40 Days of Dating: What marriage is really about

There is this project going on called 40 days of dating where these two friends decided to date for 40 days and they're documenting it online. Here is a quote from the guy:

"I was thinking about some of my buddies who are in a relationship that doesn’t completely stimulate them. So many men and women accept this standard, it’s no wonder why half of all marriages end in divorce. Are we so desperate for companionship that we’ll compromise our happiness? Are we afraid to go after what we really deserve? And why don’t we realize this until it’s too late?"


His reasoning made me so mad. I don't even know why. But like, the purpose of the universe and the people in it isn't to make you happy. If you are looking for a relationship that is going to make you 100% happy 100% of the time then you are the most selfish human being. Have you ever thought that maybe sometimes you'll have to sacrifice to make your partner happy? Did you ever think that maybe your selfish attitude is what leads to all of those divorces? The people who stay in marriages aren't the people who are happy 100% of the time. They don't wake up every morning on cloud nine. They don't see sunshine and butterflies all the time. They still have problems, they have relationship issues, they sacrifice, they put up with the other person's emotions. "Are we so desperate for companionship that we'll compromise our happiness? Are we afraid to go after what we really deserve?" I hate the use of the word desperate. Are we so desperate to have a successful marriage that we stop thinking about ourselves for a moment? Yes, what a terrible thing to do. How terrible to have to learn to be selfless. How terrible to stop thinking about ourselves for a moment to try and figure out how to make someone that we love a little happier. And deserve? Are we afraid to go after what we really deserve? What makes you think that you deserve to be happy all the time? You don't deserve anything unless you've worked for it.

It's just such a contract marriage view. I'll give my 50% and the second I feel like I'm giving more into this relationship than I'm getting back, I'm out.

So so so so so so so so so so so so STUPID!!!!!!! What if you had that opinion about everything in life? Man, I am giving way more time and effort into this homework than it's worth. I guess I'll just quit. You know what? My job takes up so much of my time but it doesn't make me feel happy all of the time. I guess I'll quit. My religion is a full-time commitment but I don't always see the results. I guess I'll stop going to church. No. It doesn't work that way. You have to work for it. You might not always be seeing the results, but in the end the hard times are what make the successes so sweet.

You are never going to be truly happy if all you want is something that will simply make you happy. What if you went to your friends to vent after a long day and they were super supportive and helped you through it, but then when they came to you you thought "hmm, this conversation is kinda a downer. This friendship relationship isn't completely stimulating me right now. I want out." How could you ever expect to keep any relationships?

I don't know why people have this crazy thought that marriage is going to be the one friendship/relationship where you are happy 100% of the time. You're human, your partner is human, things are not always going to be perfect. The fact that this is enough to cause a 50% divorce rate sickens me. Have we really been raised so selfishly that we think we deserve everything?

Marriage is wonderful. Marriage is the best thing I have ever been a part of. But if there weren't challenges then our relationships would never grow. We as individuals would never grow. Nothing would ever change.

Sometimes it's about service. Sometimes it's about the other person. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that life isn't a fairytale and you might actually have to work to keep your relationship strong. Sometimes you might even feel less than completely stimulated.
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P.s. you should read the comment Katie left on this post. That girl has a gift of saying all the things I wanted to say but couldn't quite figure out how to word.

p.s.s. I've been thinking about it since I originally posted this and I just want to clarify. I didn't mean to personally attack this man, and I'm so sorry if it came off that way. With my major this topic is something I'm (obviously) passionate about, and that particular comment set off thoughts about things we discuss in my major regularly. I'm really grateful for Katie's comment which truly said everything else I was thinking. I understand everyone is on different parts of this journey and everyone has different ways of understanding and seeing things. I just wish that more people could go into marriage knowing that it isn't the cure-all, that it was going to take work. Anyway. I hope that clears up my thoughts a little.

16 comments:

  1. Um, THANK YOU? I was so mad by that as well! I kind of want to go post this link on his profile and be like, HERE! READ THIS! But I won't. I am so glad you shared this though :)

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  2. Truth has been written here. Thank you for sharing, Sadie Girl.

    I do not like the entitlement mentality. The fact that he used the word "stimulate" drove me bonkers. How arrogant to think your companion is responsible for your constant entertainment and delight. I agree that folks shouldn't "settle"; but by settle I mean compromise standards or values that matter the most to them, not settle as in my companion isn't 100% interesting 100% of the time, therefore I'm going to find that "stimulus" elsewhere. Ah yes, planting the roots of infidelity early on I see.

    There is no doubt that being with someone who shares common interests is rewarding and wonderful. And certainly dating can help any person figure out what matters most to them. But this expectation of a "stimulating relationship" does change once you're married because people change, circumstances change, interests change. If love was based solely off of how interesting a person is to you, relationships might not ever last.

    Your post reminds me of a quote I've been mulling over all week by President Eyring. It says, "Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion. Pray for the love that makes weaknesses and mistakes seem small. Pray for the love to make your companion’s joy your own. Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften the sorrows of your companion" (Our Perfect Example, October 2009 General Conference).

    Developing THAT kind of love, that true golden charity does indeed require work. Some days more than others. But you're never going to have that kind of love if you view your relationships like the 50/50 contract you described (great analogy, btw). It is so very true that the happiest, most rewarding relationships are those that require sacrifice and selflessness, just as you've articulated. True love isn't cloud 9. It's 2 a.m. in the morning when you're both scraping away side by side at brand new carpet in the basement because your water tank burst and your insurance won't cover the clean up costs. It's giving a foot rub to your wife at the end of the day when you're both tired, but you do it anyway because it's one of her favorite things. It's cooking the dinners. It's cleaning the dishes. It's being patient through the tantrums, unintentional (or intentional) manipulation or mood swings. It's saying "I love you", "I'm grateful for you", and "thank you for being a part of my life." Essentially, true love is made up of the little things, the step-by-step choices we make every day when we choose to make the needs of our partner top priority. (If this were a religious discussion I would add that to love selflessly is a gift).

    Elder Holland also talks emphatically about the concepts of hard work and sacrifice in his talk "However Long and Hard the Road." He says, "We speak about excellence [...] these days, and, by definition, excellence does not come easily or quickly—an excellent education does not, a successful mission does not, a strong, loving marriage does not, rewarding personal relationships do not. It is simply a truism that nothing very valuable can come without significant sacrifice and effort and patience on our part."

    I don't want to judge the guy because if I'm being totally honest, I understand his mindset. I used to think that way myself. Also, who knows the details of his family life/development years. But I do hope his perspective evolves. Otherwise, commitment will continue to be an issue.
    ____

    (Of course, all the above is written assuming we're all in a fairly healthy relationships. Obviously the conversation changes if someone is being abused in any form).

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  3. Amen amen and amen. You're wonderful, Sadie. Love is what you go through together! And Katie, I loved all your comments, too. Geez, did you brilliant girls study at the JC or something?

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  4. Ok.... I had a comment written out but it was long and jaded and stuff like that. Let me try again:
    This guy is clearly ok with being single so I'm not sure why he is doing this other than notoriety. Because the truth is, no you don't deserve a completely stimulating relationship, unless you work for it, and even then, you don't really "deserve" it. You sir, deserve what we all do: to be treated with dignity and respect. Anything beyond that is a bonus, and yes, even in a relationship. If sparks fly, great! If she is kind and thoughtful, bonus! If she cooks for you, you are one lucky fella. And hey, if you think she's pretty, even better. But the truth is, you're gonna hafta work. Hard. Own mistakes, not hold grudges and forgive, clean up after her when she's sick sometimes, deal with her family, blah blah blah... If it isn't worth it to you, embrace that and move on. I dunno... I read the blog. I didn't like his views on relationships. Good thing I'm not the girl he's dating for 40 days. I'd strangle the crap out of him. This may be why I'm single at 40. I'm ok with that.

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  5. Out of curiosity I read that blog. I am so surprised by how critical they were of each other at different times throughout their experiment. It made me sad. Being critical is super destructive on any relationship and one of the key indicators for how long (or short) a relationship will be. The more I read that blog the more I was/am grateful for the relationship my husband and I have and how great it is. I loved your and Katie's insight.

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  6. Sadie I absolutely love this post. I came across it at a perfect time. You are amazing.

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