April 17, 2009

Marriage is such a Foreign Thing

Filed under: Uncategorized — numist @ 8:54 pm

Cindy and I have been thinking a lot about marriage in the recent months, and it’s good to see other people with similar thoughts.

My own parents, when I tried to spell out the thought process behind our UnWedding, were understandably confused. “Why not just get married?” my mother asked me.

I did my best to explain how foreign and austere the concept of married life felt to me, but I don’t think I succeeded in making a connection. After all, my mother’s generation didn’t grow up amongst 52 percent divorce rates. And even though I personally have a good number of friends who once lived so-called bohemian lives, and who have since gotten legally hitched, I also know a decent number of smart people with no interest whatsoever in the wedded life.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure why that is. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that so many of my peers grew up in broken homes? Maybe it’s a result of the decline of family values? It’s tough to say. But one thing is for sure: Traditional American marriage in is changing fast, and in a major way.

from Marriage Without Monogamy



  1. Yeah, same here. Between my parents splitting up late last year, the whole gay marriage, uh, thing, and figuring stuff out with Micah, marriage as an institution my mind a lot lately. And that was before I found out we are going to a bunch of wedding this year.

    Many of my friends who have gotten married or are about to get married have talked to me about how much it sucks that they can get “officially” married and I can’t. Which… is true. But I also kind of feel bad for them (at least the ones living in CA) because I can get a state recognized domestic partnership, and they can’t. Which I actually would really like other folks to be able to do (and is something I’d still like to be able to do even when I can get “officially” married–or as married as everyone else anyway).

    I originally got on that idea when I was thinking about how my friends have navigated relationships, proposals, and marriage. There’s just such vast differences in where people make the cohabitation/proposal/marriage transitions. Some people propose earlier and assume the engagement is sort of a last trial period… some people assume that once the engagement starts people have, y’know, actually made a decision and it’s all over but the party. Some people get married because they want to be with the person they’re with for the foreseeable future, others seem to be waiting a long time because they really want to be making a very very long term commitment.

    There are a bunch of parts of that which are… awkward, but especially this: I can’t imagine actually deciding to marry someone, and then, like, sitting there for months without all of the legal protections and benefits that come along with that for the sake of having a party at the right time of year. And on the flip side, it just seems like a mess to hurry up a decision to declare that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone in order to enter into a legal partnership that you are ready for right now.

    I know a lot of people bring up separation of civil unions from “marriage” declarations as a way of ending the gay marriage standoff, but… I think it’s a good idea for a lot of other reasons too.

    Comment by Paul S. — April 18, 2009 @ 1:10 am | Reply

    • Agreed. If Cindy and I could get a domestic partnership we would do it tomorrow.

      Stay tuned, I have another post in the works that spends more time with our thoughts and less time with other people’s :)

      Comment by numist — April 18, 2009 @ 1:35 am | Reply

  2. “After all, my mother’s generation didn’t grow up amongst 52 percent divorce rates.”

    You’d think our parentals would understand this… considering that they are part of the statistic. There’s no rush to get married. Will you love Cindy any more the day after your wedding than you do today? Didn’t think so.

    On the other hand… I’m a big fan of marriage. If you know in your heart that you’re meant to be together, and you can’t imagine a day without Cindy… then why not make it official? Every little girl dreams of her wedding day (I know I do. I mean did.) It’s a commitment to show each other (and the world) that you love each other and will be there for each other always.

    Either way, I’m glad you two are sticking with what you believe in. Don’t let others tell you what to do.
    Love you both!

    Comment by Lauren — December 3, 2009 @ 5:09 am | Reply

  3. Marriage is a promise you make to another individual. A promise so important that you gather your friends and family, say the words out-loud and then leave town so they won’t bother you while you … ahem … cement it.

    Can you do this informally with an e-vite or having a bunch of people over for a game of Yatzee and declaring it with a “ALL MY LOVE ARE BELONG TO YOU”? Sure.

    Would it have the same impact as setting aside an entire day, sending out REAL LIVE POSTAGE STAMP REQUIRING invitations, getting dressed in your best clothes, exchanging physical symbols that you will wear every day, having a reception dedicated to your relationship and putting your love for your significant other on display to others that is so high that you think you’ll have to climb for the rest of your life to reach it? Maybe… But not for most people.

    I suppose you could do all those things and not call it a “wedding” or a “marriage” afterwards, but then that’d *really* be lying to yourself.

    Comment by [ this is jerry ] — December 4, 2009 @ 1:29 am | Reply

    • well, we wouldn’t be able to call it a wedding or a marriage if we said all those things and there wasn’t a county clerk around to sign legal paperwork.

      my point is that you can make these commitments without the help of the law or the church. in fact for some people the law and the church are actively working against their commitment to each other.

      Comment by numist — December 4, 2009 @ 1:33 am | Reply

      • A rose by any other name… It doesn’t seem you’re so much against the concept of marriage, so much as the fact that people of authority have defined it for you.

        Comment by [ this is jerry ] — December 4, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

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