Why Are So Many Marriage Essays Going Viral?

Published January 13, 2015
I want my marriage essay to go viral. Why You’re Not Married, written by Tracey McMillan went viral. Marriage Isn’t For You, written by Seth Adam Smith went viral. It has over 30 million views! Both Tracey and Seth have book deals. Tracey was on Oprah! At the time of his post, Seth had been married for only a year and a half. Tracey’s been married 3 times. Okay, I’m happy for them. Really I am. And I’m not suggesting they don’t have anything to share or teach, but come on—I’ve been married for 32 years! If staying together is the goal (which I guess is questionable as far as goals go) I’ve got the credentials. I’m the one who should have a marriage essay read by millions. I should be on Oprah. I mean really, where are the people who’ve been in long-term marriages? They’re actually not on Oprah. Exception: Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want. He’s great and his book is awesome. He’s been on Oprah a number of times, but we need more role models. Good ones. And fast because marriage is getting a bad rap. People are choosing not to get married at all, as in NEVER. Or they talk about first marriages like it’s a bachelor degree, something they will eventually move on from in order to pursue a second marriage, their graduate degree. There are some misconceptions I’d like to clear up: 1. Long-term marriage doesn’t mean 10 years. Ten years is a phase, a bleep in a life, like adolescence. Long-term means you go through all the developmental stages together: playing house, raising children, growing old, facing health issues, dying. A lifetime. 2. A partner is not someone who stays home, changing diapers and cooking dinner, while you pursue every dream you ever had. 3. Respecting each other’s differences does not mean you are awesome when you don’t change the music station when The Carpenters are on and you prefer Eric Clapton. (Okay, full disclosure-—that’s my house.) 4. Monogamy is a full-time job. If you do it part-time there is less insurance and fewer benefits. Look, I’m not judging. My philosophy is that everyone should be happy. And what would make me really happy is for my marriage essay to go viral! Here's a question: If marriage is on the decline, why are essays with marriage as a keyword wildly popular? Why was Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus on the topseller list for 121 weeks? Why is the book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts a hit? Why are we watching Dr. Phil? Broken Nose, Broken Marriage. Save My Marriage, Save My Life. And why when I saw a friend on Facebook had taken a test that told her who she was married to in a past life was I intrigued? I shouldn’t have cared, but she got Jim Morrison. I wanted Jim. I thought about taking the test, but I worried I’d get Barry Manilow. I had to know. I took the test and got John Lennon!! I couldn’t have been happier. He’s a peace-loving artist. And he’s so cool. You’d think I had better things to do with my time like write a really great marriage essay, one that would go viral. But no. I needed to know who my fantasy husband from a different life was. Here’s what I think. Even though marriage is on the decline, for many of us, a fascination exists. There are things we want to know about relationships: how to make them last, how to make them better, how to fix what’s broken. Aha! The “in” for my marriage essay: When Your Marriage Breaks. Maybe it’s physiological, or sociological, or biological, or historical, but there is something in us that yearns to unlock the mystery of marriage. We want to get it right. Granted, I’ve never been on Oprah, but here’s my marriage advice: Relationships have their rough spots and you have to figure out how to navigate those moments like jujutsu. For example: when your spouse stops listening to you when you talk, start writing. And pray it goes viral.
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