OK. I got some pushback on the idea that Marriage is overrated. So I thought I would expand on my thoughts a bit.
This is what marriage becomes:
- Its spending all of your waking moments with someone whenever you aren’t doing something more interesting.
- Its spending the times when you are tired, sick, annoyed, ugly, smelly, sleeping, burping, farting and generally being an ass with the person you love.
- It means being so exhausted from being nice to the rest of the world that you have nothing left to give to the person you married and they get whatever is left, which is often mean.
That is not the recipe for marital bliss.
Here’s the ideal relationship:
- Spending time doing interesting things with someone you find interesting. Don’t marry them. Date them.
- Going on vacation to interesting places with someone you enjoy being with. Don’t live with them. Go on vacation with them.
- Giving your best energy to the person who makes you the happiest.
Yes, But what about Children?
If you want to pro-create, fine. Create a contract and set of rules. You don’t have to be in the same house when you raise the child together. Its just been done that way in the past because it was necessary. Its not necessary anymore. Just like its not necessary to ride a horse to get across town. Times change and you can change too.
Here’s the best part, if you don’t tie marriage to having children, then the father doesn’t have to be the man you are in love with, does it? It can be your best friend, or it can be ANYONE you think you can have a good child rearing partnership with. Tell me why can’t you and your best friend decide to raise a family together? The contract doesn’t have to be with someone of the opposite sex. It doesn’t have to involve the genetic parents at all. Sperm banks are everywhere. Heck, if you are a woman, free sperm donation is available at any bar in America. (Although I don’t really recommend this course of action.) Foster Children are waiting. Adoption is available.
My point is this. Stop thinking like you always thought, and think like an individual with a multitude of choices. Marriage is the most limiting choice you can make.
You won’t have to be trapped:
If you aren’t married or living together you always have choices. You don’t have the trapped, paralyzed, frozen in a life feeling. How many people do you know who are struggling in a marriage or live-in relationship but feel that leaving it is so HUGE.
- Its physically huge because there is a move, separating stuff, finding a new space, settling accounts, etc.
- Its financially huge your single life may cost you more, credit can be screwed up, and legal costs are high.
- Its emotionally huge. You have now made part of your identity this marriage or live in relationship. When you end those relationships, you are negating a part of your identity. That’s really tough and ugly.
Sure, a long term relationship without living together is still going to be incredibly painful when it ends, and some part of you is identified with it, but its not going to be nearly the devastation and loss involved in ending a marriage or live in relationship.
Changing your dating relationship is several magnitudes easier to manage and get over than marriage/live in.
The fun side of the permanent dating relationship:
- You look forward to seeing them. There is the tingle of anticipation. When you see someone all the time, you feel lots of comfort, lots of ease. And I think its the death of a good romantic relationship. You can get comfort and support from friends and family. You can get your interest and excitement from your romantic relationship.
- Sex is a whole lot more fun when its not a roll over, why not, did you brush your teeth, event.
- Attraction is a lot easier to maintain when you don’t see someone plucking their eyebrows, clipping their nose hairs, scratching their balls, pushing up a tampon. These are not things that should be shared. Lets not. Put your best face on for this person. You will feel better, they will feel better and the mutual attraction will last longer.
- Fewer bones of contention. How many arguments happen over things like leaving the toilet seat up, how you fold laundry, taking out the trash, not paying attention when you should, being cranky when your shouldn’t, and generally not being nice to your partner. A huge portion of those petty squabbles are eliminated when you are not sharing permanent quarters.
- Money isn’t such a weighty matter how many couples have huge difficulties over money management and philosophy. If you remain independent of each other, these issues will largely disappear. They could surface, but if they are not manageable, you are not in a situation where ending your misery will cause you more misery.
- Self Development and independence: A great many of my friends have so completely identified themselves with their marriage that they have stopped developing their own interests. Because if the interest does not coincide with their partners interest, its not done. So before marriage there were two large circles of interests one for each person. Those circles intersected on shared interests. So there were three things to talk about each person’s interests and their shared interests. At marriage, they give up unshared interests and suddenly they have a very tiny circle of interests. Life just became boring. This can happen without marriage, but is less frequent. And it can also be that married couples maintain separate interests and pursuits. But its a whole lot easier to do when you remain resolutely independent and don’t sew yourself into someone else’s life by living with them.
- Your own space. Your space is your own. Its by you, for you and no one else has to be considered. Permissions for use of shared items – Nope. Consideration of others when guests are invited – Nope. New paint color – Your choice. Clean or Messy – Your choice.
Finally, what’s the big hurry?
If you don’t have marriage as a destination then there is no more desperation. You can actually choose a decent person to be with. No settling. No feelings of there won’t be another one in time. You aren’t getting married anyway. Remember?
Seriously, this is what I really mean.
The real reason why I advocate remaining mostly single: You are you. This is mostly a female viewpoint, but when women get married they become Mrs. And I mean that psychologically. Many women feel incomplete, less than whole, unattractive and generally worthless without a man. Even those who can’t identify with that statement very strongly, feel it at some level because we have thousands of years of culture to reinforce the idea.
Remain single and over time you realize that who you are is good without marriage. That another person is not in any way going to make you a whole person. That support comes from lots of places and expecting support from one person is both unfair and a recipe for disappointment. That you can support yourself financially and there is something incredibly self reliant and freeing in being the only source of your support. That life is not what cultures define, its what you do.
I am not vehemently anti-marriage.
I recognize that there are advantages to it. In fact, I realize that having a supportive spouse would probably have helped me with managing my mental illness. A good marriage is a built in support system.
I realize that its not likely that most people will see my viewpoint. Even the most liberal among us still get married or live together. There are many supportive and enjoyable relationships in marriages. But I think there are times when the marriage is endangering even the strongest of those great relationships. I think my viewpoint is the future. In 150 years marriage will probably be an anachronism in many parts of the world.