by Cindy Tovar
Taking the plunge. Tied down. Tying the knot. Getting hitched. The old ball and chain. We’ve all heard these phrases that are supposed to define marriage or the act of getting married. If aliens were listening to us, they’d be convinced that marriage is a terrible thing, and they’d wonder why we do it at all. What’s happening? Why are we so jaded?
Perhaps it’s because every time we turn on the television, we’re bombarded with what has now become the stereotype of a married couple: a lazy, incompetent, uncaring husband and a nagging, sex-denying, overspending wife. This is how the media depicts married life, but the only reason it keeps these shows on the air is because we like to watch them. They make us laugh, but after the laughter dies down, I wonder when and why we began to embrace the dysfunction.
The first time I noticed that something “felt wrong” was when I started watching Married with Children. I must have been about eight years old, and I remember feeling completely out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t know why. I realize now what it was: I wasn’t used to seeing family members, let alone a husband and wife, speaking so rudely to one another. I was used to the wholesome, family-oriented shows – like Growing Pains, Family Matters, The Cosby Show, and Full House- where everyone respected each other and the PDA was plentiful. I could relate to that.
Married with Children was a success, so obviously for others, the dysfunction didn’t bother them. It’s funny. The end. Maybe I’m just a prude. Or maybe, for some people at least, they saw a resemblance to their own less than perfect familial situations and relationships. For some, this dysfunction was relatable. Their parents did speak that way to each other, and they spoke that way to the kids, too.
Since then, these shows, as well as movies, depicting unhappy marriages have only increased. Apparently, happy is boring. Unhappy is funny and interesting. Is the media just reflecting what’s happening in our society? Perhaps.
And what about our kids, who are on the receiving end of these negative messages? Unless they come from an unbroken home, which is becoming rare nowadays, they’ll have no idea what a strong, solid marriage even looks like. How can they model, or want, what they’ve never seen or experienced?
As time passes, I have no doubt that the divorce rate will only climb higher than it already is. As long as the media continues to depict marriage in a negative way, and as long as we keep feeding into it with our cynicism, marriage in our culture is doomed.
To learn more about Cindy, visit Dagny’s Dichotomy.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.