The stereotype about marriage is that people are supposed to be fearful of it beforehand (guys especially!), miserable during it, and then philosophical and knowing after it falls apart. Television and film reinforce this constantly. Heck, media coverage makes it seem as if most marriages are ready to fly apart at any second. Hey, maybe most celebrity marriages aren't like 'regular' ones because most couples are not comprised of two filthy-rich attention whores. Just sayin'.
I never could relate to the fear thing but, then again, the distaste for commitment that is supposed to be a hallmark of "guy-ness" always seemed kind of foreign to my way of thinking. The idea of sharing part of my life with someone, even when I was very young, was always more attractive than the realities of serial dating and "playing the field."
As for the misery and the post-divorce philosopher thing? Yeah, I've been there, though I have to say that I never felt any smarter about things after I got divorced. I mean, you've got perfect hindsight and can see exactly where the trouble started, but these are things that you just can't see looking forward... at least I couldn't. Sure, sometimes I indulge and joke about "What the hell was I thinking?" The truth is that, like most people, I was thinking that we were doing the right thing. At the time, we really were.
TheWife™ likes to say that no matter what the intervening circumstances, we would always have ended up together — that if I'd met different people in college and moved to a completely different location, we still would have ended up in the same circle. This makes me think about the other (more positive) relationship stereotype, that of "the perfect other." The TheWife™ would admit to being the eternal optimist and so we have her idea about the inevitable intersection. I don't really agree with her there, but do actually like the "perfect other" idea. Obviously, it's only valid if the marriage works. Folks can scoff all they'd like but the "we complete each other" thing has a ton of truth in it. Not being the eternal (or even part-time) optimist, I honestly shudder to think of how things might be now if I'd taken a different path all those years ago. On the other hand, I listen to songs like Dar Williams' "Miss You Til I Meet You" and think that I'm incredibly glad we finally met.