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Home » What You Don’t Know About Marriage by Jenna McCarthy (Transcript)

What You Don’t Know About Marriage by Jenna McCarthy (Transcript)

Jenna McCarthy at TED Talks

Full text of author Jenna McCarthy’s talk: What You Don’t Know About Marriage at TED Talks conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio: Jenna McCarthy_ What you don’t know about marriage


Every year in the United States alone, 2,077,000 couples make a legal and spiritual decision to spend the rest of their lives together – and not to have sex with anyone else, ever.

He buys a ring, she buys a dress. They go shopping for all sorts of things. She takes him to Arthur Murray for ballroom dancing lessons. And the big day comes. And they’ll stand before God and family and some guy her dad once did business with, and they’ll vow that nothing, not abject poverty, not life-threatening illness, not complete and utter misery will ever put the tiniest damper on their eternal love and devotion.

These optimistic young bastards promise to honor and cherish each other through hot flashes and mid-life crises and a cumulative 50-pound weight gain, until that far-off day when one of them is finally able to rest in peace. You know, because they can’t hear the snoring anymore.

And then they’ll get stupid drunk and smash cake in each others’ faces and do the Macarena, and we’ll be there showering them with towels and toasters and drinking their free booze and throwing birdseed at them every single time — even though we know, statistically, half of them will be divorced within a decade.

Of course, the other half won’t, right? They’ll keep forgetting anniversaries and arguing about where to spend holidays and debating which way the toilet paper should come off of the roll. And some of them will even still be enjoying each others’ company when neither of them can chew solid food anymore.

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