The Southern Yankee

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 11, 2004

Some special tips on ‘Marriage 101’

Sue Ellen Ross

With the presidential race in high speed, we are hearing quite a bit about many issues. Family values have always been at the forefront and this year’s campaign is no different.

Presidential candidates have been queried about their stance on same-sex marriages and women’s rights. No matter which candidate or party you favor, there are certain items that will catch your attention.

Marriage is one of them.

In past years, I think it was probably the hippie days of the 60s and 70s, the question wasn’t who was getting married, it was, “Is marriage in and of itself necessary for a happy life?”

Young people were questioning the motives of the masses of coupled-up persons. And, like with anything else, finding some negative forces in the mix.

In the 80s, women were becoming very strong in the work force, and again marriage was a popular topic among many people. Combining a career with motherhood was something many women had not seen before.

In some cases, it caused chaos between the husband and wife – who was going to stay home with a sick child when both careers were equally important? If one was offered a career move to another state, were did that leave the other partner’s career?

Quite a few unique problems and concerns were thrown in the marriage path. Dealing with other mounting problems, in addition to changes in society and the working world, many people divorced. It seemed that divorce, while still not the option for many, was becoming more widely accepted than in years before.

In the 90s, it seemed that the bad rap given to marriage, and the myriad of concerns associated with it, was about to reverse.

Many pop psychology gurus, self-improvement books and marriage classes were popping up during this decade. All seemed to foster the true meaning of togetherness in marriage and working on ways for couples to stay together.

Talk shows hosted psychologists, psychiatrists and the latest ‘how-to’ authors to discuss what goes on in the life of a husband and wife. Yes, the divorce rate began climbing at that time, but so did the rate of those re-marrying.

These people saw the value in sharing life with one partner and, according to studies in this area, many of their re-marriages reached the 25-year (and plus) mark.

In this new millennium, marriage, children, and homelife seem to be again in the big picture.

People still want to see a happy man (or woman) as their president, with their smiling spouse and children at their side. The fact that this president has been married for many years is just icing on the cake – for both himself, his wife and his public relations people.

The good side of marriage and all it stands for is back again, in this 21st century. If you look around, I am sure you will find many married couples that have been together for eons.

My mom and dad are one such couple. They celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary yesterday. Many of my aunts and uncles passed the 50-year mark, as have the relatives of many of my friends and acquaintances. And you’ll find some of those couples in your own neighborhood.

My point in mentioning the longevity of coupledom is that I think I have seen the word ‘marriage’ get such a bad rap in so many ways for so many years.

I now think it’s worth mentioning that, in spite of it all, it’s a good way to go for people that are devoted to making it successful.

I, for one, think these people should be given special accolades. Specifically, for the reason that they didn’t let anyone or anything come in the way of their ‘living happily ever after’ for many years.

Happy 66th Anniversary Mom and Dad.