A funny thing happened yesterday on my Facebook feed: Dozens of people posted a story that was neither excellent, enlightening, funny or sad.
The article, Marriage Isn’t for You, along with a standard happy couple wedding shot, began with: ‘Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.’
Okay – I’ll bite. My friends were clearly being affected by this, so I clicked. Is it an anti-marriage rant that’s uniting all the single ladies? No. A story of a scorned groom by a vicious woman? Nope.
In a sappy, incredibly verbose blog, writer Seth Adam Smith reveals the punchline about 300 words in: “It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
And so, he’s not saying he regrets getting married – as the headline would have you believe.
Again, this post was shared on social networks more than 20,000 times. I kept waiting for the punch line, for the “thank you, Internet” moment that usually comes with viral stories you see repeatedly polluting Facebook feeds. (Read: the case of the stolen llama.)
Surely my Facebook feed was smarter than this silly, deceptive headline: Why were people I know and love so enthralled? And, er, did they read it? I asked my Facebook friends what the draw was – and got a very blunt answer.
“It’s an article that girls read and then send to their apprehensive boyfriends about getting married. The girls use it to say, ‘Hunny getting married is a selfless thing, do it for me … doesn’t matter if you’re ready yet, I am.”
And then, something awful happened. I looked at all the people who had shared it – 21 in total – and each one was female, and each one was in a long-term relationship.
As a 30-year-old never married woman, I’m likely not the best person to be eschewing relationship advice (let us not recall what happened when I hired an online matchmaker.)
That said, if both partners are getting married for the other person, there’s something wrong with that equation. (Imagine ordering Chinese food only because you think the other person wants to – but they’re only ordering it for you? My brain cannot compute.)
Any good relationship should always be for you. Selfishness has become a negative word – but the main reason you should be in a relationship is because your partner makes you giddy.
Mr. Smith, your story is tragically flawed. From my newlywed Facebook friend, “You marry for yourself, to someone who makes you happy and the best you can be as a person.”
Follow me at: @amberlym