To continue this thread, I was agog last month when I opened my Atlantic and saw Sandra Tsing Loh's rant about the dissolution of her marriage, and the institution in general. Even better, there's a video on the mag's site of her with all her stuff in a 10x10 U-haul, packed and labelled by her (ex?) husband. You don't often get to see a public figure dish to this degree, lemme tell you.
Anyway, to give you the ten-cent version, she was unfaithful, but she doesn't really see it as her fault. To her point of view, marriage is hard; it lasts way too long these days, as life expectancy has increased; married people don't have sex; women tend to get the short end of the stick, having jobs and still under the gun to be good homemakers. She suggests that the love that got folks into this mess in the first place is really, really hard to keep hot, as CityMom suggests, or to rekindle when it's gone. So why even try in the first place?
There are not a lot of other options, though she posits a few interesting scenarios:
As far as the children are concerned, how about the tribal approach (a natural, according to both primate and human evolution)? Let children between the ages of 1 and 5 be raised in a household of mothers and their female kin. Let the men/husbands/boyfriends come in once or twice a week to build shelves, prepare that bouillabaisse, or provide sex...
Let the Type A moms obsessively work, write checks, and forget to feed the dog. Let the dads then, if they wish, kick out those sloppy working mothers and run effective households, hiring the appropriate staff, if need be. To a certain extent, men today may have more clarity about what it takes to raise children in the modern age. They don’t, for instance, have today’s working mother’s ambivalence and emotional stickiness.
I agree -- marriage is a bizarre endeavor these days. I say it can't succeed without a tremendous amount of humor, and humanity, and friendship, all of which were perhaps far gone in Loh's union, otherwise she wouldn't be living out of a U-haul. Who said it's going to be a hot romance all the time? Sometimes it really is just all about the kids. Then, when you can catch a breath, you get it on again, assuming you have still kept some respect and kindness going for each other. There are things that come out of left field, insurmountable things; I get that. But you've got to cover your bases to even have a chance.
It's challenging and interesting and even a little kinky, every marriage its own experiment. Maybe brutal, yes, but the payoff can be wondrous, for us and for the kids. Despite the odds, it's still worth a try, dang it.