Marriage: Beyond The '24/7 Party'

Marriage is meant to last after the party fades.
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Last month, published a column by comedian-turned-marriage apologist Steven Crowder, who bravely set out to convince all bachelors that it's time to get married. Crowder, a newlywed himself, combats America's declining marriage rate (which is at an all-time low of 48 percent) with his top reasons to get hitched. The problem is this: Crowder's marriage-minded motives just won't stand the test of time, and neither will the wedding vows of anyone deluded enough to buy into his faulty reasoning.

Crowder's thesis is that marriage is fun. To prove this point, he throws in circumstantial evidence about how married people are richer, have A LOT MORE SEX (capitalization his) and aren't such "pathetic sloths." Yikes.

Sure, Crowder is a comedian, and comedians hyperbolize. But even taken lightly, these hedonistic, me-focused reasons to get married are exactly why divorce is on the rise, and so many young people want no part of the altar.

Crowder is right about one thing -- marriage is fun. But it's not always the "24/7 sleepover party" he suggests, and anyone who expects it to be will probably find themselves in the market for an attorney in less than a year.

The true value of marriage, to me, is the exact opposite of the reasons outlined in Crowder's column. Marriage is meant to last after the party fades. It means facing all things together -- both the good and bad. When your partner wakes up with the norovirus in the midst of a "24/7 sleepover party," marriage means waiting outside the bathroom door. Or when he feels like a "pathetic sloth," contrary to Crowder's prediction, marriage is having the patience and desire to face his issues together.

This doesn't mean that marriage should be a free-for-all opportunity to expose your worst self or rely completely on your partner. It's horrifyingly easy to get so comfortable that you forget your partner needs supporting, too. I once heard an analogy that a successful marriage is like two boards leaning on one another. If one board leans too hard, the other will fall over. It's a balancing act. And that balancing act can be scary. Who knows what he'll be like in 30 years? Who knows what I'll look like in five years? It's a risk, but it's worth it.

Crowder is right -- marriage gets a bad rap in today's society. But I think it's because we married people have done a bad job at painting a realistic portrait of marriage -- the negatives, the positives and the joy it brings. Parents don't squabble in front of their kids, so when kids grow up and get married, the slightest disagreement seems unnatural and unnecessarily troubling. Couples fall into the stereotypes such as the lazy husband and demanding wife -- cultural norms that, if taken seriously, can erode a relationship. And then people like Crowder trumpet marriage as a flippant decision to better oneself, when it's equally about the other person.

We let Kim Kardashian dictate the value of marriage. Or we buy into the idea that it's either a never-ending love-fest or more boring than C-SPAN, instead of dwelling on its true value as a safe haven for two people to grow and experience life together.

Marriage is so much more than sex, sandwiches and sleepovers.