When I scroll through my Facebook posts I am visually assaulted with articles that propose to “help” me with my life. The articles are shrouded in utmost urgency through their titles. “The Last Five Things You Need to do Before you Die” or some such message. Each title has a list of things that seem most important and that on the surface will make your life easier, better, fuller, richer… blah, blah, blah. I admit that I fell for these articles at first. I mean who wouldn’t like to know “The Second Best Thing to Take into Retirement?” or “Seven Ways to Tell Your Husband How to Please You More Than Last Night.”
I opened a few and was sorely disappointed. The advice on marriage is often given by a very young person purporting to know all about the secrets of longevity in marriage and yet they have been married for eight months. Or the advice given about raising kids from young mothers of a nine-month old. The advice is not bad or wrong but about an inch deep.
Last week, I opened one titled, “I Gave my Husband Permission to Walk Out.” I am thinking that she must be very young because I find that on certain days, in certain moods, I don’t have a bit of trouble giving my husband permission to walk out and don’t let the door hit him in the behind. Unlike her, I know that he will be back for supper. The title, however, gives the impression that the relationship was in trouble and that she had found the golden key to solving some huge marital problem. Like a nutcase I opened the article and read about how they chose to give up their jobs and live in the country for an easier, better, fuller, richer life. They traded a huge home in the city with huge debts for a much smaller home in the country. I thought it should be titled, “How We Finally Found Common Sense and Paid off our Debts and Started Living Within our Means.” But that is not very urgent is it?
The biggest problem with this kind of verbal manipulation, is that it hurts the institution of marriage and the family.
There is no longer a sense of privacy that protects our families from the vulgarities of the world.
Each title tries to outdo the other. These young people are telling everything about everything within their relationships and their children are not exempt either. Apparently they have no Sacred Places within Relationships! I trust my husband with my deepest feelings and thoughts. Things I do not share with others I can share with him. If I thought that he was going to blast it from fb the next day, I would be less willing to share and our relationship would be weaker.
The sense of urgency is bothersome as well. It creates an atmosphere of fear, competition, and worthlessness. The urgency preys on the tired who are already super busy trying to have fuller lives. Right now. The urgency is ironic in that it actually speaks against what it claims to say. If you do these next five things, you will have INSTANT success in your marriage, family, work, and friendships. Don’t take your time with the raising of your children. Don’t take the time with your relationship. Don’t take the time to make decisions. The sense of urgency creates the idea that shortcuts in life are not only available but preferable. With one short list a couple can solve their problems, have a million in savings, have perfect children, AND be totally fulfilled.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Luckily, my generation did not have to battle the “wisdom” spouting forth from social media pages as we made important decisions in life. We were fortunate enough to tap into the wisdom from The School of Hard Knocks, Money NOT Growing on Trees, and Honey Catching more Flies than Vinegar. No manipulation. Just the brutal fact that in order to succeed you better work hard, be nice and don’t spend more than you make. No urgency. Most caught on real fast.