Marriage: The Hardest Thing You Will Ever Do One reason why the divorce rate in this country is so high is our romanticized notion of marriage. It started in elementary school when we passed notes to our Valentines asking if they wanted to go steady.
NPR logo

Marriage: The Hardest Thing You Will Ever Do

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/7445478/7445481" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Marriage: The Hardest Thing You Will Ever Do

Marriage: The Hardest Thing You Will Ever Do

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/7445478/7445481" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

TONY COX, host:

I'm Tony Cox. This is NEWS & NOTES.

JOHN MCCANN: One reason folks in America are divorcing left and right is this romanticized notion of marriage.

COX: Love is not always pretty, especially when its called marriage, says commentator John McCann.

MCCANN: It started in elementary school when we passed notes to our valentines, asking if they wanted to go to steady by way of primitive contracts with boxes marked - yes, no, maybe, check one. Remember those?

In fifth grade, the girls were the one feeling me too tough though. Which meant I was the look out for Jay and Lorenzo while they stole kisses from LaJan(ph) and Stephanie. Always the look-out, never the lucky one.

But before long I grew into my lips a little bit. And while I never was what you'd called a player, I at least, was in the game, sort of, hitting my stride in college. I was a one-woman type of guy, something I learned from my daddy. And really, the only time I get mad at a girl was when I felt like dudes were trying to holler at her, and she was yelling back.

So I got married figuring as long as I'm not cutting out on my wife, it'd be death do us part, which could be a while since we both hit the gym on the regular. Man, wrong, wrong, wrong. Marriage is absolutely the hardest thing I've ever done. It's not because I cut on my wife either. And no, we don't fight about who left the toilet seat up. It's more like how come you didn't clean the toilet seat, and (unintelligible) clean, or I got up last night with the baby, your turn to feed her.

And somebody please explain why my wife figures I'm the only one in the house who can eat the end slices off the loaf of bread. Thing is, I used to really get torn up about my marital woes. Because all y'all look so happy, holding hands and what not. But I soon realized I was just looking at boyfriends and girlfriends merely pretending to be married, shacking up and all that. In other words, there was no life-long commitment, which makes it easy to smile. I mean, you can leave the relationship anytime, and without much baggage.

According to a recent New York Times article, we're experiencing what might be the first time when more women in this country are living without a spouse - 51 percent. That number has been disputed on grounds that the sample of females surveyed included a young ladies between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Not exactly marrying age. But the figure also suggests that women are pickier now about when and if they marry.

At any rate, when you say I do, and you try to do it God's way, it's definitely a battle, a fight that often ends in divorce. You may have heard that NBA point guard Jason Kidd and his wife was splitting up after 10 years. Kidd, a six-foot-four New Jersey Nets basketball player, claimed in divorce papers that his diminutive five-foot-something wife mentally and physically abused him.

You laugh. Hey, I know it sounds funny - a big NBA man allegedly getting handled by a little bitty woman. But people, we're talking about marriages dissolving right before our eyes. Even the great Michael Jordan couldn't hit the winning shot to keep his vows intact. Unless we're careful, ours could be next.

COX: John McCann is a columnist for the Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.