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Marriage

Hollywood is Ruining Marriage

Most savvy people (or at least those with a lick of common sense) know that the entertainment industry has ruined a number of virtuous things. Script writers and directors have used their skill and trade to elevate our society’s expectations for even the simplest of pleasures, all while knowing full well that these expectations can never be fulfilled.

When a fictional couple is walking in a New York park on a frosty winter’s evening nonchalantly licking an ice-cream cone and droning on about their mythical relationship, the viewer (or idiot) sitting in the audience looks at this long camera shot and says to herself (because no man is thinking this way, I guarantee it) “Wow! I wish I were in New York eating vanilla ice-cream with a man that is so smitten with me that he can’t tell that his nuts are about to experience frost bite. I want to do THAT.”

This would be a good time to inform a few people of the obvious: Ladies, there is no man who is desperate enough for your affections that he’s willing to brave the whipping winds of New York city in order to procure them. That’s a fantasy, one not so dissimilar to the aforementioned ice-cream cone. Have you ever noticed how those things fail to decrease in size, no matter how long the consumption process has taken?

I’m losing myself in a tirade.

One of the things that Hollywood has ruined, and perhaps the only one with the most far reaching consequences, is the American marriage. I tell you, people walk into marriages today thinking that every day is going to be a walk in a park…a New York City park! Anyone who has been married for more than 73 days will tell you that this is not the case. Life has to go on, and it’s not all rose petals.

I heard the most asinine story yesterday from my very good friend, the Five Time Panther Mom. She has a friend who has been unofficially dating the same man for the last 6 or so years. They do everything together. He’s constantly buying her things. He’s met her parents and they love him, and vice versa. He opens doors when they go out and pays for dinner. This woman is unsatisfied with any of this.

“What’d you say?” I queried, looking for confirmation on what I thought I heard.

“She said that he doesn’t know how to romance her,” Panther Mom reiterated. “She said he has never asked her out on a date. What does he have to ask her out for? They’re already out!”

“And he pays for everything?”

I was incredulous.

“Girl, yes. But she’s upset because he doesn’t send her flowers at work and show ‘romantic gestures’ like that. She wants someone to school him on it.”

Oh really? You see how Hollywood has messed this woman’s mind up?! Let me tell you what happens when your man is overly focused on romancing you, and the unintended consequences that focus brings.

*****

It was a terrible day at work. Your manager has been riding you about the same TPS reports that you’ve submitted 12 times, but she never seems to get in her inbox. You know that when you get home, you have to cook dinner, do homework with the kids, and handle any fires that come your way. Dagonnit! If only your husband was more romantic! You could use some romance, and you’ve told him so repeatedly. With a scowl on your face, you barge into your house and are immediately confronted with an unexpected sight. There are rose petals on the floor and they lead directly to the bathroom.

“Come and sit down in the bath tub, hun,” says your husband. “I know you’ve been having a rough work week and I wanted to do something special for you. I came home early from work to draw you a bath.”

Amazed, you glory in his attentions and in the pomegranate scented water surrounding you.

“Don’t you worry about a thing,” he says soothingly. “I’ll take care of the kids, the dog, the homework…all you have to do is relax.”

And so you do.

The next day when you come home, there are rose petals on the floor leading to the bathroom and bedroom. The same exercise is repeated for the next two weeks, by which point the carpet is stained with the remnants of crushed petals where everyone in your household has pulverized them with their feet. Your husband has had to leave work consistently early in order to get home and make dinner and draw your bath water. He wants it to be warm when you’ve walked in the house. He has also been making an extra effort to see you more, since both your jobs are so demanding and work hours keep you apart. He’s driven 20 miles each way to come have lunch with you 3 times a week for the last 3 weeks. You are so pleased by the effort and so spellbound by the romance of it all that you fail to see the obvious coming.

It is now week four and once again your floor is smeared with both wilted and fresh roses. You feel as though you’ve been romanced sufficiently and tell your husband as much that day.

“I think we need to get someone in here to steam the carpet,” you suggest.

“No, no,” he says quickly. “I can do it. It will save us money.”

“Well when are you going to have time to do it?” you ask, sipping your very hot coffee that you’ve just poured.

“I have all the time in the world. I was fired this morning.”

“Wh-what?!?” you sputter, burning yourself with scolding liquid.

“Ohhh…baby. Be careful,” whispers your husband. “Yeah! I had to leave work early so often to get home and make sure everything was perfect that I ended up spending more hours on the road than at my desk. Coupled with the 3 hour lunch breaks I was taking 2-3 times a week…it was grounds for dismissal.”

Bewildered, you ask your spouse what your family is going to do.

“I suspect you’ll have to be the main breadwinner for a while. At least until I get a job,” he mulls. “But in this economy, who knows how long that will take.”

You whimper.

“But babe! Don’t you worry,” he smiles. “At least you’ll have a hot bath at the end of the night – every night – when you get home from work. No more rose petals though. We can’t afford rose petals. How do you feel about marigolds?”

*****

See? Unintended consequences. Now look atcha. You look CRAZY.

If the one you’re with is being genuinely nice to you, can you PLEASE make the effort to appreciate it? After all, nothing is more romantic than unpretentious appreciation.

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