My goal with these brief posts is to be fun, informative and in touch.
Taylor Mason Beat

MarriageMicrophone

This month I've been booked by a group that serves as counselors and supporters of marriage. Why me? Well, I've been married for 27 years to my first wife. Some would say I've been married for (almost) a long time. Whatever. It works. That statement is politically incorrect because there are many people who are angered by factual accounts of people who made a commitment and are living happily. I don't care. It's time to point out the obvious, and who better than I?

Don't get me wrong. This is not a feel-good newsletter extolling the virtues of finding a "soul mate" and living in perfect harmony and bliss day-after-day. I'm far from perfect. I leave much to be desired in the ways of romance and heartfelt devotion to my spouse. When it comes to partners I could be described in home improvement terms: I'm a "fixer upper." I do, however, love my wife, I'm loyal and dedicated to the life we decided to share together in matrimony since the summer of 1986. We have been a couple since '83, working together, raising a family, setting and attaining (some) goals together and I can safely say it's the best part of my life.

There have been issues, of course. I'm a bottom-feeder comedian with too much ambition for someone living in New Jersey. We have two children. We have all the trappings that come with the territory: bills, timing problems, personal peccadilloes, etc, etc, etc. Great example of a "problem:" I tried to assemble an IKEA wardrobe/entertainment center one time, and it nearly ended in divorce. If IKEA wants to make big money, forget the stupid horse meat burgers and install a marriage counseling office on-site at every location.

Long ago, traveling on a bus with a band that seems a lifetime away, a singer told me, "I'm getting divorced. I don't love him any more." I almost jumped down the girl's throat. "WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?" I shouted, quoting Tina Turner (whom I also toured with, but that's another story).

This is one of the hypocritical notions that come with the institution. Lifelong love is a charming (if not ambitious) notion, and it's certainly desirable. Love is an essential element in a marriage, no doubt. But the real reasons for marriage, in the view of social policy (yeah, I said it) are as follows:

  • domesticating men (we're scoundrels - not that women aren't - but if you want to take the word FAMILY seriously, in any way, then a man has to live by a certain code. I know that sounds old-fashioned. It's not. It's simply a fact)
  • providing reliable care-givers to children and one another. Here is a good way to outrage a certain segment of society: the biggest problem teachers face is the ever-increasing number of children who have parents that aren't together, aren't helping the kids at home with homework and simple tasks like learning to read, and parents who don't care or ignore what happens at school. That breakdown extends to the people who created the child and their lack of love for one another. That's another fact. Acknowledge and move on.
  • children need two parents. For lots of reasons. Mutual love for one another and for children; discipline; compassion; role models; different points of view and different approaches to problem-solving within the family dynamic; the ability to agree to disagree and different skill sets that work together in the household for the good of the family. Yes, there are successful single parents. Sincere congrats to those of you who make single parenthood work, and Godspeed to you and yours.

I'll go a step further. Marriage is a privilege. It's not something so perfect and holy and  good where all else is bad, it's just better (on average) than other ways of living. It isn't mandatory. It isn't superior. It IS better. It's not pie-in-the-sky. In fact, if you're looking for a pie in the sky, be prepared for it to hit you in the face.

A couple of notes: I've come to discover that, in most cases, the longer the wedding toast, the shorter the marriage.

At worst marriage is there so that when you come home after being fired from a job, or rejected from a career work opportunity, someone is there to persuade you not to go back and set FoxNews Studios on fire (oops... too much information).

And I could have been a country singer, but I don't have a truck, I'm drug-and-alcohol-free, and I have a stable marriage.

Thanks for reading!

Taylor

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