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Fingers Crossed and Other Pet-Peeves

November 30, 2010

Fingers Crossed

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I have many pet-peeves.

There are an annoying number of things that annoy me.

I can’t stand loud eating noises. Something that actually makes it difficult for me to imagine a day I will calmly stare at a child of mine while they smack away on a Goldfish.

I can’t be around people who call others out. Hence why I’ve never told anyone but Isaiah to either chew quietly or move far, far away from my ears. I learned something at a young age, “You don’t have to say everything that comes to your mind.” Most of the hurts we go through in our lives (barring the deaths, the illnesses and the like) could have been prevented if people just thought about what they were going to say before they said it.

I have many small pet-peeves that might seem neurotic to (cough, Isaiah) many people around me. However. There is one thing that I think is bigger than a pet-peeve. It’s something that rocks my spine like a car wreck every time I hear it.

That thing? Have I built it up too much?

I can’t stand when people get married and all along the way drop little clichรฉ phrases like, “This will be our only marriage, fingers crossed” or “We’ll be together forever, knock on wood.” Perhaps it’s the way a couple of recent, close divorces have affected me and my way of thinking on this topic.

I remember reading on a blog (the particular blog I can’t remember, I apologize) that there are good years and bad years in marriage. With a mentality of “I hope this one takes,” how can we be expected to make it through those times? Prepare yourselves for the long-haul. Imagine forever. Know that you’ll make it, don’t “hope” or expect luck to take care of things for you.

I feel as though we’ve been taught to think believing in true love is silly. We’re lofty if we believe that our marriages have what it takes. I think saying, “At least I hope we’ll be together forever” is only to satisfy to everyone around us that we are aware of the risks.

Decide. Marry deliberately for forever. If it doesn’t work, so be it, recover, move on…but don’t prepare for the worst from the beginning.

What are your thoughts?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2010 9:25 am

    I think most couples start their engagement with the gooey, romantic mentality that they’re soul mates and will be together forever. On top of it being a naivety, along the way a few too many jerks might quote marriage statistics at them or opposing mothers might let them know that she thinks this is a bad idea a few too many times that a seed of doubt gets planted in their minds and they feel the need to justify the statistics or appease her.

    Marriage is without a doubt the most difficult thing I’ve ever undertaken. You may not have bad years and good years, but you definitely have good days, bad days and good months and bad months. There are times when you can’t see how you’re possibly going to work out somethings and then your mother’s warnings are there in the back of your mind gnawing at you.
    A strong marriage makes strong people. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 30, 2010 10:59 am

      I definitely understand. I’ve got people quoting me stats all the time saying they will never get married…they enjoy their independence and what not. I was like that as well…There are ways to be optimistic and determined without being naive. Thanks, Jessie, I completely agree…strong people.

  2. November 30, 2010 9:31 am

    Well, right from the start, marriage shouldn’t be a ” I hope this works, let’s keep our fingers crossed” thing. It’s for life. Things aren’t always rosy, for sure, but people should understand that the decision to get married is an irreversible one. Why tell everybody “I’M GETTING MARRIED” in your big fat wedding only to have ” ok, I’ll give this at least 5 years to see if it works”. This should had been decided during the dating part or even during the engagement part where it’s not too late to say, I don’t think this will work.

    • November 30, 2010 11:00 am

      I definitely get that…some people jumped into marriage too early when they weren’t ready…some people didn’t know their spouse well enough before they were married…I understand that there are many things that can lead to divorce…but we’re the people talking about, thinking about, deliberating and debating about the meaning of marriage……shouldn’t we be the ones who are sure we’ll make it if anyone is?

      • November 30, 2010 11:01 am

        BY WE I mean us, the people talking about marriage…the people thinking..not Isaiah and I or the girls in the blog community…those who marry knowing as much as you can what they’re getting into.

  3. November 30, 2010 9:49 am

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same thing! I always wonder: Why are you getting married if you’re considering divorce as an option? I married Ed on purpose to be with him forever – through the ups and downs (which are inevitable) as a partner, not a critic or superstitious romantic.

    • November 30, 2010 11:04 am

      Exactly. That’s the problem…when you say you KNOW you’ll be together forever…people come out of the woodwork to tell you how naive and romantic you are…It starts to feel like society and the “naysayers” don’t want marriages to work because of their own cynicism. I think often enough about how devastating it would be if our marriage didn’t “work,” meaning something irreparable came between us or something of the like…I don’t need to keep reiterating to my mind the just over 50% of people who make it by saying it out loud or reminding someone else of the risks.

  4. November 30, 2010 10:22 am

    OK, you’re asking what I think? I think essentially, that people want to be part of a couple, so they get married when the opportunity arises. However, there are 2 big flaws. (1) Many many many people don’t have the skills needed to resolve conflict. When conflict arises, as it invariably does, they cannot separate the disagreement from the relationship. And poof, the relationship disintegrates. (2) People get married hoping for the best, but fail, in the beginning, to examine the alignment of their values and goals. The fundamental underpinnings of who we are expressed through our basic behavior and beliefs. If our values are not aligned well, all the hoping for the best in the world won’t piece together a solid marriage.

    Thus, we have the exit strategy. An oversimplified assessment of the complexity of love and marriage? Perhaps. But this has been my experience.

  5. November 30, 2010 11:09 am

    Some people do go into marriage with an exit strategy, which is a pretty good sign that they shouldn’t be going into THAT marriage.

    When I got married to my ex, one sad thing that I felt was that my heart would not break completely if something were to happen and we didn’t make it. But I was young and dumb and nursing a broken heart when I made that decision. I stupidly thought that starting out as friends (great friends, no real passion) meant that we could just skip over the ooey gooey romantic stuff and already be in that solid-friendship part of marriage. I was wrong on so many levels: (1) No, you can’t have a satisfying marriage without the passion part even if you’re great friends; (2) Yes, your heart will break at the death of a marriage even if you’re not madly in love with your spouse; (3) There is no quick and easy exit strategy.

    Whether we like it or not, marriage is a lifetime commitment. Whether we enter it with the thought that it will only be a short stint or with the belief that it is forever, we will be forever altered by the experience. If you’re entering a marriage thinking about the exit, this is probably a sign that you need to take a step back and take a long, hard look at why you’re getting married, to whom you are getting married, and whether you should be at this time with this person.

    • November 30, 2010 11:21 am

      No kidding. I am watching a divorce close to me that I couldn’t believe was even making one person in it upset….it was cut and dry, he was destroying her. But the death of anything is cause for mourning and I definitely can see what she’s losing…the potential…the innocence of believing this would be it…and having that torn to shit…the person she THOUGHT she married…whether or not he was ever actually that.

      I love this response, Sarah.

      • November 30, 2010 12:24 pm

        My therapist refers to it as the death of a promise, but it is still a death — a very real one.

  6. lyn permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:34 pm

    I love your call for assertiveness. People need to stand up more for what they believe in, and love is one of those things. I think that you have a good point about people believing love is silly, and I also feel that many people, especially our age, have been burned by divorce before and are reactively wary of it.

    I have to admit, though — my husband and I made similar comments during our engagement. I think ours was in the context of joking around with other people we didn’t know very well, which is probably completely different thing than your experience. You know that kind of thing where you’re in a bar and some dude your partner knows marginally from work comes parading up, slapping you on the back and braying, “So, I hear you’re gettin’ married FOREVER, right?” And you grip your drink a litter harder and go, “Ha ha, yeah, hopefully! We’ll see!”

    But now that you mention it, I don’t really know why I said things like that instead of just telling people, “Yes! Forever!” Because I believe we WILL stay together forever, of course. I have no reason to think otherwise. I wasn’t thinking about making any kind of exit from my marriage. But maybe I fell into making comments like that because I’m hesitant about sounding too sincere in front of certain company. Too earnest. Too naive, maybe. Or maybe I just didn’t care about these folks and I wanted to play along so they’d go away.

    Anyway, I think I’m straying too far off topic. I’m pretty sure joking wasn’t the context you meant, but now you’ve got me thinking. I think we could all use to be more assertive and optimistic in general about marriage. You know, to get some more positivity out there to counteract all the negativity about marriage that we get from the media and society at large.

    • November 30, 2010 2:10 pm

      Lyn, we’ve all made them. I forgot to include the clause that sometimes, with people you don’t know who are butting into your life with no real interest in you or your love…sometimes it’s okay to keep a guard up. Sometimes people I don’t know ask me how I could get married…and I usually say, sometimes you have to jump and hope for the best with all of the information you have. Not as assertive as I’d like to be, of course…but sometimes there’s no reason arguing or asserting yourself to people who have no real interest in you.

      I love that idea…staying sure and optimistic to counteract everything else…great words, Lyn.

  7. November 30, 2010 2:31 pm

    YES. I too hate (HATE) loud eating noises. To the point that we listen to music while eating.

    And my sister got married saying “as long as we both shall love” which just TORQUES MY MOTHERTRUCKING COOKIES.

    I get that you’re afraid to fail or be considered naive, people, but get past your desire to be so cool that you can’t handle falling. Actually commit. It’s scary and embarrassing and all of the rest, but that’s what it’s all about. The hokey pokey is a close second.

    • November 30, 2010 2:56 pm

      You are awesome, Jo. AWESOME. This is a fantastic response…I have nothing to add except to reiterate again that you’re awesome.

  8. November 30, 2010 4:14 pm

    I actually think that superstition plays a very large role in this kind of thing. I am constantly amazed at how superstitious people are – I know people that will force me to knock on wood when I say something that might call for some wood-knocking. It’s a pretty deeply ingrained piece of our society, so much so that even when I’m alone, I may knock on wood (or just my head) without anyone even there to witness it.

    I guess what I’m saying is that this idea of “if I say it, I may be cursing it, so I have to qualify it with a cliche” is a big piece of why people say that kind of stuff, not necessarily because they have doubts.

  9. November 30, 2010 5:20 pm

    I am COMPLETELY with you on this (but really, who wouldn’t be?). My parents got married when they were very, very young, and have certainly experienced good and bad years. But just the other day, my mom and I were on the phone and she said, “You know, there was a time when every marriage was forever, and your father and I got married at a time when that wasn’t always the case. But I think you have to be ready to love someone forever, or what’s the point in spending all those years together?”

    I told her I couldn’t agree with her (or you) more.

    • November 30, 2010 10:37 pm

      Oh for sure, Lena. Comedian Louis C.K. has a bit about how getting divorced is like time-traveling…you come out a barely functioning human being, unable to adapt right away to the world around you…that sounds like something i want to avoid obviously at all costs. why waste all the time if you’re not in it to win it?

  10. November 30, 2010 8:36 pm

    I haven’t heard anyone say those things yet…hmmm but must be because I don’t know a lot of people getting married either. BUt I do hear the whole “why should i get married if 60% chance I will get divorce” quote.

    But I have heard it on movies & tv. ( I can be a sucker for those lifetime movies). I read a SELF magazine article that had a chart with a relationship time line and it automatically had a divorce point and re-dating. It eerrked me because it made divorce and re-dating so glamorous….:*( It is like no one believes in just one marriage in a lifetime anymore.

    @ sarah…I love that death of a promise phrase…so true

    • November 30, 2010 10:38 pm

      WOW! That would have infuriated me to see in SELF….actually it’s infuriating me now! That is upsetting!!

  11. December 1, 2010 6:50 am

    we waited years before we actually married.
    and it’s forever.

  12. December 1, 2010 8:12 am

    Count me as a member of the grossed-out-by-loud-chewing-noises club. Also count me in as a member of the I-waited-years-to-get-married-and-you-bet-your-ass-it’s-going-to-be-forever club. When I said my vows I meant them, with all my heart. I agree with you in that, if your fingers are crossed with hope that you’re marriage will last, just wait, or just stop. However, it can understand how it’s difficult to think about forever within the context of today’s divorce rate. Now I’m not one to get all preachy about family values (my own pet peeve) and I respect people’s decision to divorce when things don’t work out. I’m also fully aware of how hard marriage can get and how much work it can take. Not every one can make that kind of daily grind commitment of choosing your battles, and working on your own crap, and striving to be empathetic and kind during the hardest of times.

    No, I’m not against divorce per se, but I don’t think the midst of an engagement is the time to talk about it (lightheartedly or not.) I’ll say it again, If you think there is a possibility you’ll end up divorcing your partner, wait to get married.Spend your money on some couple’s counseling instead.

    P.S. Great conversation starter Lizzie!

    • December 1, 2010 10:49 am

      I love that tidbit, Christie, if you think there’s even a possibility of divorce…spend your money on couple’s counseling instead. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  13. December 1, 2010 12:05 pm

    Bad days, bad months and hopfully not bad years so far in this marriage, but I would never knock on wood.

  14. Rebecca permalink
    December 11, 2010 11:49 pm

    My belief is that once you say “Till death do us part” it really means that and if you enter into a marriage with it already in your mind that there is a way out AT ALL then when the hard times come – the times that we may actually have to swallow our pride and truly love through “better and worse” – then it is almost inevitable that you’ll take it. Marriage will NOT be easy, and i don’t think it’s even the romance that gets you through, i think it’s the very fact that all those years ago you promised “i do”.


  1. Re: Fingers Crossed and Other Pet-Peeves « From My Bathtub

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