Is a peaceful and drama-free marriage possible?

I think the closest (and married) people in my life pretty much did their level best to singlehandedly destroy any hope whatsoever of me ever experiencing a drama-free and happy marriage.  People with successful marriages too, mind you.

They ruined me. RUINED ME I say.

To which they argue: Nyet nyet, they destroyed nothing… besides a fantasy.

But I AM my fantasy! Or… my fantasy is me? Well something like that. I’m sure that makes sense to somebody around here. Or at least the idealism and fantasy of hoping and believing a peaceful marriage was entirely possible.

To which a married friend replies, “Once there was an episode of X-Files, where Mulder found a genie that lived in a lamp. And he wished for peace…

…and every single person on the planet besides him disappeared.”


You know, the first 30 years of my life contained enough drama to span 10 lifetimes. My life then was like being trapped in an episode of General Hospital, but where the video gets stuck and I wind up reliving the same insufferably melodramatic scene, over and over and over and over again.

Quite frankly, I had enough. I need quiet, peace, still waters, wisping clouds and gentle breezes. As an introvert, I crave it, yearn for it, pine for it.

But sadly, as I have come to learn from the enlightened sages of my generation, this affinity for peace and quiet is really a reflection of my desire to suppress women and perpetually keep them in the dark chains of patriarchal bondage and despair.

No, seriously, there’s actually an article out there that says this. The desire for peace and quiet is apparently a male trait that is in truth a subconscious need by male brutes to keep women from making themselves heard. Or at least that’s sort of the conclusion this clearly enlightened feminist arrives at after reading the NYT article, “I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet.”

And yet. Something off-putting lurks behind Prochnik’s whole Mr. Darling “a little less noise there” routine. Maybe it’s just that the expectation that one can work in pin-drop quiet feels very … male, or at least alien to a lot of women’s experience. We’ve usually got a colleague asking us for help with the copy machine (we’re supposed to be the office team players) or a kid crying in the other room (we log more of the child care hours) or a floor to vacuum (ditto the housework hours). Generally, we’re taught to deal with these distractions rather than demand a lofty silence befitting our magnificent alpha brains.

I give up. Clearly I’m not smart enough to understand the introvert’s deference for quietude is in reality just another battlefront in the WAR AGAINST WOMEN!!11!eleventy!!

A girl runs from a guy giving flowers
A girl’s reaction to my suggestion that we spend a quiet afternoon at the local arboretum.

So lesson learned: asking for a quiet and peaceful marriage is a clearly sexist and grotesquely chauvinistic thing to do.  I’m sorry.  I truly apologize.  I shall now attempt to rectify this egregious error and learn how to reintroduce as much drama back into my life as possible, using tips I pick up by watching the last few seasons of New Girl.

Author: Frank

One man journeys through history and the world in an epic search for truth, justice... and great pizza.

27 thoughts on “Is a peaceful and drama-free marriage possible?”

  1. IMO, drama is a marker of an immature person. We’re all more or less drama queens when we are angsty teenagers, after all. The problem is we are no longer expected and encouraged to grow up. Growing up means understanding that you are not the centre of the universe, other people’s desires are just as legitimate and important as yours, some adaptation and compromise is needed to function socially and that the world owes you nothing. Nowadays, however, people are told they are special, they should follow their dreams or whatever, they shouldn’t change for anybody etc. Shouldn’t change for anybody?! If you don’t change you stagnate, if you stagnate what’s the point of you existing?

    Women are drama queens more often than men simply because they are encouraged to be by society, and especially the entertainment industry; we are told we are princesses, so we behave like them. If from my earliest age I see that the appropriate response to stress is throwing a fit, then that’s what I’ll do when faced with stress. If I’m fortunate enough to have a sensible father I lose the notion pretty quickly and am happier in the long run. Most women today don’t have the luxury, however, so they turn out to be spoilt and drama queens. Men too, increasingly.

    As for your original question: a drama-free marriage is not possible, IMO. There will always be vexation and it’s not easy, at least at the beginning, learning to share everything with another person and spend so much time together – time of sickness, stress, problems, outside pressure etc. A very peaceful marriage, however, is very possible. Both parties must want it, so the best thing is to choose your spouse carefully. That’s what you are doing, so you’re on the right track. My husband and I are both introverts, even though he is more so than me, and we thrive in peace and quiet; we are well-paired. If you marry somebody who craves excitement and creates drama when they get bored… well, you can imagine.

    The best of luck, as always!

    1. Anja, I agree, I think that’s why an introverted woman would be a better match for me, even though there’s merit in an extrovert who can help you get out of your shell and learn to connect with the human race every now and then.

      I know even the best of marriage is going to have friction at times, but there seems to be too many who want to create drama just for the sake of creating drama, because they need to “feel alive” or some such silliness.

      Even worse are the poor women who themselves are models of serenity and peace, but their families are CRAZY. Something else to consider, you’re not marrying the girl, you’re also marrying into her family, and if they’re a neurotic, insane lot, you might never enjoy a moment’s peace again. O_O

  2. there are people that create drama for the sake of creating drama, and there are those that avoid it at all costs. both groups of people are tiresome in the long run and i’ can’t stand either. both are equally fake, just in opposite ways. the drama queens are annoying because they blow small and utterly unimportant things way out of proportions and tend to think that just because they’re more emotional about sth, therefore they’re right. well, save the drama for yo’ mama. those that avoid the drama are just plain boring groupies, that will never say anything that could possibly in any way offend anyone anyhow.

    having said that i’m team miley all the way. at least she’s not another boring american popstar like beyonce or rihanna. yeah, she looks stupid, she acts stupid, i say stupid is still better than fake.

    1. ava,

      I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. I have every respect for your opinion, but I cannot help but feel, myself, that society requires a certain degree of fakeness (I know that’s not a word 🙂 ). People have very selfish, animalistic desires. In order to be able to cohabit peacefully, to not curtail somebody else’s freedom by exhibiting out own, we have to rein in those urges. That’s how we develop manners – ways of behaviour created so as not to offend or hurt others. The dismantling of manners that we see in media and society today is definitely an attack on what’s natural, but it also leads back to troops of monkeys. I cannot salute that, so I say fake is not necessarily bad; it depends *why* somebody is suppressing their instincts – if it’s for the benefit of others and the good of the community as a whole that is a good thing IMO.

    2. Ava, that’s funny because I think Miley’s cuckoo streak here is also an act. 😉

      I don’t think it’s fair to case those who avoid drama as being fake, at least I know in my case it was the result of an awful childhood that eventually culminated in me losing nearly everything I had, including my home. All because of drama. It’s not something I want to repeat. I’m actually inclined to think the girl I’d end up with would have a similar upbringing as well. When you see the adverse effects of a destructive family and marriage impacting you as a child, you tend to place far, far more value on the virtues of a drama free and peaceful relationship, plus I think the shared camaraderie would help solidify our bond as well. Of course that’s probably me just being idealistic again.

    3. Anja,
      ok, my thougths are usually pretty random and i tend to skip the connections that in my mind are obvious, but outside my head probably aren’t so 🙂 thanks for patiently pointing that out, now let me explain.

      i do agree that manners, and social norms require some degree of fakeness from an individual, but it’s like a leash that still gives you plenty of room to move.

      now we are all different kinds of people, we have different personalities and experiences which will result in differences in how we view certain things (how we feel, what we think, how we process that and how we vent). it’s the most natural thing that no 2 given individuals will agree on everything always, therefore when it comes to whatever type of relationships the conflicts sooner or later will arise. to me both being overdramatic and avoiding any disagreement is equally fake and equally immature, as you call it. the social norms and manners really have nothing to do with it: here you have 2 dogs to play with, only one has rabies and the other one is stuffed. you can put them on the ‘leash’ of social norms if you want to, but they’re still no fun to play with.

      it’s also natural that when people are being themselves, when they make their own decisions, they also make mistakes. and as stupid or embarassing as some of them might be, i will choose that over flawlessly-perfect-phoney-puppets, for whom everything is just amazing ( ).

      i just happen to prefer dealing with people that are real (even if i don’t like them), than with those that constantly pretend (even if they’re nice)


      “I don’t think it’s fair to case those who avoid drama as being fake”- ok, i was refering to individuals that avoid any disagreement, the human chameleons, that will always agree with you or even quote you when talking to you just to impress you, the groupie type. being dramatic is one aberration, this is another. one leaves you with neurosis, the other one with paranoia 😉 avoid both. seek and ye shall find peace.

  3. Unfortunately, we live in a generation where the peace and solace that men yearn for, especially the introverts, is long taken away unless we are willing to make incredible personal sacrifices, including, at least for a season forfeiting our natural desires in order to fulfill and fill our spiritual needs. It’s one thing to have grown up in a chaotic household with parents that were either warring or absent, but when we grow into adulthood, responsibility and personal accountability become ours to handle. Society, the law, and the people around us will hold us responsible and accountable for it. To blame all the drama queens’ malignant and malcontent behavior on their lack of a parental father figure is a complete cop-out. Yes, fatherlessness is a huge problem in our society and it’s getting worse each day. But we all have personal choice as to what we choose to do with our lives and how we conduct ourselves, and this generation has made its choice abundantly clear with the fruits they display in the way they live their lives.

    ” Nowadays, however, people are told they are special, they should follow their dreams or whatever, they shouldn’t change for anybody etc. Shouldn’t change for anybody?! If you don’t change you stagnate, if you stagnate what’s the point of you existing?”

    Correction, WOMEN are told not to change and to celebrate who they are and that they are unique and special and should embrace that uniqueness and not let others compromise it, even under the context of love, honor, family, and sacrifice. MEN, however, are told that they need to meet Conditions A-Z in order to even be considered for a first date. Lest we forget all the “man up” messages, sermons and magazine articles. So one side is told to stay “stagnant” in their character while the other is told to overcompensate for such a dichotomy to a self-destructive end. So the whole attitude of changing to be more pleasing to women is all that is droned out to men. There is no healthy message of encouragement to be secure in who we are. Therefore if there is any message of unhealthy stagnancy in character development, it is directly communicated to women, NOT men. Now that wouldn’t be such a problem if women simply chose to ignore such a message and stay true to their own development and cultivating true godly character, but it’s obvious that they don’t. Therefore, drama will become an inherent aspect of their lives. So one can certainly spin their wheels trying to find the piece of hay in a stack of poisoned needles, or they can learn to embrace the truth and move on.

    Either way, I feel your pain man. Not a day goes by when I don’t give it a thought as you do. But for our own spiritual sanity and peace, which in the long run bears the same if not greater level of importance to our health and vitality, the peace and quiet we yearn for, may in fact hold a higher level of importance than our own needs for companionship. That’s a decision every man has to make and it’s an egregious lie that both can be achieved in this life as that is exceedingly rare nowadays.

    1. You’re right that there’s definitely a double standard taking place in our society, which is why I laud any woman who makes even the minimal effort to rebuff all the RAAAAGGGGGEEEEEEEE against anything relating to true masculinity.

  4. Frank,

    I think there are two distinct aspects to consider. First there is the marriage – which is the relationship between you and your spouse. While I believe that it’s good for spouses to have complimentary qualities, there should be plenty of overlap – particularly on those areas of vital importance: do you both want children? what about faith practices? where do you want to live? Do you share enough common interests (for example – both love to read – maybe not the same kinds of stuff, but for both you a great evening is spent in the bookstore with very large coffees). These individual things make up the overall tone you marriage takes.

    Which all goes to the dogs once you introduce monsters (ahem children) into your life. Then you have not only a marriage, but also a family. Your life of peace and serenity comes to a screeching halt. These monsters DO NOT CARE if you are introverted or extroverted. They DO NOT CARE how you feel about clutter, how much sleep you need, or anything else. They make life noisy and messy and complicated. None of these are reasons to not bring the monsters into your household, but it’s important to recognize that having them changes everything. And that’s the really hard part. That’s when the marriage challenges truly begin. It is essential that you both share the same vision of family.

    To be honest, I think the one person you really need to avoid at all costs, is the woman who can’t stop talking about being “mommy”. If motherhood is the absolute top of her life list, then you are already in second place. You want a wife who understands that her primary relationship is with YOU, not the children, as they will eventually grow up, move away and have their own lives. So, paramount, above everything else, you want a woman who wants to be a WIFE (as defined in a way you both agree on).

    IMHO, you should not only love, but also greatly like your spouse. The “like” can carry you through very hard times, provided nobody goes nuclear. I’ve noticed that we can often forgive people we “like” much easier than people we “love”. I don’t know why, but it’s true, and relationships involve a lot of forgiving.

    I’m finding it very ironic that I’m giving marriage advice here.

    1. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Our marriage was GREAT! And then we had kids…”

      I’m glad I never contributed to that problem though. I was a darling cherub of a child in my day. Just ask my mom!

      …on second thought, don’t ask her, she’s not a well woman and often says crazy things about my childhood that just aren’t true. For realsies.

      And Maeve, no irony really, I think divorcees are good experts in instructing those of us on what NOT to do in a relationship and marriage. 😉

      I hope I’ve at least acquired enough wisdom in my crinkly old age to discern when a potential love is telling me the truth, or is merely telling me what I want to hear. I definitely agree that we need to have a shared vision and a shared devout faith as well.

    2. I had the same reaction – wait until you have kids. I am an introvert, too. I need peace, quiet and solitude. My 2-year old unfortunately doesn’t care about my needs.

      I never got the quiet I need from marriage either. Now I find it in places other than home. Home is utter chaos. It’s fun and I hear over and over again that I will look back on this time with total fondness. But it sure isn’t still waters.

      1. Yeah that’s what my friend and dad of three likes to tell me, every day of his life. 🙂

        I seem to conflate noise and drama when I really had a specific scenario in mind. When you have kids you go in with the understanding that they’re not going to be silent darling cherubs of serenity and sweetness, that’s just part of the deal. I mostly mean the noise that arises from people who create drama for the sake of creating drama, or whose family are completely dysfunctional and out of control. I think I need to marry an orphan, lolz.

  5. How is reigning in your desires and impulses “fakeness”? That’s nonsense. I may have desires or urges that might offend a person near me, so I choose to control them. That’s not fake, that’s me, the genuine me, exercising genuine control over, again, the same genuine me. And the me that I present to them is also genuine, the genuine self-controlled me.

    So, suck it.


    or a kid crying in the other room (we log more of the child care hours) or a floor to vacuum (ditto the housework hours).

    Well, men log more of the “defending the country and populace against the barbarian hordes” hours and more of the firefighting hours and more of the policing hours (and being an office “team player” is nothing compared to the teamwork required in the military or firefighting). Men log in more of the “protecting the house from intruders” and yard work, and breadwinning and nasty, physically rough jobs that most women can’t even do. Does she really want a p***ing match between men and women? Bad idea, as men will win, because we don’t need a funnel to write our name in the snow.

  6. Heh Frank – well, my comment above should serve as a cautionary tale against TUI – Typing Under the Influence (of cake – because younger daughter turned 14 yesterday and it’s rude to not eat the birthday cake you bake – and also foolish when it’s Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake).

    1. Mmmmmmmmm, cake…

      Well I would say not to sell yourself short, just because people have marriages that haven’t worked out doesn’t mean they can’t provide a lot of valuable insight on how to build a successful one. What is life after all if not the sum of learning from our mistakes.

  7. The cake is a lie!

    OT, no, it is not possible to have a drama-free marriage. However, through careful planning, good judgement, and good fortune, you can have a marriage with less drama than average.

    But if you take the vow, you’re taking on more drama than you had before the vow. It’s part of the package.

    1. Nay Nay Sir Pessimistic….

      THE CAKE IS TRUE! And right off the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa Box. The single-most requested cake in my house (well, from when I baked, back before I decided to try and be a cave girl along with the daughters). I think I was overcome by an influx of wheat and chocolate and sugar and vanilla – you know, EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD AND RIGHT IN THE WORLD.

      Seriously, I think I got drunk on it (from when I remember what it was like to be drunk).

      I will say that you are correct in your assessment experiencing relative drama. See, the thing is, sex is actually pretty dramatic all by itself, but in a completely awesome way – so you want that kind of drama, ya know. It’s the pissy stuff (ahem-PMS-ahem) you want to avoid (or at least mitigated).

  8. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that you provide you wife with adequate opportunities to eat well, exercise, and get to the beauty salon on a regular basis.

    With this attitude of entitlement. . . No.

    1. observer, took me a minute to figure out you were referring to a comment on SSM’s blog, lol. The way I see it, eating well, exercise, beauty salon are all things she would do in order to continue looking good and pleasant FOR HER HUSBAND. Is that really a sense of entitlement? If I expect my wife to look hot all the time, but then not provide the necessary budget and time for her to do so, is that really fair?

  9. Men produce wealth, women consume it. All the bleating about ‘time for myself, my needs’ is mere distraction. Treat the complaints of a woman with the disdain they deserve, for a womans ‘needs’ are a bottomless pit.

    And it is never about looking good for the husband. Sure, she wants to fuel the idol of self esteem. But women largely want clothing, shoes, makeup, time and resources to compete with other women. It affirms their position whils satus jockeying amongst other women. Marital status is irrelevant.

    This is by and large a covert and ongoing process that most men just don’t get. Married women just apply the principles differently. I could try explaining it, but others have already done so.

    1. This is why I tend to favor introverted women, not merely because of similar personality traits, but because of their natural tendency to dissociate themselves from groups and pursue a more individualized lifestyle. I’m reading a book called “Quiet” and what’s remarkable about the book is how it reveals a cultural shift from an emphasis on character to an emphasis on personality. Rather than esteeming the inner traits of honor, integrity and morals, we shifted to an emphasis on extreme extroversion that fosters hyper-competition and favors charm over substance. Blame Dale Carnegie for this crap, he’s pretty much the guy who helped spearhead this cultural shift.

  10. That sounds reasonable. Since the sixties people have been encouraged to pursue happiness as a goal, rather than it being an outcome. Since its an ephemeral, transitory state, pursuing it is a fruitless endeavour.

    Work colleagues frequently blurt out the same tired memes about doing whatever it takes to keep the wife happy. They are clueless when I tell them that’s not my job, its her choice to be content in whatever the circumstances.

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