Legitimate questions about marriage

***Let me start this post by saying I’m not against marriage. If it’s right for you, it’s right for you. I simply have questions.***

Like nearly everything else in this life, you don’t know if something like marriage is truly right for you until you try it. Like sushi or roller coasters. But where modern media isn’t bombarding you with a never-ending barrage of your life won’t be complete without this raw fish and Space Mountain messages, there is a monumental amount of pressure to legitimize relationships by having governments and religion tell you it’s okay to be with your partner. So much so, in fact, that married people will often berate others for not following the same path they may frequently gripe about. And let’s be honest, neither religion nor governments have a stellar track record when it comes to the best interests of we the people.

Good morning, religion, this is the front desk with your Crusades wake-up call. We’ll be sure to contact your neighbor, government, with their every-equal-rights-movement-ever-endured call.

Watch any of your favorite shows or movies. What’s the directional flow of interpersonal relationships in most of them? What are most commercials depicting varied scenes of while they try to convince you that you absolutely cannot function properly without their product? The answer, in most cases, is what has been sold to us as The American Dream: spouse, 2.5 kids and the white vinyl fence (picket fences don’t do enough to keep the zombies at bay). Everything we watch is geared toward making us feel like a mutant demon child if we don’t spend the money and perform the ceremony that makes it okay to live with the person you love. It’s baffling to me. And reading about the origins of marriage only makes it more so, from a modern perspective.

As they like to say here on Planet The South, I’m a grown-ass man. Why is it not okay for myself and my chosen partner to simply love each other, agree to be exclusive and share a turbulent, but official bondage-free life together? Some people in this part of the world go into a near catatonic state when they find out you a) are not married but share a living space; and b) have no intentions of asking governments or religions to approve of your union. It’s fun to watch them run the facial-color gamut from pale, shocked surprise to ruddy outrage.

Do a little light research (i.e. Internet searches for something besides porn and celebrity gossip) and you’ll find the initial basic premise of marriage appears to have roots in fear: paternity assurances, jealousy attached to unwed women in tribal configurations and, occasionally, the joining of two separate families for gain of some sort. Seems like a whole lot of insecurity woven into this construct. I mean, most societies that required marriage back near the dawn of the concept didn’t even give the women much, if any, consideration in the process. You, with the long hair and vagina! You’re with him now. You don’t have to like him, just make babies and food, and keep stuff clean. Seriously.

While that outdated model has evolved into one of more equality, guilt from family and strangers alike and overspending for a one-day event that most people don’t even want to attend, we still seem to need authorization to love. Why?

Seeing as how divorce is a generally acceptable option these days when things turn out to be as wrong as a turd in a punchbowl, there doesn’t appear to be anything reasonably sacred about marriage. Heck, I have military friends who got married for convenience; mainly the convenience of not living in the barracks where someone can barge into your living space at any time and tell you what you can and can’t do. While that’s not a perfect example of the differences between marriage and dorm life (man-cave anyone?), you certainly can’t divorce your dorm and get half. Not without the right lawyer.

Maybe it’s the perception of financial security? But I’ve seen fiscally fatal couples part vicious ways over bank accounts. Money truly does not buy you love…for more than an hour or two.

It can’t be the perception of fidelity, as we are bombarded with stories of mutilation and murder over even the incorrect perception of infidelity. I mean, if you need someone that badly in your life, but wind up gutting them with a potato peeler for smiling at the waitress, maybe what you really needed was a nice quiet room with lots of cushions on the walls and floor.

Look, I wiggled around in that petri dish for a while. I was married for five years and still wondered what all the fuss was about. While I won’t use this as a forum to bash that person, I will say we got married for all the wrong reasons and were ultimately not compatible at all. Like a toaster and the bathtub: there might be exciting sparks for a while, but it’s over before you know it, and then you’re just a scarred tub with soggy crumb-water, and a fried toaster filled with regret.

Marriage was not the cure for loneliness and poverty I assumed it was. But that’s what we’re led to believe, that we’re not only incomplete, but downright naughty in the brain (and pants) if we don’t run out and get approval from Uncle Sam and some ancient bearded magic man in the sky when we love someone.

Luckily, I have someone in my life who loves me (except when she’s mad at me) and doesn’t need anyone but us to validate our life together, so I only ponder these questions as they pertain to everyone else.

So why did/would you get married?

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2 Comments on “Legitimate questions about marriage”

  1. Meg Says:

    First let me say that I agree with what you say – NO one should be required to get approval for an adult relationship from a third and/or fourth party.

    However, the examples in MY world, FOR marriage, are all pretty much more stable, long lasting and loving, than they are negative or broken. So while I havent taken the plunge myself (I still need to FIND a significant other), I would be inclined to give it a try. But mostly coz I want the dress. And a big party. 😀

  2. renpiti Says:

    So, are you saying the reason you would get married is for the dress and the party? ‘Cause we can get you both without the lifetime commitment. 😉

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