn’t work
  • 62 % of exes said they wished their spouses had worked harder to stay married
  • 35% of men and 21% of women said they wished they, themselves, had worked harder in the marriage

Commitment and marriage 

Divorce used to be taboo. While I respect that there are perfectly legitimate reasons for divorce, looking at these statistics it seems that it often just comes down to laziness just as it did for me in that workout program. As long as I had that “out,” I was holding myself back. It was almost a subconscious safety net. “No worries, Jamie. If you can’t do it, you can just send it back. No loss.”

But that doesn’t work in marriage.

A good marriage requires dedication. It requires each spouse to put their partner above themselves. I just don’t see that very often anymore. On the other hand I have often been fooled into thinking a marriage was great only to see it eventually crumble.

I’m not judging divorced couples. (You never know what goes on behind closed doors.) I’m simply looking at my kids and their generation and wondering what their perception of marriage will be by the time it is a consideration.

The fine print

The best piece of advise that my husband and I received before we exchanged vows: never use the “D” word. And we haven’t.

We got married very young. We went through college, career change, miscarriage, infertility, more career changes, relocation, health scares, and a bank account with a hole in the bottom. We’ve lived in an apartment with mold growing from the ceiling, one where our neighbor snorted lines on our front step, a parsonage, and everything in between. We’ve had challenges, but we’ve never mentioned the D word.

But if you look at the stats, this is far from the norm. I completely agree that we are blessed and that I got a really good man; but I think there’s gotta be more to it. If I were investing in a product and discovered that the rate of return due to failure of parts was about 50%, it would definitely make me flinch. That’s where marriage is now, and my gut says it’s just getting worse.

How do we change that? Is our society completely derailed, or is there still time to get the Marriage Train back on its track? Is life-long love still something worth fighting for, or is that an old fairy tale limited to romance novels and chick lit films?

Your turn

What do you think it takes to make a marriage last?


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