Sunday, October 23, 2011
The Marrying Kind
So, it has been a while since I've posted a blog. I realize that. And I'm sorry. I'm going to try and start posting a lot more regularly. And here is my first post topic in about 6 months: marriage. . . and divorce.
I think I had really known it for a while. And it took a really beautiful wedding for me to realize this. But I'm not the marrying kind. Like a self-hating-in-the-closet homosexual, for the longest time I was in denial that I didn't really want to get married. Maybe it was too many Disney movies growing up. You know, the Cindarella-esque story all women are told through mass culture to expect to happen as we get older. We like a guy. And we date a guy. We hold hands. And then the respectable thing happens and we get married to said guy. I think I tried convinving myself that I wanted to get married, but deep, deep, deep down I knew. I'm not the marrying kind.
Don't get me wrong, for the "right" reasons, marriage can be a wonderful thing, I guess. I'm really not sure. I don't think I've ever seen it. Ever. My parents got divorced. My friends got divorced. Their parent's got divorced. Strangers got divorced. Bosses and co-workers got divorced. And strongly fighting the socially acceptable "Awww, I'm sorry", I force myself to congratulate them and say "Good for you!". If there was ONE thing that my previous relationships have taught me it's that if you're not happy, change your situation. Leave. Break-up. Get a divorce. I may not understand the capacity for marriage, but I understand that one thing.
As I have just demonstrated, I'm not an expert on these things. Like Jane Goodall in the wild observing monkeys, I can examine marriage for years, but unless I grow up as a monkey I will never know what it means to be one. Other than the benefits (which would probably be my only reason for ever getting married. That and all the free toasters, apparently) I really don't think I will get married. Having been in a relationship for nearly three years now with an amazing human being who makes me a more complete and better person, we see absolutely no reason to get hitched. We've entertained the thought and have come up with elaborate plans, but we both realize that it would kind of be a waste of time and money.
Obviously something about marriage doesn't work. Maybe it's because marriage was originally (and still is for some people) a way for men to control a woman's life, sexually, politically, and financially. Maybe it's because we feel like it will relieve a desire to not die alone, which when you think about it, marriage really doesn't promise that. Or to let women act out the essential Disney fairytale of looking like a prostitute/princess for a day. Regardless of how jaded some might be to the idea that marriage is about romance, love, and good feelings, these things can happen outside of marriage. I promise you. My best theory for why marriage doesn't work is because all of our lives we are told of these roles and expectations that we are supposed to fill as marriage partners. And more often than not, the male takes on the superior role. And some "feminist" Christian women will tell you that women leaving the home and not being the sole caregiver of the home and family anymore is the reason for the failure of the institution of marriage (and all of the other ills of the world). I think most of the problem has lied in the stereotypes that women and men are meant to fill within the idea of marriage. That women, regardless if they stay home or work outside the house, should be the good domesticated wife. Cook, clean, raise children. When instead, this really should be a shared effort.
But, there is hope for marriage, yet. And this change will have to come from men and women. Men should be raised to see women as EQUALS in all aspect of life. At the job, in the office, at the home, out in public. And women need to get out there and realize they can have it all. You don't have to choose a home life or a work life. You can (and should) ask your man too cook and clean for you every once in a while. Or, if you are intrinsically not happy with marriage, to feel like you can leave. There is so much male propaganda about how marriage is awful (enter that awful 90's show with the grumpy man and the red head) and you never have sex again, and how women just nag and complain. Stop complaining and leave! Be liberated! Get a divorce!
If marriage/love is ever going to succeed we need to stop defining gender roles within the institution and let ourselves just love. Or maybe we should completely demolish the idea of matrimony and give the world some non-hierarchal anarchy love! Just let it be free. There really is no other need for marriage other than to fill some old, traditional, male-chauvinistic, Hallmark card sense of love. Which, I don't really think exists. Women don't need a hero to rescue us and bring us back to their castle. And men don't need an exclusive prostitute to make dinner every night. If marriage is going to exist in a modern world, then we are depriving ourselves the opportunity to evolve without out it and find a way to express ourselves without defining ourselves with sterotypes that eventually destroy us and keep us from reaching our full potential.
If you are married and are reading this and you think that I'm completely wrong and that marriage has made your life fulfilling, good for you. Congratulations. Mahzel-Tov. I'm truly, deep-down happy for you. But that doesn't mean that your reasons for getting married will need to be a reason I would ever need to. And I would also invite you to really examine the reasons behind why you got married. Behind the "love" and "grandeur" I'm sure there is social pressure and a fairytale.
But, who knows. Maybe like the libertarian author Ayn Rand taking government benefits near the end of her life, I will get married eventually to a husband with benefits.