French bread sandwich with fries.

French bread sandwich with fries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week has been rough for a divorced gal.  First there was the excerpts on Jezebel.com from “Love Italian Style” by Melissa Gorga of Real Housewives of New Jersey. In her marriage advice book, she gives tips such as:

Do whatever it takes to please your man

To be on the same level, everyone has to get off the high horse. I don’t care if the woman makes more money than the man, if he’s a janitor and she’s the president. After a fourteen-hour workday, if a man comes home and there’s no dinner on the table, and his wife is on the phone, watching TV, or on the computer ignoring him, he won’t feel respected.

Don’t poop in front of your husband

Girls don’t poop. Me, never have. Never will. It just doesn’t happen. Or, that’s what Joe thinks! We’ve been married for nine years, and he has never once seen or smelled my business. How have I pulled this off? I don’t do it when he’s around or awake. In an emergency, I have my ways of pooping so he won’t hear, smell, or see. It’s a challenge.

Marital rape is completely acceptable – From her husband Joe

Men, I know you think your woman isn’t the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says “no,” turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated.

And this from a man who won’t even change a diaper.

I don’t feed babies, or change the diapers. My father never wiped my ass, and I don’t wipe my babies’ either.

Really Joe you won’t change a diaper?  Even my super-macho, traditional, auto mechanic father changed the occasional diaper and that was in the seventies!

Then within 24 hours of the Gorga advice book, Gawker pointed out a piece in the NYPost about a woman who has a noble pursuit.  Her boyfriend promised to give her an engagement ring in return for 300 unique sandwiches.   A few of my friends quipped that she should turn him into a sandwich, if he doesn’t deliver on his promise.

I want to grab all of my divorced friends en masse and and stage an intervention for both of these women. Melissa Gorga has three children and appears completely financially dependent upon her husband.  I’ll give her a bit more leeway, although I do not envy her marriage in the slightest.  It sounds more like a nightmare than a fairytale.

However, I still see some hope for the sandwich lady.  Although she is living with her boyfriend, they aren’t married yet.  The national statistics for marriage are not that promising, with the divorce rate still hovering at 40-50%.  I want to ask her the following questions before she considers making one more delightful creation of bread, cheese and meat.

  • Do you own property? Unless you have a good prenup your property could be at jeopardy.
  • Do you have assets? – Assets you have before a marriage, can also be challenged in a divorce.  In most cases you should be OK, but anything is possible in a divorce.
  • Do you earn significantly more than your boyfriend? – You might end up paying spousal support and child support post-split, depending on the circumstances.
  • Is your income tied to your boyfriend’s income or employment? – Never assume you won’t lose your income post-divorce.
  • Do you have plans to have children?  How would you feel about splitting time with your kids in a shared custody agreement? Courts are imperfect and anything is possible with child custody.
  • Don’t plan on moving post-divorce, if you share custody of your kids – There are exceptions of course, but long-distance moves are tricky as your former husband could contest any move that involves his children.
  • Have you had a history of mental illness, problems with substance abuse or other self-destructive behavior?  – A divorce can bring it all back in spades.

Marriage isn’t a fairy tale and divorce is hell on earth.  Why any woman would view marriage as the ultimate goal in 2103 is mind-boggling.

Marriages fall apart for any number of reasons:

  • Infidelity
  • Financial disagreements
  • Fraud
  • Constant fighting
  • Growing apart
  • Abandonment
  • Untreated substance abuse or mental illness
  • Abuse – physical and emotional
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Neglect

Every future bride thinks, she will do everything it takes to keep her marriage together.  What every divorced person knows, some splits are extremely one-sided and a marriage can dissolve with little to no warning.  One spouse can decide to end a marriage, and there is very little the other spouse can do about it.

We all want happiness and love in our lives, but no one should force us to compromise ourselves for that contentment.  Making 300 sandwiches isn’t that horrible, and she’ll probably get some book deal out of it. But why won’t he propose without conditions?  Why would Melissa Gorga compromise even the simple act of using the bathroom?  Why is she OK with her husband forcing sex on her? Why is having that piece of paper so important to any modern woman?

I’m sick of seeing overly elaborate proposal videos with flash mobs, chorus girls and fireworks.  I’m tired of scrolling through ridiculously long engagement websites.  And as beautiful as your wedding was, there is no need to post all 3,000 of your photos on Facebook.  I love weddings and I’ll look through dozens of photos, just don’t give us the proofs!

Marriage is not the end all be all to happiness. Single women have just as much value as married gals, and a marriage is no panacea for all of life’s troubles.   My own life became far more complicated and difficult post-divorce, than it ever was before I said, “I Do.”

Put the panini maker down slowly, walk away from an abusive husband and learn to love yourself, before placing so much value on an antiquated institution.  You really don’t need “the ring” as much as you think you do.  If you don’t believe me, ask any of your many divorced friends and family members, they’ll tell you – marriage ain’t all that.

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2 comments on “To Reality Stars and Sandwich Ladies – Marriage Ain’t All That

  1. Lucille Grant

    Excellent blog Juliet. The wedding day might be a girl’s dream but marriage may be a very different prospect in reality and if a guy teats you badly or without respect even before rings are exchanged then she has no-one else to blame but herself.

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