Marriage is one of the most major, life-altering decisions made by man on a daily basis. In a world where we are in a constant search for true love; a significant other who will hopefully make our days happier and who will help us become better individuals, we find ourselves in situations where we must decide if the person we are with is “marriage material”.
In many cases, more often than we would like to admit, these questions are answered based on a dangerous combination of logic and emotion of which a proper balance is yet to be fathomed. Perhaps this goes back to the fact that making such a decision based on logic alone would probably end up in deciding against it. Why? Because marriage is not a fun ride; it is something that needs constant care, sacrifice and nurturing to make it survive. Marriage is not “the happy ending”. Marriage is merely the beginning of a new journey that will have bumps, obstacles and hard times that will not be easy to overcome. So, when deciding to marry someone; to commit to give your best to make it work, logic would probably tell you to run the other way and it is the emotional part of the decision that makes you jump in and hope for the best.
Being the emotional creatures that we are, we sometimes make this major, life-altering decision under cloudy circumstances that impair our judgments and make us prone to vulnerability. Factors such as love, loneliness and need make us vulnerable to base a decision as important as marriage on the wrong criteria; thus comes the decision of marrying someone from a social class different than yours.
Defining what a different social class is can take up an entire book, but there are major guidelines that we tend to follow when deciding if a person belongs to the same social class as ourselves. Sometimes it’s the level of education, sometimes it’s the district this person lives in and was brought up in. Sometimes it’s the financial level, others it’s the level of open-mindedness and understanding between the person’s family members. Religion plays a major role as well, and so does occupation. The criteria are countless and vary greatly from one person to another; from one social class to another.
So, in an attempt to find your significant other, how prone is marriage between different social classes to succeed?
When a man loves a woman
When a man of a higher social standard loves and marries a woman of a lower social standard, he will usually try to “raise” her to his level of intellect and will try to use a “simpler language” to reach hers. In some cases, he will succeed and the couple will find a common ground where they will meet and spend the time they are together in. Individually, each will indulge in their own old habits and interests, but, when together, they will meet in the middle.
But, what happens when the man fails to “elevate” his woman and “demotes” himself to her level? Or what happens when the old habits come back?
A man who feels that he deserves a better woman than the one he currently shares a life with will usually pursue one. Men are normally less emotional than women, making it easier for them to realize the differences between himself and his spouse earlier on and to find an alternative to the situation. He may stray and pursue other women, or he may divorce his wife and find another, or he may do “the noble thing” and live in a constant struggle between accepting his life the way it is and wanting to rebel against it.
And when a woman loves a man
A woman who believes she belongs to a “higher” social standard than that of her husband will usually think of the family first. The decision or realization that “this isn’t working” will come at a later stage than that of a man and, when it settles in, the struggle begins.
The kids, the family, the social status; such issues will usually prevent a woman from trying to take action against her unhappiness, but in some cases, she will lash out. She will put down her husband, if even unintentionally, and make him feel like he isn’t good enough. In other cases, she will compensate for that unhappiness by finding acceptance elsewhere, perhaps in her children or her work, or maybe in the love of her parents and siblings.
Compensating for the lacks
Too often, a partner who feels he/she is being looked down on by his/her spouse will compensate for that feeling of not being good enough in the most bizarre ways. A woman may become an extravagant spender, trying to “buy” acceptance with materialistic objects. She will exaggerate in trying to look good, thinking that it will make her feel good. Or she may throw herself into the chores of taking care of the household, the kids, her job; anything that gives her satisfaction.
A man may make use of his stronger physique and louder voice and abuse his woman emotionally or physically. He may accuse his wife of gaining weight or not being pretty enough or sexy enough or intellectual enough to meet his friends. In extreme cases, he will even slap her around and keep her from working or seeing her friends or family. They compensate for their “lacking” by asserting their power and dominance.
Each may pursue a lover, or may commit to a life of unhappiness for the sake of the kids. In any case, life becomes a struggle and the person begins to wonder what they saw in that person the day they decided they were a good match.
There are exceptions to every rule
Upon agreeing that marriage, by default, is a struggle, and assuming that the norm is marrying someone from a similar social standard, the rule here would be that marriage between different social standards is an even greater struggle. This is because the differences between the spouses are more and the manner by which they rationalize matters vary greater than that of a couple who relate to the same social levels and manners of thinking.
With this being said, it is only fair to say that there are exceptions to this rule, very good exceptions. There are couples that are mature enough and tolerant enough to reconcile the differences in their upbringing and reach a middle ground where they are both comfortable. They succeed in keeping the love alive and take positive initiatives to make the relationship work. Sadly, we all think we are that exception when, and if, we make such a decision. But we have to be realistic; exceptions are – by default – a minority.
When love goes out the window, what do we have left?
As humans, we are imperfect; we are not always “noble”. It is how we were created. We are self-centered beings by nature and, no matter how tolerant a person is, there will come a point when that person will break. The way we react to this “breaking” varies drastically, but break we will.
When the sounds he makes while eating make your skin crawl, or when the way she loudly chews gum or laughs makes you want to slap her senseless, what do you do?
When infidelity becomes an option, when communication becomes impossible, when the scars are just too deep, what do you do? When the smallest daily details of your life with your spouse become unbearable, what do you do? When the upbringing of your own children is at stake, what do you do?
Do you try to remember and reminisce on the reason why you chose that person at first; the thing that attracted you to that person from the start? Or do you try to make a change?