The Problem With “Traditional Marriage” (It wasn’t all that great to begin with)
What on earth is so great about “Traditional Marriage”?
Christians keep harping on about “redefining marriage” and how traditional marriage is some magical sacred institution that is so perfect that we dare not change a single thing about it. They talk about the sanctity of the institution of marriage and how to change course now is to destroy the very fabric of our society.
How great is “Traditional Marriage™”, really?
When my wife and I decided- after five years of dating, four years of cohabitation, two children, and several family functions-to get married, I had to ask my wife’s father for her hand in marriage. She didn’t need to ask my father- or my mother-no…. I needed to ask her father. It is Tradition™, after all.
Because “traditionally“, daughters were the property of their fathers. “Traditionally“- women are property that gets transferred from man to man. “Traditionally“, I own my wife.
You know what?
I, like any reasonable and loving human being- like anyone deserving of being married- define marriage as a partnership of equals. I don’t own my wife. She is an amazing, strong, passionate human being- not an iPod. That’s not what Tradition says. That’s not what thousands of years of law and convention says. That is just a fact- and an inconvenient one if you happen to think that marriage was perfect until we started to meddle with it. I don’t want to “redefine” marriage. It continues to change with a society that has realized how traditional doesn’t mean the same thing as optimal. It is evolving to mean what it should have meant from inception- the joining of two equals in a promise of love and commitment. Did I just “redefine” marriage?
I already “redefined” marriage when I chose to view and treat my wife as a human being as opposed to a commodity that I could acquire from her father. I redefined marriage when I chose to value her as my equal.
When I asked her father for his blessing, I was following tradition. Would it have been rude to refuse to take part in a ritual subjugation of my future wife? I don’t think so.
“Traditional” doesn’t mean “right”.
Just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean we can’t do it better. We can do a whole lot better than “Traditional Marriage”- so stop acting like it’s so Goddamned important.