Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life...the Ultimate Reality Show

The words snapped me up short as surely as if they were a noose tied around my neck. I jerked around to face my son who was then in his mid-teens. “What did you say?” I almost snapped.

Poland 2009 Courtesy J. Swett
He looked startled and maybe a bit nervous. He repeated his comment. None of it remains with me today beyond a single phrase: starter marriage. Even now, the memory of those 2 words makes my breath come in ragged sweeps as my pulse skyrockets. Thankfully, his passing comment opened the door for what seemed a useful conversation about the changing values in our world.

The phrase he introduced me to was just beginning to be bandied about and is self-explanatory. Marriage #1 – the one you just do to get it over with so that you can move on from the practice round to the one you really mean to last till death do you part.

Courtesy C. Swett
Oh my, fraidy cats. If you've seen any of the news cycle the last 48 hours, you've heard the chatter about the reality show marriage that lasted only 70-something days. The young lady under the microscope was quoted as saying, “It just didn't turn out to be the FAIRY TALE I had hoped for....” This ill-fated affair of the heart was, it seems, her 2nd attempt at marriage. Starter marriage #1 lasted about 4 years. It didn't take as long this time for her to realize that life is not a fairy tale and hit the delete button.

Was the muti-million dollar marriage all a publicity stunt/hoax bent on milking the post-wedding glow of the future King and Queen of England? Did they make many more millions of dollars than the wedding was purported to cost? Whether the drama is real or concocted, the networks find it lucrative, or they would not continue to promote and cover the train wreck unfolding.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
At what cost? As a homeschooler, I am often asked, “But what about socialization?” when skeptics question how it is possible to raise anything but a social misfit in the petri dish of homeschooling. Research indicates that much of the socialization occurring among today's teens takes place via social media. So much so that a host of kids vie for the next most compelling spot on the ever newer and more compelling reality show. Kids yearn for fame like young men of my day yearned for sports contracts after years of hard work. No hard work required now...just aim for infamy via Utube and hope to go viral. The less moral and more risky your behavior, the better.

After being inundated with the unreality of reality TV, will our younger generation connect the dots? Will they buy the myth that 'starter marriages' are the savvy new way to excuse a self centered, unrealistic expectation regarding what real life entails? Or, will they wake up and smell the coffee and want more than the plastic lives lived by plastic people who appear to live the 'good life' before our eyes.
Courtesy M. Horrocks

Kim Kardashian seems to have believed that her fairy tale, multi-million dollar, made-for-TV wedding would launch her into a fairy tale marriage. Had anyone told her that love is not a feeling but an action? Had anyone told her that more then 50% of the time, love is what you do not what is done for you. Life is not a fairy tale in which the beautiful princess gets swept off her feet day in and day out. Life, in fact, often involves picking up a broom and sweeping up the poop of life. Whether you feel like it or not, get paid for it or not, are rewarded for it or not.

One of my best friends is presently going through an unwanted divorce after more than 25 years of marriage. It is a sad fact that not all marriages will stand the test of time. I have seen first hand how hard she fought and how long she held on in the hopes that her situation would reverse itself. Sadly, it did not. She did not ask for a fairy tale. She did not walk away until there was literally no remaining option. Her battle indicated that marriage was worth fighting for.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I am sad for the beautiful reality show princess. I am sad no one has told her that, in the quest for fame and fortune, she has cheapened herself by making marriage look as if it is both frivolous and expendable. She will age and discover that beauty is fleeting and in the end, riches do not satisfy.

I wonder when the day comes, will she look back and regret the time she spent building her 'brand'. Will she wish she had instead spent her time in the pursuit of serving others? Will she wish that she had enriched her soul instead of her pocketbook? It's a fraidy cat world, I tell you. None of us will make it without each other. Remind the ones you love, we are all worth fighting for even when life hands you a broom and says, “Sweep up the poop.” 
Courtesy B. Creasy

Ephesians 4:2 (Bible in Basic English)
With all gentle and quiet behaviour, taking whatever comes, putting up with one another in love;


  1. Gracias...I'm wearing camo in case anyone gets testy!

  2. Sadly marriage doesn't mean what it was intended to anymore. It is no longer a covenant commitment till death do you part. It is a promise that can be broken if they feel like it. Love isn't taught to be an action, but instead an unrealistic fairy tale emotion, that doesn't last much past the honeymoon. Sad about your friend's marriage. 25yrs is a long time.