influence of american culture on marriage

Going to the mall has always been a bittersweet endeavor for me, being that my attention span is that of a 2-year old child and I (Devin) have borderline OCD tendencies.

In other words, I’m easily distracted by the people, sales signs, lights, noises, colors, etc., and I notice every article of clothing or product that is crooked or out of place. Needless to say, every so often, I find it in me to muster up enough courage to defy this retail vexation. As I was meandering around the mall the other day, I walked by a store whose name drew in my eyes. It was called Forever Flawless.
My reaction to the name was that of temporary interest and an unrealistic hope. I thought to myself, “I would sure love to be forever flawless,” as I know many others would. It was in that instant that I realized I had become something that I often vocalize about despising; I had become a sucker to the sales pitch. As I walked away, I began to analyze these thoughts with rationalization and correction. It was quite humorous now thinking back.

As continued my trek, a song came on the speakers that resonated with me like a hot cup of tea that had honey and cinnamon. The monotonous chorus kept repeating the line, “loving you is easy.” Initially, the cite seemed like a charming gesture but the more I sang it to myself, I found myself thinking, “something’s missing.”

I don’t know about you but when I examine marriage in light of our American Culture, I find myself coming back to this same place. I feel like we have the cup, the tea, some sweetener, some vanilla and cinnamon, it seems almost perfect but alas, there is always something missing.

Just reflect on the context of nearly every “love/romance” film ever made known to man. There is an established interest, then comes a conflict, then a gradual separation of the bond, then a pursuit, and then the paramount of resolution is “happily ever after,” but what about after that? What about the grey and mundane times post-happily ever after. Or what about the trials and triumphs? See, there is always something left missing.

I realized this is what I had been in conflict with when I came across that sign and that song. On the surface, it looks and sounds nice but if that’s where the story ends, how many people are being misled in their daily lives and relationships based off of these ways of thinking? So many women live trying to attain a state of “forever flawlessness.” They’re convinced that no man could possibly be captivated by them with their flaws. Our Culture silently exudes a message and expectation of physical perfection, so as to create an obsessive dependence upon product as a means to attain this stature.

There’s no greater danger to a marriage than the ideology that your marriage will be anything but imperfect. I can’t help but ponder on what marriages would look like if the American Culture acknowledged imperfection as beauty instead of something damaged.

What about the fallacy that lies in the ever-catchy line of “loving you is easy?” Now I was conflicted about how I felt towards this one for quite a bit because it’s overall package sounds attractive, but when you stop to dissect the context a little further, it’s easy to see how misleading this pose could be. I will be the first to admit, marriage is not a breeze in any way. Rewarding, but not easy. That’s the beauty of it.

It’s easy to love my wife when times are good, when there’s money in the bank, when we have everything we need and want, but what about the other times that culture tends to neglect? What about when there’s illness, when there’s less money, when there’s stress, disagreement, apathy, tragedy? Those times require more than “easy love,” they require intentional and faithful commitment. Commitment to push through any and all circumstances despite their expiration date.

influence of american culture on marriage

All of these subliminal messages from the American Culture about relationships had me reflecting on myself and questioning where I get my marital expectations from. I believe this to be a very important and defining question for you to answer in your own marriage so I leave you with the open ended question:

Where do you derive what you believe about marriage from? I challenge you to discuss this with your spouse and formulate your answer together.