If seven out of 10 children flunked out of school or demonstrated a complete inability to adapt to the classroom and learn basic curriculum, everyone would lose their minds.
The top priority would be to fix this totally broken and dysfunctional system. There would be plenty of blame to go around. But the basic premise would boil down to: Ummm. Maybe we’re doing it wrong!
Education is already one of the most-important political and social issues of our time, and that’s with 90 percent of our students graduating high school or achieving an equivalent degree. About 34 percent earn a bachelor’s or higher degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
So, I got to thinking. And I came up with this: What the fuck, world!?
SEVEN OUT OF 10 MARRIAGES FAIL AND NO ONE IS DOING DICK ABOUT IT!
To be clear, 70 percent of marriages don’t end in divorce (but more than half do). According to Ty Tashiro, who wrote The Science of Happily Ever After, 70 percent of marriages end in divorce, or feature two people who resent the hell out of one another.
I’m just trying to understand! Plenty of people care about this. It’s impossible for us not to. Divorce affects 95 percent of us!
But there’s no national or global dialogue about the problem. I’m having trouble understanding why.
Maybe People are Out of Fucks to Give
But it couldn’t have started out that way. As a percentage, how many couples do you think wanted to get divorced on their wedding day? Like, con artists aside, we’re dealing in the zero range, right? Right.
So everyone REALLY gave a shit and was like “Hell yeah, let’s get married and love each other forever!!!” and then seven-ish years later were like: “Honestly? This is shitty. I hate my life. I have no more fucks to give.”
Then, BOOM. Divorce. And everyone’s sad. And all the kids cry. And we get boyfriend and girlfriend and step-parent drama. Everyone has less money afterward. It’s seriously so unbelievably horrible and shitty in most instances that despite trying hard, so hard, I can’t come up with multiple reasons why this is happening more than half the time.
There can only be one reason.
We’re Doing It Wrong
Just own it. You’re fucking shit up right now. I know you are. Because you’re a person just like me and even the really, really, really, really, really exceptional ones mess up.
If you’re part of the mythical 30 percent, you needn’t read further. I’m not talking to you. Just carry on being better at life than me and trust that I appreciate you more than you know.
The rest of you? You’re in this pile of shit with me and I’m begging you to start being part of the solution.
“Hey Matt! Why are you being all snide and cheeky today?”
Because of Scott, that’s why. Who’s Scott? Glad you asked.
I wrote a series of posts called An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands and through the magic of SEO and social media sharing, a lot of people (relative to my audience) read them.
Vol. 1 gets read the most these days, and yesterday Scott read it. I don’t think he liked it, because he said: Fuck women! They can’t be pleased! No matter what you do, it’s never good enough! They’re intolerable, crazy and unreasonable! And I’ll never be happy as long as I’m married to her but hopefully I will be happy when I’m dead!
I’m paraphrasing. But he pretty much wrote that.
Some guy. I don’t know him. Maybe he’s awesome. Might be. He’s married with kids and wants to play golf on Saturday and to be left the fuck alone about it.
Which is fine. I’m not privy to his family’s wants and needs and financial situation and how the decision to play golf as an escape from them affects everyone psychologically and emotionally.
Scott could be anyone because millions of men feel this way. MILLIONS. Just like the millions of women who are frustrated with Scott because he doesn’t understand that it’s not the golf that upsets her. Maybe she feels like he values his friends more than his family and it hurts her. Maybe she feels like the money would be better spent on needs for their children and it erodes her trust. Maybe he’s so emotionally disconnected at home that she thinks he’s having an affair and every time he leaves for five hours it triggers inner turmoil because all she can think about is him being with some imaginary woman and: how is she ever going to make it on her own after the divorce?
It goes both ways. I don’t like to write about it because I don’t like to point fingers. Pointing fingers causes defensiveness and then things don’t get better. But sure, ladies. Let’s deal with it. You’re occasionally awful, too. Maybe give this a read and tell me whether it rings any bells: I Wasn’t Treating My Husband Fairly, And It Wasn’t Fair.
I blame dudes all the time because they’re wrong more than you. On balance, I really believe that. But, yeah. You are also capable of extraordinary shittiness, ladies.
But I’m going to trust you to own it after your other half starts owning his. Someone has to fire up the healing train, and I’m perfectly okay with men taking the lead.
Here’s the Thing
We have to fix this. How? If I figure it out, I won’t have any money problems. I don’t have any answers and I’ve never claimed to. But I know one very important thing.
WHAT WE’RE DOING NOW IS THE WRONG WAY.
You’re doing it wrong! Right now. (Not you, 30 percent!) And I just want to know what’s so hard about doing it differently. Try a new way!
“If she is not happy with all that shit then we should fucking leave them,” Scott said. Scott’s angry.
Well, Scott, I’m fucking angry. Because your way is BULLSHIT. It’s a massive failed experiment (70 PERCENT, man!) and you perpetuating it is just about the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.
Getting mad? Leaving? Complaining? Cheating? Playing more golf? Putting your kids through divorce?
That’s your grand plan? That’s the solution to all your problems?
Try Something Different
So, I wrote back to Scott. Because I want him to try something most people don’t. I want him to take the road less traveled and save his family because that’s hero shit. And I said something like this:
We live in a world where everyone is always asking: “What’s in it for me?”
People get married with the idea that their partner is going to make them happy, and so often failing to ask: “What can I do to make them happy?”
And we wonder why everyone is feeling miserable and shitty all the time.
So, again, I ask: Why not try a different tactic? It might seem a little radical. But, desperate times, and all that.
You give all you have to give. Every day. And you make your marriage about the other person. About their wants and needs and happiness.
Expect and demand (kindly) the same in return. And then maybe you get everything and more you want while providing the same to your partner.
So you have two people. Two people who give to the other more than they take for themselves.
I don’t know much, but I do know this: No one’s doing this (again, not talking to you, 30 percent!) and everyone’s getting divorced or wanting to because their relationships are broken and shitty.
So maybe my way is worth trying. And yeah. It’s super hard. All of our human being baggage gets in the way of executing this plan to perfection. I don’t think it’s easy. I just think it’s worth it.
And I’m becoming more and more convinced this is how we can get a bunch of people to wake up in the morning not feeling angry and sad and lonely and shitty and afraid all the time.
This is how.
Give more than you take.
I did it wrong. And everything broke.
And now you’re doing it wrong, too.
But you don’t have to.