Successful marital partners, support each other, and do not tolerate, responsibly accept the fact that adultery happens at least once in a lifetime, and with good luck, marriage can last for more than a few decades, says Bruno Šimleša
Each time his mobile phone would ring in the office, and in the specially selected ringtone, my witty colleague would look at the screen, cease each shape of communication and seriously say: “Silence! It’s my home dragon”, after which he would theatrically answer, “ yes, dear”. Right there, he defined it perfectly, each man has a home dragon next to him, more or less dangerous, spitting fire and enjoying her taming skills. Some man joke about it, while others skillfully avoid it while stories about how their freedom is limited by his evil wife circle behind his back. How does it look from the other side? Maybe @GEJSAA put is best on her Twitter account: “ You let a man eat, f…, don’t change channels when there’s sports on, don’t nag much, don’t ask where he is and when will he be back, fry stake and fries every day and you will live happily ever after” . These two humorous takes on marriage by the two sexes, are a good introduction to the story of marriage today, truths and lies, adventures and romances, misconceptions and facing the facts on what the millenials are up against. Answers to these and many other, hard marital questions, are given by Bruno Šimleša author of many books on psychology and spirituality, sociologist, talk show host, columnist, father of a nine-year-old, married for 11 years now.
How much does a hetero marriage today legally differ from a civil marriage when it originated? It seems that we have two versions of marital relationships today – the official one, for the public and the realistically crucial one for internal handling?
Many marriages seem completely different when looked at from outside and inside. Because realistically, when we look at classical behaviour, we discover that many couples don’t communicate, don’t agree on upbringing, there is a lot of adultery… In such marriages more and more people getting a divorce, while there are still those who think that divorce is a disgrace, or believe it’s inhumane to destroy a family, even if it already destroyed love, if it ever existed in those marriages. That’s how many “low quality” marriages survive.
This does not mean that monogamous relationships are not wanted or possible, just that they are a minority. Let’s be realistic most longterm relationships had at least one adultery incident…
The term loyal till the end sounds like a parody today? According to certain studies for example, 45 percent of man in the United Kingdom cheated on their wife at least once, while 21 percent of women did the same thing. I assume that the situation in our region isn’t much different.
You should be skeptical towards those numbers because even in anonymous questioners, many people avoid admitting indiscretions therefore I would advise two corrections. It seems to me that the number should e greater for both sexes, but also that there isn’t such a vast difference between men and women. I think that a double standard still exists with infidelity, when a man cheats he is “ just a man”, but when a woman cheats she is called a w…re and similar insulting names. I assume that this is why fewer women will admit to being in such a relationship. Therefore I believe that men and women cheat more, and that men don’t cheat that much more than women. The difference that still exists is that men are more prone to short adventures whereas women lean towards deeper romances.
Therefore, judging by my experience in therapy, as well as conversations with other therapists, the numbers are noticeably greater. This does not mean that monogamous relationships are not wanted or possible, just that they are a minority. Let’s be realistic most longterm relationships had at least one adultery incident.
There are more and more of those accepting new marital forms – women turning a blind eye to their husbands leading a double life with their mistresses, even when they discover that a child was born in such a relationship? Is that right? Is each shape of a mutual understanding of a marital relationship between two people an acceptable option?
Depends on who you’re asking. Of course that some religious institutions aren’t for such arrangements, because they consider marriage and family sacred. On the other hand everyone has the right to live as they wish. I believe that no one can be happy in such a marriage, but then again… those people choose how they live. And if someone chooses to pretend to be blind, they have the right to. But they will not be able to hide that emotional misery from their hart, therefore surely feeling sadness, failure…
Is acceptance of the fact that it’s almost impossible to spend decades with the same person the path to defining relationships?
I am not so skeptical and think that it’s possible to be happy with someone even for a couple of decades. It’s extremely hard, but possible. Firstly, we should choose a partner carefully, share the same main life beliefs and priorities, and then be lucky enough to develop in the same direction over the years. It’s all hard to satisfy, but possible, therefore I can’t agree with your premise on the matter.
What is the main motif for marriage today? Are posterity and money still on top of the list even though nowadays many women are financially independent, and due to sperm banks man are no longer necessary in order to create a new life?
For some entering a marriage is truly sacred, but the number of those people grows smaller. But they enter a union in which they feel closer to God and to each other and believe that it’s the only correct way to conceive a family. To me it seems that marriage isn’t necessary to create a happy family, but that it’s key to have a relationship with enough understanding, respect, clear communication… It’s less important how a family looks from the outside and whether they formalized their relationship. It’s key that they breathe inside!
Contrary to popular belief which comforts those professional men tamers – there are men who don’t need to be raised! Each mature woman can find a mature man
Do women have the same motive as men?
Of course that it doesn’t make sense to generalize, but there are still motives that women or men are more prone to. In sync with the theory of evolution, women still tend to look for a protector, pater familias. As our social roles change and women grow stronger and more independent, this motive will grow weaker, but is still present in our region. A bit less in urban than in rural environments. Then again, there are many men looking for a trophy and not a life partner. Of course, the more mature someone is, he will have a better motive to marry, which is the need for a fulfilling life in two.
Countless jokes are made about women putting the marital noose around a mans neck, and when it happens take serious control over his life. Would you agree with that?
There are too many couples that consider the noose a normal life state. Women often choose men that need to be tamed or raised. But damn it, you are not their mommy! If you want to nurture someone, consider a child. We should choose partners, which don’t need to be brought up in order for us to be happy with them. And yes, on the contrary to popular belief, which comforts those professional men tamers – there are men who don’t need to be raised! Each mature woman can find a mature man!
Millenials will set the rules. They will care less about what others expect
Some linguists claim that the word wife comes from the Praindouropean form of the word weip which means to turn, twist, wrap. Which confirms that the purpose of male and female relationships was always the same, no matter the civilizational degree of development.
I have to admit not being familiar with that word, but honestly, even when it precisely depicts the marital union, it definitely does not refer to modern marriage. In it, because women are more and more equal, independent and powerful, we don’t have to follow such archaic depictions of marital roles. Today, we can have two equal partners who share their responsibilities and have the same roles inside the relationship.
How do millenials feel about marriage? What will they never allow?
They will set their own rules. They will care less about what society expects from them. It’s highly likely that many will expect too much because under the influence of Hollywoodization of love, it seems to them that relations have to be perfect in order to be good enough. There is also a possibility that their communication will weaken since they are so used to partial and shallow communication. There is also a possibility that they will be less self-reflexive, which is crucial for success in a marriage, because thinking from the perspective of what can be done in order to better something is important, and with so many such simulations and an incredible amount of information that todays generations have to process, they will probably pay less attention to their internal world. Which is where they loose as individuals, as well as future partners.
Future generations will care less whether their relationship is formalized. Only quality will matter
Homosexuals are leading the fight for legal marriage. Does that confirm that we always crave forbidden fruit?
I think that it’s more about having the possibility, having the same rights that we, hetero people, often take for granted. No matter the nation of these ideology warriors, the fact that gays can marry doesn’t influence traditional matrimony whatsoever. How will my marriage look and what meaning will it hold depends only on me and my wife, and not whether our neighbours are in a somewhat different marriage. Marriage is content not form!
What does a future perfect relationship look like in your opinion?
When it comes to content, the same as in the past – enough understanding, support, honestly, courage in exploring love and oneself as love. Only form will matter less. Future generations will care less whether their relationship is formalized. Only quality will matter.
There are more and more of those who don’t get formally divorced, live separately, and take care of the children by a mutual agreement. There are examples where after some time they even go on vacation together without children. Is that one form of acceptance of future models – we are together when it can be nice.
Some couple function better like that then when they were together. They often go on vacations with children and function as parents. In this way there are no unfulfilled expectations from one another, no tension, fights about such, daily pain and bitterness, and the children have a sense of a family. Of course, this situations isn’t ideal, but if they can’t be together as partners it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t act together and maturely as parents.
Then again this situation that you described suits some couples right away, it makes it easier to wee what they had, to create realistic expectations (not too big not too small) and can be much happier in a non formal relationship.
One more absurd is that in some societies (mostly American) increasing numbers of man are choosing sexy robots as their partners. Is there a fear that in some life age it will become a common occurrence in highly developed societies?
I think that this solution is only for a certain type of man. Most would want a real relationship, and are capable of creating one. It would be pretty tragic to degrade our love life to something like that, and to my happiness, definitely won’t happen, at least for most.
That which no one should overlook is belittling, insults, psychological and physical abuse…
What are some things that no one should overlook in a marriage?
This again depends on the couple. Someone can’t forgive dishonestly, some tolerate it. Often because they are dishonest themselves and need an alibi for future situations. Some can’t overlook adultery, then again, some couples can if for example no emotions were involved or if it was only one person and a stranger. Different couples have different criteria. Having the same criteria is important for a couple.
That which no one should overlook is belittling, insults, psychological and physical abuse… There is no excuse for such behavior. I understand that some people aren’t ready to leave such a relationship, but there are experts that can help them to get stronger, understand and feel that they are worth more and finally leave the relationship in which they are being mistreated. It’s sometimes hard, but will always pay off because no one deserves it.
If the question of inheritance could be settled in a different manner would there be fewer marriages?
I think that marriage isn’t a primarily economical union for most but a sacred one in which they build on intimacy. Therefore I don’t believe that a change in legal form of marriage will influence how common matrimony is.
I wouldn’t claim that couples in the past were more intimate, closer, more loving, but the relationships lasted for much longer
How do good wives and husbands of today act?
Finally an easy question!
They are mutually supportive, honest to each other, accept each other instead on tolerating, have enough that brings them together so they can accept that which divides them, they don’t agree on everything because they have two healthy heads on their shoulders which makes it impossible for only one person to keep saying: Yes, dear.
Our societies are still very traditional. What change would be the hardest?
I think that blurring of lines in marital roles, in societies in general is already hard for a lot of couples. I wouldn’t claim that couples in the past were more intimate, closer, more loving, but the relationships lasted for much longer. Roles of man and women were clearer, expectations were defined better, and realistically, less was expected from a relationship. Simply, expectations were lower, therefore it’s not surprising that many were happier with their relationships. Today, it’s common that children, even more grandchildren, are shocked by their parent’s relationships, especially their grandparent’s. And they wouldn’t settle for that. One example is male adultery. Before, they were tolerated “ because men are like that”, and today we know that they aren’t, the real ones at least. A boy that won’t close his zipper isn’t a man!
Many countries offer a nogender option. Since a couple months ago Canadians aren’t legally required to state their sex in their passports. Where does that lead?
This isn’t a common phenomenon. There always were and always will be people that don’t consider themselves either one of the sexes. There’s much talk on this topic today, from an ideological perspective, but we shouldn’t worry whether it becomes norm. People don’t choose that, they are that. They can choose whether they will admit who they are.
In the end a short resume – will marriage exist in fifty years? Will France, famous for gender freedom, initiate a new form of civil relationship?
I believe that marriage will exist in 50 years, although I believe that there will be a greater percentage of non formal relationships!