Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Inflammatory Statement Number Three: I Believe in Marriage and the Vows

Marriage gets a bad rap these days. People live together; people are "married in their hearts" and don't need a "patriarchal institution to formalize their commitment."

Well, to each his own, but as for me: I believe that standing up and saying that you will stick together and forsake all others until death does you part is an integral piece of the monogamy equation.

For one, I think it is pretty much A-OK to skip out on your boyfriend when you meet someone you like better. Dating-- or even those settled monogamous but not-married relationships-- is a live-for-the-day kind of deal, and if you stumble into someone you wanna make out with and go roadtrippin' (ahem, K), then you should do it without any guilt in your heart. (You should, however, inform the other person and make your apologies.)

Everything's fair until you meet the person you actually want to be with, no matter what, for the rest of your life. Then it's time to make some promises. I don't think you have to have witnesses, but i do think that speaking the words out loud cuddled under a blanket in front of a fire in the lust-kissed honeymoon phase ain't really good enough. We need pomp and legislation: a church, a city hall, a justice of the peace. I think there is some intangible value in formally promising.

And sure, marriage is a patriarchal institution. And education is an elitist one, and government is a corrupt one, and funerals are a futile one, but we still do them because despite their flaws, they are necessary.

I think we've tried to make marriage and its vows irrelevant. But there is a big difference between those who have stood up and made big promises and those who have not.


Anonymous said...

it is not about "vows"
it is about love
and more important
You will see
you can believe all you want
we are only human
we grow every day
you will know
bless you

Moonpie said...

I don't think it's okay to skip out on your boyfriend if you find someone better. There are many stages to the dating game, and once you've advanced to a level where you consider someone your 'boyfriend' you have made a commitment to give them your full attention and try to make your relationship work. If you need a public declaration and legal paperwork to feel secure and legitimized in your relationship, there is a serious lack of trust on some level. You may not trust yourself, or you may not fully trust your partner, but speaking from my own experience I have never felt like I needed to be married to make my relationship count. There comes a point when you know and believe absolutely that you are going to be with someone for the rest of your life, no matter how much you want to strangle them at times, and a piece of paper and vows are not going to change the way you feel. As for publically declaring yourself, I think actions speak much louder than words or vows. After six years, relatives of William have started accidentally calling me his 'wife', and everyone we know is asking when we're going to be married. To me words are empty, and it is actions that really tell you who a person is.

D'nelle said...

is marriage 50%-50% or 100%-100%?
when one of you stops living up to the vows, is the other then obliged or justified in stopping themselves?

what happens when a marriage stops working?

I ask this question in light of moonpie's comment and in light of your original assertion that marriage is fundamentally different than live-for-today dating.

for the sake of argument, let's say that you are right and moonpie is not.
if that's the case, what happens when it turns out that one person isn't keeping their promise.
What does the other person do?