The joke that isn't funny anymore

When I was traveling through the south I saw t-shirt after t-shirt with taglines like, "Marriage is a Compromise: My husband makes the money and I spend it for him" or "Once upon a time I was happy, and then you came along".  Go ahead and Google relationship t-shirts and you''ll find hundreds more that send out the same message: relationships suck, women are annoying, men are mean. How sad is this? It''s almost like somebody took one joke that was at one time funny and went too far with it. Well, I don''t think it''s funny when taglines or shows like Everybody Loves Raymond start influencing real life behavior. And the worst is that it''s all such a cliche.

Growing up I watched the Cosby Show, Family Ties, and a number of other family programs that taught me a lot about relationships. Not only sibling relationships, but also the partnership between couples. If I think back, I can''t come up with any episode, in either of the two programs mentioned above, where the mother and father made digs at the other or where making fun of your partner was acceptable. Sure there were discussions, little tiffs here and there, but it was nothing like what the married couples look like on television today.

I got into a discussion with my friend J about this last night at dinner. We spent a good part of the meal trying to come up with recent films or television programs that show positive male and female relationships. The only one we could come up with was Friday Night Lights.

The consensus J and I came up with, is that it''s our generation that needs to turn this around. Find a new way to get a laugh,  start creating characters that you''d want to emulate instead of run from. I mean who wants to live in a world where they can''t stand the thought of going home to their partner? I don''t. Your partner is supposed to be that one person who loves you, supports you, and respects you more than anyone in the world. They are your teammate, not your enemy. Love, people, it''s really not that bad, and, yes, it''s something you should believe in.