On Marriage, Part 2: Whereby I Explain Why Marriage Matters

Posted on April 13, 2013. Filed under: Atheism, Forward Thinking, Personal, Religion |

This is Part 2 of my two part contribution to the Forward Thinking project  on this months topic “What Does Marriage Mean To You?”  The Forward Thinking Project is an amazing online community project started by Libby Anne of Love, Joy, Feminism and Daniel Finke of Camels With Hammers.  For more information or how you can contribute click on the links above.

Part 1 is a satirical imagined conversation between a father and son regarding the meaning of marriage. This post is my personal views on what marriage- and specifically my marriage- means to me.

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I’m married to the most complex, wonderful and beautiful woman I know.  My wife is my saviour and my nemesis.  If  Paul was right when he spoke in Corinth- that love is patient, love is kind, it is not proud;  love protects, trusts, perseveres- then it is true that my wife is the embodiment of love in my life.

To be honest with you, neither my wife nor I really wanted get married.  We lived together for 6 years before we were married.  We already had two children (and a third on the way).  We owned a house together.  In every way that someone quantifies marriage as a lifestyle, we had been married for years before we ever made it “official”.

So why get married?

We- my wife and I- asked ourselves this question.  Are we somehow bowing to social pressure?  Are we quantifying our relationship by a social convention?  Is there any real value to choosing to be married as opposed to living as a married couple?  For us marriage was still something that was meaningful- and I’ll tell you why:

Marriage is more than just a social convention.  It is more than a legal recognition of your bond to one another.  It is not a mere contract, a religious act, or a promise to some imagined covenant with God.  It is what it has always been; marriage is the sharing of your love with your family, community, and friends.  Some choose to share that with their community in religious imagery and language, some choose to make that expression in a way that is unique and personal.  What all marriages have in common is that they are a recognizable symbol of something that transcends the institution itself.

To be unmarried is not to take away from the reality of being in love, or committed, or together- to be unmarried is merely to deprive us of our cultural language-

  It is to ask us to succinctly describe a sunset…..

to a blind man……

in sign language.

So when I tell you I am married it doesn’t change the way I feel about the person I chose to marry.  It doesn’t make my love any more or less real.   It doesn’t make my love and commitment any better- objectively- than a couple who chose not to be married.  What it does it make my relationship relateable.  It makes my relationship something that has a meaning easily shared with others.   When I tell you I’m married I am giving you a dissertation in a single word.

I started this post by telling you how I feel about my wife; all of it is true, and more.  I could have written a million metaphors and I still wouldn’t have given my wife her due.  Though my words remind me of all the things that make me love her, they certainly constitute a too-long explanation to you of how we relate to one another.  All you need to know is what we all know to be the ideals of a marriage:

I love her enough to make her my wife- our love is that meaningful that we choose to share it.

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9 Responses to “On Marriage, Part 2: Whereby I Explain Why Marriage Matters”

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[...] Part 1 is a satirical imagined conversation between a father and son regarding the meaning of marriage.  For my personal feelings on what marriage means to me, please check out Part 2. [...]

Hmm, i was talking to some friends about this. Some skeptics, some believers, some in between. We had all agreed that marriage was something that seemed so…to put it: one of those religious things that the gov’t took and made it theirs. in essence, my Christian friends felt it was unfair they had to bow to a gov’t to legitimatize their love for someone, and my skeptical friends thought it was unfair that such a construct was so exclusive to heterosexual relationships in addition to that. Sort of pondering, we imagined the best way was to have the legal benefits of marriage detached from the idea of having to be married and coupled with a legal contract between willing party members (therefore it could just be friends who live together sharing said legal benefits), and marriage could simply be a cultural practice (like it originally was). Just my .02

Reblogged this on dyke writer.

Nina,
Thanks for being such a huge supporter.

thanks for being such a great Lesbro

the comments with you last year are in my happy memory files

Marriage is a social construct. Nothing more and nothing less. It might please you to believe that it’s something special and meaningful, but it has no more objective meaning than you choose to impose on it. If you feel compelled to “share” your love with family and friends and society, fine. But don’t imagine that your marriage amounts to anything more than anyone else’s unmarried relationship.

Stan wins the award for first person to comment on this post without reading it!!
Congratulations Stan, You can claim your prize of 5 (count ‘em, 5) Dr. Zeuss Beginner Books specifically designed to assist with reading comprehension by sending your address to the email associated with this site!

Sorry, I forgot that I was supposed to be generous toward people. Something about “civility” and all that…..
Yes, Stan. You are quite right. Thank you for providing my readers with the “Coles Notes (Cliff Notes?)” version of my post. To avoid further miscommunications in the future, you might try to avoid using nouns like “you” in your comments- as they give the impression that you are talking about a specific subjuct instead of the universal “you”.
Again, we both said exactly the same thing, just that I took the time to explain it whereas you just stated the overarching theme.

[...] at Misplaced Grace starts by recounting an imaginary conversation between a father and son before explaining why he and his wife got married even though they originally planned not [...]


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