Thursday, February 16, 2012


Last Saturday I was given the luxury to do grocery shopping and run a few errands all by myself. As I was driving around town (well, city) I listened to Boise State Public Radio. There was one program that I was able to hear most of it (in between stores) that was really far from my morals and thinking. When I told Ram about this he said he never hears weird stories like this when he listens to the same station! I'm not technical enough to try to search for this story online, especially because I have no idea what the name of the radio program this story was on, but I'll try to retell the program.
There was a man they interviewed that met his girlfriend when he was 17, they began living together when they were 23, and in the eyes of their friends and themselves they had the perfect relationship. They were the ones that their friends came to when their friends had relationship problems. They were the "cool" house to have friends over. When he was 30 he asked his girlfriend if they should get married. They had never discussed marriage before. Her answer shocked me, she thought that it was wrong that they had just had one partner and they should sleep around with more people before getting married. So they came up with this crazy idea that like the Amish have their rumspringa where they can be free from Amish rules for a few years before settling down to be Amish, that they would have 30 days to be free from their relationship. It became a contest where they were competing with each other to sleep with as many people as possible in that month. After a month they decided they wanted another month. After 2 months he was getting serious with another girl and she decided she didn't want to go back to their relationship. So after 7 years of living together and 3 months of relationship rumspringa, they broke up.
The man said that the part of rumspringa that he enjoyed the most was he was invited in to other women's apartments and homes. Usually their friends had come to their house, they were rarely invited to other friend's homes. He was interested to see how they had decorated and what kind of furniture they had. My thought was instead of rumspringa he could have just asked friends to have them over to their houses!
As crazy as that story was, what was really interesting was the radio interviewer comments after the whole story was told. The girlfriend refused to be interviewed on the radio, but she had told her side of the story to the interviewer and he told her side. Then he asked each of them what they learned from this relationship. The girl was honest that they both probably knew they weren't going to get married, but they had this complicated plan before breaking up. The boy said that he learned that if he ever gets married he will have a 7 year "contract", that after 7 years of marriage they will reevaluate and if they want to continue to be married they will get remarried. If they don't want to be married after 7 years their marriage will be done. I give the interviewer a lot of credit because he said in his own experience this "comfort" factor in marriage is what is most important to him. Because of the comfort factor that even when you have rough patches, you know that you will still be married in the end. The man said he had never thought of it that way. The program ended with the man saying he had more to think about this after talking to the interviewer.
I know there are circumstances that end in divorce for good reasons. Ram and I have talked about after 10 years of marriage there is no way we would want to have to begin a relationship again and death of one of us would be the only reason we would. We are so glad to be married and not in that awkward dating part of our life. I can't imagine this man dating again after 7 years relationship with one girl.
This story made me so sad. Although I don't agree with living together, I do think that if this couple would have got married after 7 years together that they would have had it better than many couples that slept around before they got married. At least they were each other's one and only boyfriend/girlfriend and partner. They could have made the living together "right" by getting married.
It makes me even more sad that stories like this are getting to be normal in our society. Young couples are causing unnecessary physical, emotional, and spiritual damage to themselves.


Helpful Teacher said...

You wrote: Because of the comfort factor that even when you have rough patches, you know that you will still be married in the end.

I totally and completely agree with you! To know that your spouse will stay with you "no matter what" brings so much comfort. I can't imagine how people can wake up each morning and not know if they'll be *good enough* today so that their spouse will stay with them. What stress!

Maybe the one good thing that came from the story is that the young man will get to thinking about this "comfort factor".

Erin said...

The program is called This American Life. I love This American Life and listened this weekend as well. I also found this particular segment of the show to be pretty sad, a horrible picture of many in today's culture.

The (married) interviewer, Ira Glass, made a great defense for marriage. Did you hear that part? I was very happily surprised! Ira Glass and I rarely agree on anything!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog after hearing this podcast. Here's the link to the episode transcript: