DionRabouin.com (sort of)

Against Marriage

Against Marriage
Saturday, August 2, 2008 at 2:39pm

Before I begin this little rumination, allow me to dispel any possible pre-conceived notions or conclusions you might have about my motives for writing this and confess my personal biases. Yes I am the product of a broken home, and admittedly that may have soured my perceptions and opinion of the matrimonial ideal. No, my parents didn’t go through a messy divorce that scarred me for life – at least not that I’m aware of. Yes, I have been in love. No, she didn’t crush me when it ended. Yes, I believe in true love and love at first sight, or something that owes to that effect. Yes, I have had a one-night stand. No, it’s not my idea of the ideal relationship. Yes, I do want to find that special someone some day. No, I am not actively seeking them out. I kinda think that ruins the magic of the whole thing.

That said, the other night I was talking to some friends of mine about how I don’t ever want to get married. Of course, as everyone is when I express this opinion, they were shocked. Shocked! Why would anyone not want to be married? Marriage is the ideal; that cozy little ball of comfort that tells everyone you’re doing OK.

I think the idea of marriage is arcane, asinine, wholly unnecessary and generally stupid. It is my firm belief that the only reason anyone still gets married is because we never actually think about it. We read the fairy tales when we’re younger and listen to the old folks talk about who we’ll settle down and have kids with and we never really stop to think about what we’re getting into. I think we’ve bought into this whole mini-van notion of marriage and believe that, as Frank Sinatra once crooned, “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage” – pause for you to go on singing the rest of the chorus. And we’re back. I think we’re all unwitting slaves to institution and routine. To question the routine is deviant and with deviance comes consequence and labeling (I learned that in sociology class).

Think about marriage, really think about it. There’s a book by Laura Kipnis (I don’t generally read, so if I’m recommending a book you should probably at least check it out) called Against Love that calls into question the idea of the married domicile. While Kipnis opined that the idea of this thing we call love is really just an imaginary conceit that’s been invented by them (you know who them is) to keep us all docile and towing the assembly line that is life, I stop short of fighting the concept of love, because as Kipnis herself admits “Who could be against love?” In fact, I’m not even against marriage – for other people.

I think love is wonderful. It’s a spectacular feeling that can’t be duplicated or carbon copied by anything – including great sex, which is really a pretty good substitute for anything. However, in the 21st century, in the year 2008, we’ve really got to figure something better out.

Sure, marriage made sense when it was all about conjoining two equally affluent, dynastic families to imbue both with a greater fortune. I even think marriage was a good idea way back when it was generally used to transfer the property that was a woman from her father to her husband in order for her to bare male children who would then bring in other females to the family, or female children who would amalgamate other males into their gentry. I would even see the benefit – nay the importance – of getting married back in the days when sex out of wedlock meant dishonor and possibly death. That I get. But what’s the point of getting married today?

Sure, there’s spousal privilege, duty-free property transfer, income tax and property tax deductions, but you can arrange all those things and others through an attorney. No one’s waiting to have sex until they’re married anymore, save for the brave few still bemused by religion. There’s certainly not a stigma against those who have sex before marriage, if anything it’s the opposite. Most of us aren’t marrying for the purpose of wealth amalgamation – and if you are, by all means ignore every forthcoming point in the note – so what’s the point? Love?

And there it is. Love and marriage. Why aren’t we capable of viewing the two as separate entities, not only capable of being, but enhanced by their mutual exclusivity? I’m not embarking on the idea of having both love and a marriage – that’s a whole other note, that I do intend to write – but having just love. Why do we need to corroborate and substantiate our love with some arcane ritual? Isn’t that really what marriage has become these days: proof that you really mean it. It’s not enough to tell people – and that includes the one you’re with – that you’re in love and that you want to be with that person as long as you live, you have to prove it with a license and a ceremony and a ring so that complete strangers know it.

There’s really no benefit to marriage anymore, only detriment. The detriment of course is that thing called divorce. Divorce is a multi-million, if not billion, dollar business that’s just getting bigger everyday, and we continue to feed the beast as more people line up to get those marriage certificates. I can’t believe the venture capitalists masquerading as politicians currently running our nation right now have any problem with gay marriage, because that just means more money from divorce. More lawyers’ fees, more arbiters, more court-appointed such-and-sos with government titles.

I really don’t mean to make this into an anti-establishment piece, because that’s really not what it’s about. I just mean to say, let’s examine this thing we call marriage. Let’s examine its relevance and its necessity and rather than just doing as we’re told, let’s maybe do some critical thinking and decide if marriage is really something we want to get ourselves involved in. Why not just love someone and not get the feds involved? Why not marry someone strictly for the tax benefits?

Wouldn’t marriage – in its current incarnation – really be better suited as a business agreement, where well meaning parishioners can join together in an amicable agreement to jointly save annually on their taxes? You could be madly in love, living with your one and only for the rest of your life and once a year, around the January, get on the phone and call your spouse who lives across the river ‘cause it’s time to file the taxes. So much of our behavior in this country is governed by rules that really don’t make any sense when you sit down and think about them. Whether implicit or stated, norms of the past are sometimes not functionally consistent with the times in which we live. Isn’t it time we thought about that?


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