Why is Marriage Portrayed so Negatively on TV?

jeff dunham and walter

Image from commons.wikimedia.org

My husband was watching a Jeff Dunham special on TV the other day, and one of the show’s characters, Walter (a grumpy old man puppet), made a remark that really made me upset. He was talking about his wife said something to the effect of, “When you’re dating, all you want to do is make out in the car. When you’re married, all you want to do is run her over with the car.”

Now, I know it’s just a joke coming from a silly puppet, but I think that’s completely besides the point. It certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve heard someone on TV make a remark about how much they hate their wife. Al Bundy made some kind of comment to that effect each episode of Married With Children. More common themes include men complaining about how all their women do is whine and nag, spend all their husbands’ money, and took their freedom and fun away.

Is it becoming OK to despise your wife? To the point you joke about killing her?! What on earth does it say to still be married to this woman then? I would hope that if a marriage got to that point where you can’t stand your spouse you would no longer be together. Although I do believe divorce is becoming too much of an easy escape in times of trouble these days, but that’s a whole separate blog post.

That comment from Walter was even more painful for me, thinking of how a man, an actual man (Jeff Dunham) wrote that joke. Jeff himself was married for many years, and now is divorced. Maybe he’s just bitter and writing jokes fueled from that emotion, but that doesn’t make it right. Or funny.

I know there’s plenty of other shows on TV that do portray marriage in a better light, or at least in a more real way, but those are few and far between, and I doubt many impressionable youth are tuning in to those shows. I’d like to think that these off-color comments are not making their way into the minds of young people (and adults!), but I’m sure to some extent they are. The more you see or hear something, the more you start to believe it.

It makes me sad to see marriage, which is such a wonderful thing, joked about. Marriage is hard and each couple will have their arguments and issues, but never should it be OK to make comments about how much you hate your spouse. Marriage is sacred. You say your vows to this person to love and honor them till death do you part. (Cue another joke from Walter about the death part.) I don’t know about you, but I meant mine.

Is marriage just a big joke to Hollywood? Doing some quick Googling while writing this post, I found an article that said television can affect how we feel about marriage and our own spouse. I know it’s true to some extent for me. I love the TV show, King of Queens, and in that show, the wife Carrie is often nagging and making fun of her own husband, calling him fatty and other less than loving things. I don’t call my husband names, but I do find myself nagging more than I should, possibly because I see it so much on TV, so it becomes more “acceptable.”

But at what point did it ever become acceptable to make marriage a giant joke? Your spouse the object of ridicule and hateful remarks? I, for one, don’t like it one bit. Not that I know what to do about it, or what my point was writing this post, but I just wanted to get that off my chest. Phew.

The weird thing I did to feel like a grown-up

There’s a bunch of things you should do once you become a wife. I did a lot of the standard ones, but I also had a list of some bizarre things that I wanted to do to feel more like a wife and an adult and less of a cheap college kid. So finally, six years after my official cheap college kid status, I have crossed one of those off.

What is it? Buying real pajamas. No more ratty old T-shirts I got for a random volunteer project in high school or those Pink sweatpants that once were cool but now have multiple spilled cheese stains and don’t even look that good.

I also have to credit one of the cutest reality TV shows ever to encouraging this. When Bill and Jenn from The Little Couple were in the process of adopting their son, Bill decided he should also get some real pajamas so his son wouldn’t have to see dear old dad in his skivvies in the morning. Makes sense.

My mom always wore real pajamas too. Like pant and top sets from the actual sleepwear section of stores. Of course in high school I thought that was weird and wore my Soffee shorts and said ratty (albeit less so then) T-shirts.

I must admit that sometimes I don’t wear much to bed now. I’m like an old lady these days and get hot flashes at night, so I just wear a bandeau bra and underpants to stay cooler (as in temperature, not trendy!). TMI? Sorry, blog world. I’m trying to keep it real here. Then I thought about what if there’s a fire at night and I don’t have time to put on real clothes before escaping? That’d be awful!

And so to Target I went. Thankfully I went at a time when Cartwheel had some coupons for pajamas, so I grabbed several items that were also on sale for a double shopping win. It was important to get things that let my skin breathe and were super comfortable, and I’m pretty happy with what I bought. I came away with the set pictured here, a warmer bird print flannel shirt for the winter months and this super cute pink chemise (whatever that is. I call it a dress).

pajamas from target

I don’t know why, but this silly little thing is a milestone I’m pretty proud of. Wearing real pajamas is just one of the weird things that makes me feel like an adult. That and meal planning, budgeting, talking about 401ks, saving for a house and thinking about kids too, but pajamas was an easy accomplishment.

Is that weird? I feel like it is. But who cares. I have new pajamas that I got on sale!

My First Married Thanksgiving

Well, we made it through our first big holiday together as a married couple! It was a good day. We didn’t spend it with family since mine is so far away, and his is closer, but was still too far to make a one-day trip since I work tomorrow. We had what one of our friends called a “Friendsgiving!”

Some of Cal’s bandmates and friends came over, so I cooked for a bunch of boys. Which made me feel useful. I like hosting people and cooking for an army even if only a small handful come. We had turkey meatballs (because a real turkey was just too daunting), a ham, green bean casserole (made with my mom’s home-grown and canned green beans–you just can’t beat ’em), creamed corn, stuffing, my famous deviled eggs, rolls, and pumpkin cheesecake, which is my favorite Paula Deen recipe that I make every year, regardless where we are. And hot apple cider. Yum.

Even though it was a bunch of boys who I know don’t care about appearance, I still felt a little inadequate and insecure about our home. I just always had this vision that once I was married, I’d be in this nice house with nice stuff. And while we served the meal on our nice new plates and silverware from the wedding, we still sat at the family hand-me-down table from my grandma with chairs with nicks, broken backs and varnish coming off. The tablecloth was wrinkly, and the runner didn’t match. The small things like that sometimes make me feel like I’m not a proper wife. I know the important thing was that we spent it with good people over good food, but I long for the day when we can host a holiday in a nice big dining room with pretty chairs and matching table accessories, then sit in the family room with a fire going. That’s my dream.

I know it’s OK we don’t have that right now. We will some day. So for now, I am thankful we had friends to spend the day with, that we had a great meal, and have a roof over our heads in the first place. After we ate, the boys watched football and I dozed off in the recliner. Then realized I should be productive in the rest of my day and got up to do some writing, pack my lunch of leftovers for tomorrow, and call my mom.

What did you do for Thanksgiving?