Friday, August 31, 2012

The State of Relationships and the Death of Values in America

             This being an election year we hear a lot from the GOP about the "Death of Traditional Marriage" with a lot of focus against the same-sex marriage movement. After listening to this for some time now and watching the community around me I have come to realize that 'Traditional Marriage' and our value system is in fact dying but I don't mean 'Traditional Marriage' as in one woman and one man but rather two people sticking through things and working things out and acting as a partnership. I remember exchanging vows with my husband and I'm pretty sure it said 'Til Death Do You Part' not 'Until the Honeymoon is Over'. I'm not saying that people should be stuck in a loveless marriage or where there is abuse taking place but rather that instead of running at the first signs of things being bumpy that they see it through. Many relationships seem to break down over two key things: Communication Break Down and Financial Stability. Though these are not the only reasons.
            As I look around at the people I have come into contact with I'm noticing my generation (I am very sad to admit I'm apart of this generation) is extremely selfish and their ideas on relationships seem a bit off. They think there is some magic bullet that makes them instantly fall in love with someone else, that the level of passion should continue through all the years the same as their first few and that they should be able to maintain the same level of independence and not try to share in their partners passions. I've also noticed a great number of divorces and single parents.
            Now I want to make this very clear sometimes divorce is unavoidable and beneficial to all members of the family so I'm not saying everyone is wrong for getting a divorce just that it shouldn't be the first step and my husband and I almost made that same mistake so I'm not looking down upon people just trying to relay what lessons I've learned for my own life. I'd also like to make it clear that single parents can do an excellent job raising their children and I know they work very hard and it is very stressful so this isn't to bad mouth them I give many single parents great deal of props for all that they do.
            What does bother me is there are so many throw away relationships with single parents and divorced parents they go through so many relationships and I can only wonder what their children will think when they start having relationships of their own. My point of view may be bias because admittedly my parents have always been married to each other and never split up and the same with my husband's parents. Now I don't care if the relationship is heterosexual or same-sex I think that this applies to both because I don't think that it is your gender that matters but rather the love, care and work that is put in to maintain a stable household. Children thrive in stability and in the end that is who I'm worried about.
            The entire society really has started to evolve into this 'throw away' generation though where it is cheaper and easier to toss away your old TV’s, clothing, computers, etc. than it is to make or repair items yourself or through local business. This idea of not striving to make, reuse or fix anything has translated into relationships and the work place where people are sticking out their hand expecting others to give while not working themselves. Thankfully that is not everyone otherwise we'd be in a whole heap of trouble but it is enough people that it puts a strain of everyone else so we've become more closed in and less likely to go that extra mile to help. We are more likely to stop to watch an accident site than we are to pull over to help someone with a flat tire. That's just WRONG!
            We need to treat each thing in life as a gift and not abuse the gifts in which we receive. We need to think beyond ourselves and think of the examples we are setting.
            Hard work should be rewarded in all aspects of our lives and we should respect ourselves and respect our families. If you have people dependent on you then they should always be taken into consideration and be shown not everything in this world is disposable but rather everything has value.
            People used to take pride in their work it was a sign of adulthood for young men to be able to go into the work force so they could have families of their own and women worked and struggled not very long ago for equality and the chance to enter the work force yet today even I’m guilty of, ‘ho hum I have to go to work again, I don’t want to go to work’. We take this chance at making a better lives for ourselves for granted and that is partially because there are so many people around today that are handed so much stuff. Now don’t get me wrong I appreciate the social programs we have in place and without many of those my husband and I would not have had the chance to succeed but we also had to use that chance and work very hard on having the ability to succeed.
            People used to take pride in their homes because it was something they had to work so very hard for. Now my husband and I did benefit from not having to make a 10% down payment on our home but we also bought within reason (which is also why our home has so many problems you get what you pay for) but many other people are thinking “Oh I can make a home payment that is 50% (or more) of my income,” not factoring in all the other costs, saving money, or anything else they look at it more like ‘well everyone else has one’ instead of what is best for their family.
People used to take pride in their neighborhoods and know their neighbors and watch out for each other but now we are too focused on ourselves and too selfish with our time (I’m guilty of this one too).
            People used to take pride in their families and never aired dirty laundry (oh I’m so guilty of this one! And I know it). Yes, they were just keeping up appearances and there might have been many internal conflicts but they treated their families like people today treat smiling. Many people will say even when you don’t feel like smiling you need to smile to help yourself and for the people around you well that same concept used to apply to the family home.
            We may have moved forward in some social aspects but along the way we’ve lost some key things. I’m not saying we need to go back to the classic TV view of the 1950’s because that would drive me nuts personally! What I am saying is we need to take pride in ourselves, our relationships, our homes and our jobs. Stop sticking our hands out and do for yourself. We all need a little help once and awhile but make sure it is once and awhile and not all the time. Let the programs be there when people are down because we all know it is a hard time these days with so many layoffs but don’t rely on it or count it forever. If you are able to get off programs don’t whine because you don’t have that help or that you are receiving less help now be proud that you have worked yourself through a hard period because these things aren’t owed to you rather they were built with the good intentions of your fellow citizens.
            It does not matter your race, religion, gender, nationality or sexual preference we are Americans and we can do this we’ve just lost our way a little bit and it is time to regain the morals and values that we once had!

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