In "That's What S(He) Said," CB Editor Alison Henry and fellow relationship writer Ryan Austin go head-to-head on life's tougher topics. Or at least the ones they're concerned about.
Today, Alison and Ryan wonder: What's the deal with the divorce rate?
I think I'm done with dating. No, really, check this out: 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages in America end in divorce. Compare that to anywhere from 2 to 10 to 20 percent for arranged marriages, and suddenly I'm thinking more matchmaker, less Maggiano's.
In my opinion, a major cause for this commitment catastrophe is that people fail to realize that love is a choice. Not the kind of choice that would lead one to, say, pluck a random, unassuming person off the street to marry, but the kind that acknowledges that the whole business of falling in love can sometimes lead us to have unreasonable expectations and face epic disappointment once we've landed back on our feet. And all too often we're too shell-shocked from the fall to put in the real work necessary to make true love last.
One of the reasons arranged marriages (read: not "forced marriages") seem to succeed, however, is because they eliminate this seemingly inevitable curse of courtship. They are based on sheer compatibility and mutual agreement. Sure there are other reasons for the lower separation rate, such as sometimes associated cultural beliefs against divorce that prevent women from speaking up when locked in troubled marriages - which I absolutely do not condone nor do I consider by any means "successful." But, as noted in an article on Wikipedia, you still can't deny that sometimes "individuals can too easily be influenced by the effects of love to make a logical choice."
Guilty as charged.
So, if this whole dating thing is based on delusion anyway, maybe it's time to blow right past it and cut to the chase. I mean, if it worked for our grandparents' generation, why not ours?
That said, my darling Ryan, will you marry me?
Let's do it.
I think we're ready. I mean, I've perused your Facebook profile on more than one occasion, and it suggests that you'd willingly watch a Wes Anderson film. That's really my only requirement.
Well, that and being female. (Although, I might be willing to compromise on that for anyone who can make a really strong case for a love of all things Wes Anderson.)
Also, you dressed your dog up as Batman for Halloween. Given that you know of my awesome obsession, your furry caped crusader scored some serious points. Also eligible for points: you in the Batman costume.
I'd much rather marry you for those reasons - and out of the inane fact that you adore Super Mario Brothers 3 - than marry a girl who has elicited so many emotions out of me that I'm making a life-altering decision based on what I feel, rather than what I know or believe. There are much more logical reasons than emotion to pledge in front of God and your mother that you will love this person standing next to you unconditionally, relentlessly and selflessly. And I really mean that.
Love is a choice. A freaking tough one. When I walk down the aisle, it's forever. So I'm less than interested in picking my wife by how she makes me feel, and more interested in picking her based on a massively serious mutual respect and uncompromising desire to love her for who she is.
So, how does October sound? I've always wanted a fall wedding.
(I'm kidding about the Batman costume, by the way. But if you happen to stumble upon a Catwoman suit, I ain't gonna complain.)