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Why do people get married when . . .

August 28, 2008

Being happily single (still) I am neutral when it comes to marriage but I’d like some opinions.

A couple of years ago an accountant friend of mine chatted about ROI (return on investment) in marriage. He reckons in his case, he’s looking at a 4-to-1 adjusted return. I went, “Uh….” Trust an accountant to say something like that about marriage. But he did say something that made sense to me.

Most people, especially the girls, have a fixed view about marriage, usually the happy-ever-after kind. Just going by pure observation – am trying my best not to be judgemental here – there seems to be a pattern.

  • Wants companionship but hardly talks to each other after 10 years
  • Wants love but files for divorce after 15 years.
  • Wants to do the responsible thing but still acts irresponsibly after marriage, like having flings
  • Wants to have kids but kids disown them after a few fights.
  • Wants an heir for the family business but the kid wants to run away and join a rock band.
  • Wants to marry into money but didn’t know the hidden debts and disputes that come with the money.
  • Wants to be taken care of when old but the kids dump them in an old folks home.

Sorry if it sounds kinda negative but I’m just writing down what my friend and I see between intention and result. So my question is, if marriage was such a great thing and it must be since everyone’s doing it, then why do they end up the same way? If its common knowledge that the chances of achieving something – whatever one’s goal is in getting married – is slim to none, then why do people keep doing it?

Now do you see why I am confused? 🙂

16 Comments leave one →
  1. angeles permalink
    August 28, 2008 10:19 am

    objection! objection!

    no fair liddat… focus on girls only… 😛

  2. August 28, 2008 10:40 am

    Marriage is like Life. Everyday you take risks whether you realize it or not. Same for marriage, ppl just taking risks and hoping perhaps it will end happily ever after:)

  3. Damien permalink*
    August 28, 2008 12:02 pm

    @angeles, oops I should have said that the list applies to both men and women. My bad. I spent months trying to calm down a friend whose wife has decided to run off with another man. These things can happen to anyone.

    @iris, I guess you’re right. Good that you take it positively. 🙂

  4. LC Teh permalink
    August 28, 2008 12:05 pm

    Go in only when you have got the concept right. It’s not a business deal, it’s not husbandry, it’s not free sex, entertainment, house-keeping, housing, financing etc…

    It’s not what you want or what you get out of it, but what both of you believe what the future would ideally be, so that you can work towards it. How’s that for a start?

  5. August 28, 2008 2:37 pm

    But what about staying single till you are old?
    Grow old without companionship, no one to share your life with. No one is there for you when you face tough life challenged or pleasures. Admiring others who have happy family and wish to have someone too.
    I know there are other family members (like parents and siblings) and friends as well. But they will be engrossed with their own family and stuffs too. They wont be with you all the time like your own family. There is of course pros and cons in getting married or staying single. Albeit all your doubts, I think many still want to have their very own family..

  6. August 28, 2008 4:57 pm

    why make life so difficult….
    when feel sad/happy,we just want some1 to be there to share with us
    the outcome is how we want it to happen.

  7. stella permalink
    August 28, 2008 8:21 pm

    Dsmien, You are such a funny guy. He,he,he,he. Very analytical. Anyway, everything happens has a reason. I don’t know how to explain this. Not good in words and english. But i will try…

    I think in physical aspect, you already analyse most of it and as mention by the commentor above. But in spiritual aspect, relationship between couples, husband and wife whether happy, sad, quarrel, divorce, husband/wife run away, parent and children …. All are due to karma. Just to share some knowledge (what my Master has said)…….as shown below:


    Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
    San Paolo, Brazil, June 18, 1989
    (Originally in English)

    Q: How does one understand the karma of a couple?

    M: If the couple is in harmony, then they have a good karma. If the couple is in strife every day, then you know what kind of karma that is. It is easy to understand, no? If it’s in harmony, then be happy. If it’s not in harmony, then try to adjust and be tolerant to avoid next time coming back again as a very undesirable karmic couple.

    Tolstoy had a very terrible wife. You know Leo Tolstoy of “War and Peace”? He had a terrible wife, so it is told. Every day she nagged, cursed, scolded, and even beat him and threw him out sometimes. One day, his friend couldn’t bear it any longer, so he asked Tolstoy, “Why don’t you kick that devil out of your house and then you’ll have peace?” Tolstoy said, “Shhhhh! Don’t talk so loud. Last life, I did that already. Therefore, it got worse this time. I don’t dare to do it.”

    The more you struggle, the worse the situation becomes. So just accept anything as given by God, try to get through it, and train yourself in patience, tolerance, and loving thy enemy. Even as wise a man as Tolstoy couldn’t deal with his terrible wife, so we ordinary beings had better keep silent. Silence!

    So this is just one of the example.

  8. stella permalink
    August 28, 2008 8:24 pm

    sorry spell wrongly your name.

  9. Damien permalink*
    August 29, 2008 8:43 am

    @lc, would that work for arranged marriages though. I may be wrong but I have a suspicion that arranged marriages last longer (though are not necessarily happier) than free-ranging ones.

    @cbenc12, you’re right of course. I’m not anti-marriage, just trying to figure out why so many of them start off well and turn sour.

    @mspretty, the number of troubled marriages says many of their dreams didn’t happen. Did they not want it bad enough? That was my question.

    @stella, perhaps one reason why monks take an oath of celibacy is to avoid this kind of karma, ha ha. If a person does one thing (good or bad), it will come back sooner or later. Isaac newton says it well, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” And don’t worry about misspelling my name 🙂

  10. LC Teh permalink
    August 29, 2008 5:59 pm

    Arranged marriages appear to last longer because they were mostly made during our earlier generations when filial piety was more important than individuality. Today personal liberty is the trend. Family and marriage seems to have taken a backseat. That’s perhaps why ‘marriages and divorces’ is painted on the same signboard. The same attorney can arrange for both services as needed.
    They keep getting hitched because it is expected of everyone in the human race. But because of abundance of choices and liberty, getting ditched is just as easy.

  11. Damien permalink*
    September 1, 2008 8:40 am

    A tough choice between a loveless but lasting marriage and an exciting flash-in-the-pan affair like Britney. But the latter is good business for hitch-and-ditch lawyers though. 🙂

  12. September 1, 2008 9:49 am

    Marriage is such a huge responsibility especially with kids. It’s a lifetime commitment and trust. And endless worries… Unless I get blind with attachment and desire, it’s something I believe is not very desirable…

  13. Damien permalink*
    September 1, 2008 1:34 pm

    Yeah, that’s why many people on a spiritual path choose not to get married, like monks and ascetics. 🙂

  14. September 2, 2008 9:48 am

    Life offers each person its choices no matter how limited. Every choice you make has to be considered a venture, and every venture has its success or failure outcome. The amount of preparation for its success you put in will determine the results you get. And as Mr Dolittle (My Fair Lady) said, “Wih a little bit o luck”…

    It’s your happiness that matters most of all. That’s what I think. Whatever the choice you make, I can only wish you, lots of luck.

  15. Damien permalink*
    September 2, 2008 9:40 pm

    True. Its the shifting sands scenario again. One of those things that can start off so right and end up so wrong. We can only prepare for the knowables. For the unknowables, its like playing mah jong. You win some you lose some.

  16. tinytapir permalink
    September 18, 2008 2:34 pm

    Marriages fail because of the lack of compromise on both parties. Especially nowadays where the culture is ‘blame others’ and not ‘blame oneself’ , unless the other person is perfect in every way, how can a marriage survive? Usually both persons go in expecting everything to turn out rosy, so when something goes wrong, or there’s disagreements, it can never be worked out.

    Imagine 2 hard rocks hitting at each other. Somewhat like that.

    In the past when divorce was very much frowned upon or the circle of people one met was much smaller, it was just that you had to slog through the problems because breaking up was just beyond considering. Over the years there can be fond familiarity between two people who choose to fight the world with the other person rather than fight each other.

    Marriage can be a good thing, but it takes a lot of work, discipline and commitment before there’s a payoff – just like with everything in life. People mistake that just because it’s easy to fall in love, that love should always be easy.

    It’s easy to stay single and protect oneself from being emotionally hurt by marriage and children. But you can’t get great rewards without risk.

    Funny how a marriage starts off with “I’ll do anything for you” can end up with “Don’t touch me.” Somewhere down the line attitudes change, from being tolerant towards differences to being intolerant. I wonder if its the inability to handle change and the constant living in the past (wishing things were like the first day of marriage) that makes it hard. – d

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