Monday, January 24, 2011

"I guess they don't make them like that anymore"

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.


  1. i've struggled with this too with my partner and have also come to the same conclusion that whatever frustrations i might feel about it not being 'right' is reflective of our culture and expectations set up by tv/movies/literature rather than pure reality. there's a recent book that came out titled 'everyone marries the wrong person' that i'm interested in reading, that seems to go this same route.

    and kitty's assertion: 'they don't make them like they used to' doesn't really jive with william's infidelity, does it?

    thanks for entering the blog world! welcome!

  2. Hi Jayme,
    Thanks for your welcome into the blog world. Your comment took me by surprise and if I am honest - it made my day! (I didn't realize someone besides my husband would be reading this already!)

    I was also thinking of William's infidelity - but perhaps we, as the viewers, are not supposed to remember? Or, come to the conclusion that it didn't affect Kitty's mom/family for the worse? Not a conclusion I could make in the "real world".

    Thanks for the book mention - I'll check it out!

  3. really good points here, glory. i think you've pointed out the real struggle. it is hard not to look ahead - to focus on what you can see right now. because sometimes that seems a bit superficial. is it enough to sustain you? i think the not knowing is what is scariest. you wish you had the assurance and you KNOW your parents didn't either, but it sure feels like they did.

    and then there is the pressure you put on yourself to "get it right" like your parents did. if they could do it - you should be able to also. and so you look for that perfection, right from the beginning. and maybe it isn't supposed to exist yet, maybe you have to work at it, but that's a scary thing to put faith in....

  4. Julia
    Your comments are profound. I read them twice.

    You are absolutely right. It is hard not to look ahead and want the future to be the present. And it's scary to put faith in someone else...and yourself.

    And the comfort that commitment can bring will only come when commitment has the chance to grows its feet - which takes time - and experiences where you or a partner really truly show your dark side and are still loved by the other.

    Scary shitsu.