Throw-Away Culture and Celebrating Divorce.

by alyssacogswell

While perusing Buzzfeed today, I found an article or a list or whatever about “divorce cakes”, or the anti-wedding cake. These cakes show an ending marriage in celebration, clearly for one party or the other to say, “I am finally free. I have accomplished this feat in my life.” Today, it seems as though we view divorce as a rite of passage, much like graduating high school, pursuing a college degree, starting a job, getting married, and having children. We now see marriage as something to get through instead of something to enjoy. We see marriage as a temporary state which will have an end or an out somewhere along the way, surely because something will happen because we are content to be discontent with our partner and are looking to blame them for when everything falls apart.


We celebrate throwing something away. Something that we made a vow to try at forever, to hold as sacred and in the highest regard. We get joy from finding our way out of marriage. And this, simply, is a result of throw-away culture.


In throw-away culture, we have a limited attention span and even more limited patience. We want the newest, shiniest thing as soon as it hits the market; we throw away phones that have been out only a year for the newest version, even though it still works perfectly fine. We want information as quickly and simply as we can get it, hence the rise of Twitter and cable news networks and tabloid channels and publications. We want to be new and shiny, just like the materials we desire, so we constantly try to reinvent ourselves with crossfit, yoga, pilates, P90X, juicing, shakes, weight loss pills, going vegan: trends. And when we discover that we can’t really change ourselves like we want to, much less change the person we married into what we think our ideal partner would be like, we become frustrated. We want something new. We want to find the latest and greatest, improve upon the current model.


We forget to treat people like people and instead treat them like commodities, something to toss out and upgrade on a whim. We have enough issues, we don’t want to deal with anyone elses.


We’ve lost seeing others’ hearts and values, and instead see them at objects, impersonalizing them and stripping them of all humanity. Stripping them of any right to say that their life is just as messy and unfulfilling. Stripping them of the dignity to bring their issues to a person who truly cares. Stripping them of the right to be loved and genuinely cared about.


We need to start taking relationships, especially marriage, seriously. Marriage is not your cell phone contract, your cable contract, or even a car. Marriage is life. It is your life when you choose it. It should be the thing you work for most, cherish deepest, fight for the hardest. If there is something in your marriage you want/need to change, let it be you. Let it be your behavior towards your spouse. Let it be increasing your patience quotient. Let it be humbling yourself to pick up the slack where your partner lets you down. Let it be finding methods to better communicate. Let it be to find little (and big) ways to self-sacrifice. Let it be to figure out how to live life content, thankful. (Note: This is not to say stay in an abusive relationship.)

Let us be mature and realize the gravity of the commitment we have made, or the commitment we are about to or hope to make in the future. Marriage is about becoming one; sure, you’re two individuals with differing passions and tastes and habits, but you become one entity. This entity should not be split up because of frustration or boredom. Let us be more mature to solve these problems instead of declaring them “irreconcilable differences” on divorce papers.


I know there have been lots of blogs posts and articles on throw-away culture and lots written about marriage, but take this post to heart. I hope whomever is reading this realizes that our throw-away culture, which began coming into prominence mid-20th century with the inventions of dish washing machines, microwaves, and casseroles, drives us to have a limited attention span, which in turn affects how we view everything, from gadgets to relationships. I hope that this realization turns the reader’s attention to their amount of consumption, to the might-be-present lack of attention span and patience. That the reader begins to think anew about living in the present moment, and only this moment, with gratitude, looking to accommodate others before complaining about others not accommodating them.