The Inconvenience of Marriage


My wife and I like to cuddle up at home and indulge in the occasional Rom-Com after the kids have gone to bed. We did this Saturday night with a movie I won’t name because I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, even indirectly. Anyway, like most Rom-Coms of late, I found the depiction of two married couples to be more than a bit offensive.

Why?

Because of how they decided to portray the families, and in particular, each couple. One of the couples had two kids (ages 4 and a newborn). The wife was constantly yelling and cursing at the husband, while the husband acted like a crass, apathetic fool with no understanding of social etiquette. Their 4-year-old was literally running around the room screaming like he was tripped out on drugs and the baby was somewhere off in the distance, crying and inconsolable.

The second couple had a baby that looked to be about 8 or 9 months old. They were insulting each other at every opportunity and it was more than obvious that resentment had built up in each of them to the point that they just didn’t care anymore if they hurt each others feelings in public.

Now, I’m sure there are couples that behave this way. That’s not what was offensive. What was offensive was the fact that they used these couples to illustrate what it meant to be married with kids as if this was the standard makeup of today’s family. It was the writer’s commentary on the torture of parenting and how it ruins otherwise good relationship, and was used in direct contrast to a couple of their single friends who watched these two couples implode and decided that it was better to have kids without the “inconvenience of marriage”.

This was the foundation of the movie plot!

I had to pause the movie to voice my frustration at what has become an oft-used plot device of making marriage and parenting seem like punishment for falling in love. I couldn’t understand why destructive, unhealthy marriages have proliferated among what are supposed to be ROMANTIC COMEDIES. I saw nothing romantic or funny about this.

My wife, the kind soul that she is, took my hand and attempted to soothe my frustration by explaining to me that the underlying message is that marriages are for more likely to succeed when the two people involved are best friends and not just lovers.

I accepted this explanation, albeit grumpily. I still think it’s in poor taste to bash marriage and parenting. As if we don’t have enough of that POV regularly reinforced by tabloids and other “reality” media. :-/

/rant

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Categories: commentary, family, marriage, opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “The Inconvenience of Marriage

  1. it took me a few seconds to figure out what a rom com was. lol. can’t go wrong with Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally!

    • Reilly

      Same here! I was like rom-com…. *5 minutes later* *LIGHT BULB!* Lol, glad I’m not the only one

    • Yeah, those are actually two of my favorites! 🙂 But those types of movies, with regular people flirting in a healthy way and exchanging witty dialog, are rare in comparison to the current crop of Rom-Coms.

  2. I agree with you Riis. Marriage is a wonderful thing if you have found the right person. It’s sad how these celebrities seem to sometimes go through them willy nilly like it’s a game or something. Oh and that image you have in the blog of the guy and girl apparently yelling at each other, I have to say that guys chin is frighteningly large.

  3. I too think it’s frustrating, mainly because of the expectations that film puts on relationship. Whether or not we actively acknowledge it, viewing the same situations over and over again gives us some sense of reality. Men and women act this way and we come to expect that in our own lives, I think, and that can be damaging. I know that I developed certain expectations about relationships (not that I actively pursued, but they’re there) from the media around me.

    • You’re absolutely right. I wonder how many people have unrealistic expectations because they’ve been fed a steady diet of dysfunction through TV, movies and magazine articles. It’s kind of frightening!

  4. I guess I don’t understand, it was a movie…a romantic comedy at that. This is mostly in response to Coffeeandconfab’s comment. People who based their lives on what they see in movies, television, and in the lives of others around them are bound to be disappointed and have unrealistic expectations about everything. I don’t understand the concept of basing your decisions on anything but your own experiences.

    With that said, I don’t like romantic comedies anyway. I’d rather watch paint dry.

    • Granted, it WAS just a movie. I need to remember that. And the fact that movies tend to exaggerate for effect. I do think there is some truth to people being greatly influenced by what they read and watch.

  5. I know what movie you’re talking about! I remember feeling the same way about the movie. I sometimes wonder at the things our society is choosing to highlight and make our collective “reality.”

  6. bohemianstargirl

    I can’t stand most rom coms. After a while they all start seeming like the same movie anyway, about the same relationship, with the same message.

  7. Deana

    Trying to squeeze the extreme dimensions of any real romantic relationship into 2ish hours of a movie is like me trying to get back into my “when I was 20” jeans after two kids and 23 more years: Ill-fitting, frustrating, and just plain unrealistic. It would be a rare day indeed, when I may actually fit back into said jeans, and it’s a rare movie as well, that can wrap itself around its viewers and make them feel cozy and comfortable (and elated!); like an old, familiar pair of Levis.

  8. How can there be no actual romance in a romantic comedy? Granted, I haven’t been watching many in recent years, but that just sounds more like a plain comedy. Is it a romantic comedy because its demographic is for date-night couples?

  9. “What was offensive was the fact that they used these couples to illustrate what it meant to be married with kids as if this was the standard makeup of today’s family.”

    Nail on the head. Movies like that I avoid with all effort. There is always room for bitter cynicism in fiction, but why it would be packaged as a “romantic comedy” is a mystery.

  10. I agree. It’s much too common both in movies and in real life to treat children like their existence is a terrible imposition and one’s spouse as a laggard coworker.

  11. Your wife is a wise woman to see the fact that couples work better when they’re friends and are on the same team. I’d have to agree that the recently romantic comedies are anything but. As another reader mentioned, “Sleepless in Seattle” is one of my favorites, as we as “You’ve Got Mail.” They don’t make them like they used to! We do realize that these are movies, to entertain, but aren’t good illustrations of what a successful marriage is.

  12. I think I saw that movie – alhough there are many like that. It seems to be trend. I hate them too, maybe not for exactly the same reason. See, I find marriage hard, and sometimes my marriage is like that where I think there’s too much yelling, either at the kids or each other. It doens’t always turn out to have the dynamic I envisioned, and I can’t unilaterally fix it. If I were to crticize that movie, the authors may even defend it based on the fact that it’s “realistic”. They might say that they are just depicting life. The problem I have with it is that I can’t learn anything from that. I don’t need you to reinforce bad habits. I don’t need to see an example of failure. I want to learn something from a movie that I don’t know. It has long been my gripe about movies like that, that I would like to see an example of couples solving problems. I want to know how to do that. I have no use for a comedy that isn’t funny, that can’t teach me anything, and in which I dont like any of the characters because they’re all wrong.

  13. I might add, that in Hollywood there might be a shortage of people who know how to a marriage that lasts. They write what they know, right?

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