Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Lie: Marriage and Family is Not Terribly Valuable

SOOO much pop culture attacks the traditional family. Songs decry living at home and celebrate dysfunction. Modern sitcoms celebrate philandering and the lack of stable relationships. I can't think of one show that I have seen in the past 4-5 years that portrays a traditional nuclear family with a man and woman that have been married to each other only and have children that are biologically both of theirs. I do understand that this "Leave it to Beaver" family is quickly dying and being replaced with steps and halves and other arrangements. TV merely reflects the society to which it is selling. I wonder, though, if the cause and effect is the other way around. How much of the erosion of the family is because of the media?
Before you get bent out of shape, I am NOT saying that the non-traditional family is wrong. I am simply saying that 50 years ago, the traditional family was a man and woman getting married to each other for the first time and staying together and having some kids. Thats how it became the "traditional family". I do see value in this situation. I do think that if it is possible, it is healthier and definitely simpler to have the "traditional family." I know it cuts down on drama!

My question is, why do people stray from, destroy, mess up, choose otherwise from the tradition? One possible answer is that they see the traditional family life as boring and unfulfilling--they are told by society, media, etc. that there is more--more excitement, more "life to live", more partners to have, more places to go, etc. than a traditional family can afford you. This is a lie.

I also know there is an all out assault on anything that even resembles a "normal" family in the media. Shows like Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Friends and Two and a Half Men glorify the single, philandering life and even put down the family life.  These characters are viewed daily as having such a cool life with a new conquest every episode and all manner of dysfunction. Teenagers see these and long for the same. There is no balance in the media either. Even the shows that have two parents frequently make the male character into a doofus. There are virtually no male "father" characters in shows that are intelligent, strong and good fathers. Why? Why do we allow this? Why do we support this? Why is this entertaining?

I don't have the answer. I just have some suggestions.
  1. Value the family yourself. It is noble, fulfilling and even fun
  2. Value the moments your family gives you. I am guilty here. I get wrapped up in work and ignore my family from time to time. I do this with the excuse that I am earning a living for them. Its just an excuse. Jonas will only be 5 for 365 days. I need to treasure those days. 
  3. This one is hard. TRY to choose your mate wisely. DON'T select them based on superficial things. Really consider that person as your partner for the REST of your life.
  4. WORK on your relationship. There is no such thing as a fairytale relationship that magically happens one day and is happily ever after for all of eternity with no real effort. If you think you are the exception to the above statement, you are wrong. ALL marriages, ALL relationships need effort and willingness to work together on the problems that arise. If your partner disagrees, you should not choose that person. No life time successful marriage "just happens." They all require maintenance.
  5. If you do choose poorly and you know it, don't have kids with that person!
Seriously, put value on stability. Have fun with your family. Show your kids that the family life is good. Reject the idea that marriage is casual and fluid. Build marriages that last forever and teach your kids that those relationsips are precious and good and worth the effort. If you find yourself in a "non-traditional" situation, still teach your kids that marriage is good and should be one time in your life with one person. Be open about the mistakes that led to your situation (when appropriate, of course). Finally, men, be strong, loving fathers. Don't be the doofi (Latin plural for doofus) that the media portrays and most importantly, BE PRESENT.

I know this blog has potential to stir up some conversation. I welcome that. Please do recognize that I speak in generalities and I know that every single situation is unique. I am not pointing fingers, I am just sharing my ideals.

1 comment:

Kris said...

I think #5 is hilarious. "If you choose poorly...and you know it..." (as your conscience shakes its finger at you)

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