I was reading a friend's blog recently, and happened upon her post reflecting on marriage, particularly that of her parents. She wrote of how she resonated with an episode of Brothers & Sisters where Kitty was being questioned by her mom about her reluctance to marry her fiance. Kitty's response:
Kitty: "The problem? It doesn't feel like you and dad. I guess they don't make them like that anymore."
This was not the first time I've heard comments like this and I admit that I've wondered similar things. But the longer I've been married, the more I can't believe that there was anything more special about our parents generation, or grand-parents generation. We view their marriage 20 or 30 or 40 years down the road...which means that 20 or 30 or 40 years of effort has been put towards cultivating the love, respect, honor, romance, connection etc., that we so often admire in their relationships. We expect that our dating relationships will have the same outcomes, reactions or connections and are disappointed when we find otherwise. But maybe we are simply premature, and need to have the long-haul in mind. For if we, too, put 20 or 30 or 40 years of effort into a relationship, perhaps we would have similar relationships to that of our parents or grand-parents (or whomever we happen to admire). And with that in mind, it's only natural that persons should emphasize one's character (humility, commitment, openness to change, etc.) as the starting point for a future partner...for its the stuff that good marriages seem to be built on. It's cliche to call attention to the fact that big boobs or nice legs only (naturally) last for a time, but I can't lose the opportunity to point it out again. I, myself, do not possess the "hot factor", or so I've been told. But I do possess commitment to my spouse, no matter how much he pisses me off. And I do possess an openness to continue working on my own weaknesses. And I do have enough humility to realize that sometimes it is my own actions which prevent us from moving forward. And I do possess the desire to work at making love work. And I think that's hot. (I want to give a 'shout out' to my hot husband, because he too, has these things, and has made me feel 'hot' for having them).
I think that what Kitty says is more of a reflection on our culture...our desire for near perfection and our willingness to call it quits when the going gets tough. Good relationships - good love - takes time to build. We should be more patient with ourselves and our partner.