They don’t make them like they used to

Things aren’t what they used to be. How often have you heard that said?

Perhaps you’ve said it yourself.

There was a time when things were built to last. Everything, from home appliances to children’s toys, was built to withstand the rigours of daily use. Durability was part of the design, but it came at a price.

Pocket watch

Fast-forward to modern life and a new way of living. We are surrounded with toys and all manner of gadgets. The vast majority of the items we purchase are designed not to serve us for a lifetime, but to make the manufacturer as much profit as cheaply as possible. They are no longer over-engineered; if they are still working at the end of their designed service life there’s scope to make savings. Toys, if played with too “enthusiastically”, break and cannot be repaired. Household items last a few years and we think they’ve done well, but if not we repeat that tired refrain, “They don’t make them like they used to” as we consign it to the rubbish bin.

The longer-term trend has been for divorce rates to rise. Perhaps our throw-away mentality is working its way into our relationships.

On 26th May 1994 The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, married The Princess of Rock ’n’ Roll, Lisa Marie Presley. Their first television appearance together was on September 8, 1994, just 15 weeks later. In front of a worldwide audience of 250 million, Jackson announced, “Just think, nobody thought this would last.”

Fifteen weeks. I don’t think many people would call that a “lasting” marriage.

While longing for a return for the days when marriages were “built to last”, I’m not suggesting that we should be trying to “mend and make do.” Sure, there may be times when married life is hard, but we don’t want to just “make do.” That suggests that the repair is not as good as the original.

A precious metal is exposed to intense heat, bringing all the impurities to the surface to be taken away. If we can withstand the heat of conflicts and trials we may emerge with a marriage with greater purity and greater value than before. Now that is a marriage that is built to last.

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