The above screencap was snagged from a March 17, 2008 DailyNews.com article that you can find here: http://www.nydailynews.com/…er_wo.html



Recently, I joked on an online post that New York's new mayor David Patterson seemed too good to be true. Everything I've heard about this guy was positive. He was friendly, intelligent, cared about the right issues, and one of the first things he announced was that he had never been with a hooker.



Well, it turns out that he *has* cheated on his wife. The good news is that so did she. Seems that marriage wasn't all happy smiles and roses and for a time they fooled around on each other. Why is this good news?



1) He's not perfect and if this is the only "skeleton" in his closet, the state of New York is in good hands.



2) I think them admitting that their marriage took work sets a really great example for couples married and unmarried alike.



I think a lot of people grow up with the idea that marriage is this wondrous experience that is incredible, rewarding, and all around, a positive thing. Personally, I'm sick of the propaganda we all get fed about how perfect an institution "marriage" is--whether it's Christians trying to stop gays from marrying, gays who say it's a right, or Lifetime cable network movies teaching us that a woman's identity should revolve around the concept of marriage. Marriage is not an obligation, but if you're not married you're assumed to be lonely--which is then assumed to be bad.



Now, I'm married and while I'm not unhappy, I am able to see the plusses and minuses to married life. I love my wife, think she's great, but sometimes I wonder if we humans are meant to live together. I know that married couples get into fights and I understand that compromise is the name of the game (along with communication), but I think other married couples don't realize this.



I also don't think a lot of unmarried couples realize that they don't *have* to get married. I do believe that some people just aren't built for the lifestyle and I also feel that some people change and can grow out of or into the personality that makes a stable marriage possible.



What's nice about the Patterson's admission is that we see that relationships can come back from the brink--or even from beyond the brink. We see that there was a point in which they had essentially given up on their relationship and were moving on.



What the Patterson's admission does NOT teach us is that sometimes it's OK to end a relationship. Sometimes people do grow in a direction that leads them away from each other. Sometimes people change into people who aren't as compatible as they used to be. Clearly, in the Patterson's case, it probably made them realize that, for whatever reason, they were the best fit for each other.



Marriage, I think, is taken too much for granted and it seems like our society treats it as an obligation. I remember when I proposed to my wife back in 1999--I felt pressured by some invisible force to get that woman permanently in my life--forever. I really felt strongly about it and when I talked to her older sister (who was already a friend of mine), her first reaction was: "Why do you want to marry my sister?"



I explained to her my reasons why and she replied with something close to: "So? Why not just spend the rest of your life together? And why go so far when you've only been together for two years?"



I further explained myself, to which she answered: "All right, fine, get engaged, but have a long engagement if making sure she doesn't bail, if that's what you're worried about."



It wasn't my *only* concern, but it was the most important and her advice seemed pretty sound, actually. So, I figured as long as I knew TheFiancee wasn't going anywhere, I was happy. Six years later, we finally exchanged vows and not a whole lot changed. We fight, we make up, we have happy times and sad, tense times and joyous times. But being the alternative-thinking kind of guy I am, it sure seems like marriage isn't what it was billed as.



What about the 50+% failure rate? What about the abusive marriages that last, but shouldn't? What about the fact that animals generally don't practice monogamy (sure, some do, but not all)?



I guess what I'm saying here is that the Patterson's case reminds us of the gray area much of our lives really reside in. But I feel like so many people only focus on the positives of marriage and not the negatives.



Failure is OK, believe it or not, but we aren't prepared for it. No one teaches us how to work things out or how to recognize for ourselves when things just aren't going to work out.



Don't worry, this isn't true confessions time for ThePete. TheWife and I are still together, but with a rather big move coming up, we're both experiencing a lot of stress. So, all this stuff has been on my mind, truth be told. However, I've been with her for 11 years this August and I'm pretty confident that we have what it takes.



Still, I can't help but wonder if I'm even equipped with the tools to recognize for myself if we didn't.
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