Recently the term “starter marriage” appeared in an article about a divorced woman thrilled about her divorce and all the reasons her marriage didn’t work for her, them. Perhaps too much focus is placed on the perfect wedding, being married and the fanciful “happily ever after” without a focus on ensuring that an impending marriage is based on the sense of permanency of a “we” relationship.
Starter marriage is reminiscent of a starter house, with the plan to trade up as personal finances improve. Do starter marriages include starter children and when the starter marriage ends, the starter children are left to handle the aftermath of failed relationships between parents? Do starter children have any say in what will become of them, or will they have one parent, be caught in the crossfire of a starter relationship collapse, or become neglected as starter parents move on to other questionable relationships and marriages?
Many relationships do not contain a commitment to permanency, and divorce is the easy out when the marriage requires more emotional commitment than either or both partners imagined. Any solid relationship requires a togetherness factor and a commitment to work through issues, problems, situations and emotions.
Marriage with plans of a future and children is more like remodeling a home. As the needs change, the house is remodeled, expanded and beautified. The house isn’t razed with a divorce bulldozer or abandoned or sold off in search of a better location, higher value or a different address and name. Marriage should be built on firm foundations, able to weather any disaster that may threaten the house.
When a relationship is built on settling, marrying without commitment, and other social pressures, relationships will probably end quickly. Past generations married with the goals of building a future with children, a home and a life “until death do us part.” These generations accepted the good, the bad and the challenges of being married. Divorce had a stigma of failure that most people worked to avoid.
Today, if recent statistics are accurate, 3.4 of the 6.8 or approximately one-half of all marriages end in divorce. How many divorces were “starter marriages?” How many divorces were by men and women having multiple marriages and divorces? Does the possibility exist people do not learn from failed relationships and continue to enter these “starter marriages” over and over?
One answer may lie in the number of articles, books and therapies available to people who have failed relationships. Perhaps the cause is missed; people often overanalyze themselves. Partners place individual needs, wants and selves before the marriage. The “we” is replaced by the “I” and instead of sharing complimentary roles with each other, the roles become adversarial. When the “I” is threatened, the word divorce erupts.
Perhaps using the term starter marriage allows the detachment of responsibility for a failed relationship. Self analysis goes into hyper drive as men and women rush to explain to themselves why the relationship failed, but fail to take responsibility for their actions and put into place safeguards to prevent the starter mentality from recurrence. Starter allows do-over and over and over, with the hope that one day, a relationship will last.