November 8, 2013 by Dadinator
So there was this post that went viral. And there have been some replies to it, some of them very funny. So there’s a bandwagon. So I’m jumping on it. I think my take on it will be slightly different to most though…. Because honestly marriage is about you. Just not in the way the original poster thinks of it.
English is a stupid language. It’s hard to understand, breaks its own rules, is chock full of irregular words and keeps on changing all the time. A good friend of mine once described English as “That language that hangs around in dark alleys and beats up other languages to steal their verbs”. It’s an amalgam of a bunch of European languages, ancient and modern. English owes a lot to Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, German and many more from the other side of the world too.
Why open a post with a note on grammar? No, I don’t want to immediately make everyone stop reading, I have a point I swear.. The “Marriage is not about you” post was a wonderful read. I felt myself drawn into the image of self-sacrifice that writer draws, not only his own self-sacrifice but his wife’s. It’s emotional and powerful, and it’s a noble aim – give yourself over to another person, put them first and have the same thing done for you. Put them before you and forge a successful relationship. It’s problematic though. No one likes a martyr. Sure marriage demands you to be selfless sometimes, but how sustainable is a marriage based around putting yourself last? Maybe the other person’s selflessness balances it out a bit? The point is that it’s complicated, and (as John points out in the post) a happy husband/wife is a better husband/wife.
Of course the other issue is that if/when a couple has kids the dynamic shifts again. Who comes first? You? Your partner? Or your kids? The simple answer is: it depends…. Okay that wasn’t a simple answer, but that’s because there isn’t a simple answer. Life is a complex little beast.
In English we have “pronouns”. I, you, he, she, it are the singular pronouns. We, you and they are the plural pronouns. You use them to address people (like in the first word of this sentence), or you use them in place of a person’s name so one does not say: “Jenny goes to school and Jenny brings her bag”. One says ‘Jenny goes to school and she brings her bag”.
So what? Well let’s hone in for a second on the word “you”. You can be singular and plural. It can apply to a single person: “You are looking well today”. Or it can a apply to a group of people. “You’re all working really well today, well done!”. Can you tell I’m a school teacher from my examples. Geez, classrooms on the brain….
Anyway, back to my point, other languages are not so confusing.
- French: Tu(singular)/Vous(plural),
- Spanish Tu(singular)/Vostros(plural),
- Italian tu(singular)/voi(plural)
- German Du(singular)/Ihr(plural)
- Latin Tu(singular)/Vos(plural)
*I HAD to throw Latin in, I love ancient languages.
But not English, no English just has you(singular)/you(plural). Silly, but that’s the way it is (unless you start using “yous” or “y’all” or “you guys” which usually sounds terrible). See, you is the same for both singular and plural. There is you(singular), and you(plural).
So, back to the original post: “Marriage isn’t about you”. So I would assert marriage IS about you. It’s about you(plural). It’s for the two of you, or the three, four, five, six or more of you. There’s a greater good to be considered once you form a family, and it’s the lens through which you view your life and make your decisions. You can’t myopically focus on a single person in the group (Don’t tell The Lad I said that) at the expense of the others and/or yourself, you work together to achieve what’s best for all of YOU.
So my marriage, it’s not about me. It’s not about The Mamanator. It’s not about the kids (again, don’t tell them I said that I’d get in trouble). It’s about us. All of us. And your marriage is to. It’s about you…… plural.