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Part 1: Marriage?

From the moment we depart our mothers’ wombs we are brought into a society in which marriage is a norm.  We are expected to adhere to that path and attain the American dream; go to school, get a degree, get married, have a house with white picket fence along with a family and a pet.  We are so indoctrinated that we fail to realize why we are even getting married in the first place!

Many people are dismayed when asked why they want to get married, because a lot of people simply don’t really know! The idea that you are getting married because you love one another is outrageous. Does that mean that you didn’t love them before you got married? Is your love solely based on the act of getting married?  Or is it that you want to follow tradition and get married?  Female Genital Cutting is a tradition and is performed as rites of passage in parts of the Middle East and Africa. Just because its tradition doesn’t mean it’s good. Traditions take many forms and they could be wicked or noble. If we continued following the traditions developed at the start of human history, we wouldn’t evolve as a species.

Simply, you do not need marriage to have kids, express love, or live together, so why get married? Love is not an institution, why make it one by signing that paper? The government shouldn’t be a part of your love; you don’t need their stamp of approval on your relationship. Love is free flowing, unconditional, don’t make it stagnant and put restrictions on it.

Part 2: Costs

The media presents marriage as the ultimate goal for young girls; complete with a lavish wedding and a beautiful dress with all eyes on them. Unfortunately, many see their wedding day as the happiest day of their life. If it’s the happiest day of your life, then you have nothing to look forward to. That is the pinnacle of the happiness you could attain, everything else after is downhill. I would certainly hope it’s not the happiest day of your life.

Also, one must take into account the debt accrued with marriage. To start with, you have to get a marriage license here in San Diego which is $50. Then the most expensive of all is the wedding itself.  Weddings in 2009 were estimated to cost 30,000 dollars and that was 2 years ago; it is likely that price has risen.

Depending on your cultural background, either your parents pay for it or the couple may have to. A wedding can put a financial strain on either party and most likely, a couple will get married in debt. Why not put all the money into a college fund, or take a trip with your loved one and explore the vastness of the world — especially before the divorce.  According to the 2002 Census Bureau, “50% of all married couples in US will be seeking a divorce attorney.” Here in Southern California the divorce rate is even worse; at about, 60-75%.

If any of these statistics hold true, it is likely you will divorce, so, you might as well plan your budget — not only for the marriage, but for the divorce that follows. To file for divorce here in San Diego can cost around $395. It gets worse when courts and lawyers are involved — an uncontested divorce can run from $1,000 to $10,000, while a contested one can be from $5,000 to $25,000.

Let’s not forget about the other possibilities of divorcing; custody issues, property loss, psychological problems, restraining orders, alimony, and worst of all, losing half of your pension to your ex.

If you are planning to get married, you should really look at all of the possible outcomes of marriage and prepare yourself — not only financially, but emotionally.

Look into yourself and ask why you really want to get married?  Make sure you really understand your motives and desires before you take that plunge. Any happiness you can attain in a marriage could be attained without one.  Any misery that can ensue in a marriage may be avoided by not marching down that aisle.

Part 3: Advantages

In the previous parts of my articles I discussed how marriage is not needed in order to express love, start a family, and live together. Moreover, it is an institution that could lead to divorce along with financial and emotional disfavor.

However, looking at all aspects that encompass this societal creation, there are some advantages of marriage.

Most commonly, and why many homosexuals fight for gay rights, are the numerous legal benefits.  It differs from state to state, but overall, you tend to pay fewer taxes by being married.

The benefits include social security, Medicare, disability, military, and public assistance. In addition, being married — instead of simply living together — can afford the splitting couple some protections: equitable distribution of property, child support, and death benefits.

If one of the couple is not working or not insured, coverage is available through your spouse’s insurance plan. If your spouse’s life meets his/her expiration date, you can receive retirement plan benefits, workers compensation, and wages.

Legally signing your love on that piece of paper also constitutes many consumer benefits.  You can receive better rates on homeowners, auto, and health insurance. If you have children, you might also welcome the numerous tuition discounts.

Lastly, the only other sane reason to get married is the ability to make your loved one a citizen of your country. Your love may be encumbered by the distance imposed with government borders, and marriage could alleviate that.

Bear in mind, each couple has different life circumstances and marriage may not help them financially. If you are married or plan to get married, check with your tax advisor since a marriage penalty may apply to you, for example.

As many financial benefits as you may acquire from marriage, consider the other potential costs as discussed in Part 2 of my article.

Clearly there are logical advantages to getting married. Nonetheless, marriage seems to be more of a bond then a boon. Buyer beware.

Part 4: Orgins and Conclusion

Many people equate marriage with love, but in reality it never originally had anything to do with love. It was founded on unequal ideals of the roles of men and women in society.

Thousands of years before marriage was created, men and women shared multiple partners and children. As hunter-gatherers began to settle down into agrarian civilizations, more steady family relations were needed to organize a more complex world.

The first recorded marriage ceremony was in Mesopotamia in 2350 B.C. which united one man and one woman. Over the next thousands of years, the seed of marriage grew, creating a tree with deep roots and spreading branches — roots that bound women to men, and branches that blocked out the rays of equality.

Children, before marriage was instituted, were raised by the whole community. Once people moved from nomadic lifestyles into settled communities, men began acquiring property. Children, just like women, became a man’s chattel, therefore men wanted to make sure the children they were raising were their biological heirs; thus allowing their bloodline and inheritance to pass to their legitimate offspring.

In many cultures throughout history, men of wealth were allowed to have concubines, prostitutes, and even teenage male lovers. They had free reign to quench their sexual thirst, while the wife would starve sexually.

To make matters worse would be if a woman couldn’t bear children. The husbands would give their wives back to the parents in the same way we return broken items back to the store. They would marry someone who could provide a child, and cast away their ex, often damning the divorced women to poverty and ostracism.

It was 3,000 years after the first recorded ceremony, when religion and marriage were consummated. In the 8th century the Roman Catholic Church developed into a powerful institution, and for a marriage to be legally recognized, a blessing from a priest was required. Later in 1563, at the Council of Trent, marriage was written into canon law as a sacrament.

Religion gave a facelift to marriage and improved women’s plight. Men were to treat their wives better, show them more respect, were pressured to remain sexually faithful, and were forbidden to divorce. However, according to the church, men were still the head of the household and women were to obey the husbands.

Romantic love in marriage only came in to play in the Middle Ages with the introduction of romance literature, such as the story of Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.  In these novels, men were advised on how to woo women by complimenting their lips, hair, and eyes, for example. Women were now not only there to serve their husbands, but also to be served by their lovers.  In this case, romantic love first began as an idealization of another man’s wife.  Eventually, though, romantic love moved into the realm of being an ideal part of marriage as well.

The evolution of marriage continued to transform society, especially in the 1920s and 1960s with the birth of women’s rights in the United States. However, marriage still needs to continue its metamorphosis and rid much of the underlining ideals on which marriage was founded.

When women get married and sign themselves to their husband, they are symbolically losing their identity.  They surrender their last name, a name that encompassed who they were. They then take the husband’s last name and absorb his identity.

Before you get married, understand it origins, ask yourself why you are getting married and if it will benefit you in the long run. Religion and love never had anything to do with marriage.

Marriage will not guarantee security, your spouse may leave you or cheat on you regardless if you are married or not. Marriage will not guarantee that you won’t die alone. What you can get in a marriage you can get in a relationship. Don’t get married just because society tells you to. When you get married you may believe that you and your spouse are going to be the same people.  However, both you and your spouse will change; you will not be the same people in 10 days, let alone 10 years!  As human beings, we aren’t the same cellular being that we were at our birth.  If your cells don’t stay static, why would you think you won’t change? How can you be so sure that you will love that person the rest of your life?

You have to be prepared for not only the changes your spouse goes through, but the changes you go through, and how that will alter the dynamics of your relationship. Marriage can derive from a form of insecurity and once you have a strong sense of self worth you will no longer look to other people to complete you.

***Thank you for taking the time to read my work. If you enjoy what you read; please share, like, and comment. All of these details help me drastically and will allow me to write more often. Thank you for your support!***

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15 thoughts on “Marriage Exposed

  1. I won’t presume your intentions with this article, but I, for one, thank you for your attention to a more purer and surer approach to marriage. Rightfully said, people ought to be wary of marital day-dreams.

  2. I agree, Gino. Marriage is a ridiculous institution in this day and age, when love is the basis of a relationship, not material necessity. Then again, I am married. Why did my husband and I decide to get married? It really came down to legal formalities.

    Just as you stated in Part 3, there are some advantages to marriage, which are mostly legal and financial advantages. My husband and I considered whether to marry over the course of a 4-year relationship, with 3 of those years spent living together as a couple. It was something we talked about on and off during the entire relationship, and our feelings towards it changed frequently as time went on.

    We never felt that we needed to be married. We were quite happy just living together as a couple, no strings attached. When we first began living together, we even kept our finances separate, so as to make it easier should we ever separate. However, as our relationship evolved and grew, our love did as well. The romance and sexual energy were there, but became secondary to a true friendship and sense of belonging that emerged in the relationship. We began talking about more and more long-term ideas for our future, and more and more, those ideas seemed to become one with each other. We knew that our ideas could happen separately of each other, but we both had a deep sense of foresight, that somehow being together and building our ideas as a team would yield a far greater result than what we could accomplish without each other. We realized that our commitment to each other went much farther than romantic love. It was anchored to our futures, and it felt wonderful to know that it was there. It was a bond that we knew could not be broken as long as we maintained it with loving care.

    Going forward, we wanted to build a life truly lived as one, so we attempted to combine all of our finances. We were able to open bank and credit card accounts together easily. However, insurance was difficult to get together, because we were not married. Once we hit that obstacle, we decided to do some research into others we could encounter in the future. We realized that buying a house could be more difficult if we weren’t married, depending on where we bought it. We saw that in some places, if one person ends up in the hospital, the other would not be allowed to visit without permission from family members, and may not even be able to decide whether their partner lives or dies, if their partner is on life support. We saw also that in the case of the death of one person, the other may not receive any of their estate, unless the family decides to allow it. All of these things weighed heavily on us, as we realized that truly commited relationships, where one person can even decide the other’s fate, were a legal struggle without buying into the institution of marriage.

    It was after much research and discussion that we decided that the best course for our mutual futures was to get married. We didn’t do it for love, but out of a sense of financial and legal necessity. And yes, our relationship has changed since we got married, but it had changed throughout our unmarried relationship as well. We knew it wouldn’t be easy to be married, but we knew that we were up to the task, because we were ready to do the work that was necessary. We knew that marriage is like a garden.

    A garden needs constant tending and care to continue to bloom. When you decide to begin a garden, it’s almost romantic. You look at all the beautiful flowers and plants that are out there, and you pick and choose the ones to bring home with you, the ones you want to plant in your fertile soil. You sweat and work, planting them and watering them, giving them lots of love and all your emotion so that they will grow more beautiful before your eyes. After some time passes, you realize that there is some ugliness under the beauty. There are weeds that grow, pests that try to eat your plants, and unpredictable weather that can take them away from you at any moment. Someone may even come and pull them out or stomp them down until they are dead! You must do everything you can to protect your garden, and it’s a lot of work. But at the end of it all, after years of commitment, when the plants have grown to their peak, the garden is more than beautiful. It is stunning, spectacular, and has a life of it’s own. Your garden needed you, and after all that you have put into it, you realize that maybe, just maybe, you needed it too.

    My husband and I will be married for four years a week from tomorrow, and together as a couple for eight years. And at this point, where we’ve been married exactly half as long as we’ve been together, I have to say that the married half has been the better half of the relationship. Yeah, the sex may not always be as explosive as it was in the beginning, and neither of us may have the freedom of being single, but there is something about the commitment we’ve made for our long-term futures, and the fact that we’ve commited to the work it takes to see our garden bloom, that gives me a deep and lasting satisfaction that simply being in a relationship couldn’t give me. I definitely don’t think it’s right for everyone though, and I don’t think almost anyone who gets married spends as much time thinking and researching about it as my husband and I did. It’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and yet it often is. In our case, it was for the better.

    • Sorry for the late response. I loved your garden metaphor, and again, I agree on marriage only for situations like yours, because in reality all it is, is a business contract. However, within our society, I highly doubt people get married in the way you and Chris got married. I am sure you would agree that the marriage we find today is very young and immature in many cases and also because of societal pressures. I wish more people thought like you and Chris.

  3. You have made good points about marriage.

    There is one thing you overlooked: when someone is married they usually have a level of commitment to their spouse they don’t have to a gf or bf.

    Example: I had a male relative live with his gf rather than marry her. They moved into my aunt’s house. The gf became disabled. He moved on and moved out, leaving her there. Fast forward: my aunt recently died. The gf has no position in our family, no rights to stay in that house. He has no moral or legal obligation to her. She’s just a gf, not a wife.

    You see? She should have married him. He would then have some responsibilty for her, regardless of how he felt. Now what’s she going to do?

    • Great point, I did touch on marrying for legal purposes but of course each relationship would have different needs. You see that is what I have a problem with, why would someone be more commited to their lover if they are married? Makes me think the person won’t be fully committed until the government stamps its approval, if that is the case I don’t want to be with that person in the first place, seems like the love would be conditonal. Regarding that gf, sad story and unfortunate. But wouldn’t you rather work on things on your own than to depend on someone who didn’t want you in the first place or was forced to marry you because or moral or legal obligations. Situations like disability, social services should come down to better governmental programs. Most of our taxes pays of the debt the US gov has and military expenditures, whereas, social programs such as health and education funding are lackluster. The government should take care of her, not her bf.

      • I believe there is a psychological change that takes place when someone becomes “my wife” or “my husband”. There is an implied and legal obligation there.

        I don’t believe that my relative would have abandoned his wife the way he did his girlfriend. No way.

        I’m curious, have you ever been married?

      • Yea but why does it have to be obligated, why cant anyone do something out of love rather than coercion? With obligation comes a sense of ownership, if you are “my wife” than I own you and if you dont do something I like we will have trouble. I don’t think what happened to your relative had to do with marriage per say, but more the fact that he may not have been connected unconditionally to his gf? Marriage would only have made him bitter if he were then forced to take care of her, does that suck? Yes. But again, if you have to do something for a legal or moral obligation that you don’t really want to do, is that really love? No, I have never been married and will never get married unless it benefits me financially or if it’s to be a citizen of a country I desire to go to, haha.

  4. I thought you hadn’t been married. You really don’t understand that there’s more to marriage than a piece of paper or love, for that matter.

    My relative wasn’t connected unconditionally, and the big clue was that HE DIDN’T MARRY HER. Too bad she didn’t have that clue, she wouldn’t be in the bad position she’s in now. She should have never moved in with him as a gf.

    • You don’t have to be married to understand marriage. Although it helps I am sure. I have witnessed many marriages, it is extremely common in our society and have also been in numerous relationships. What can you get in a marriage that you cannot get in any relationship besides the legal aspects? Marriage never had anything to do with love up until recently, it was actually a business contract and was really against women’s rights. That is not an opinion, but a fact. With close research on marriage you will see where it really came from. Maybe you really don’t understand that there’s more to love than marriage…

  5. I disagree.

    Another dynamic that changes when you marry is your spouse’s family become your family. That’s something you get when you marry: other family. My niece, whom I dearly love, would not be my niece, if it weren’t for me being married to her uncle. She would be my boyfriend’s niece. See the difference?

    Then there’s the financial, insurance, etc. If you die without a will, your spouse will automatically get it all. If you are on life support, your spouse can turn it off. Things like that.

    What I understand is that when it comes to love: when someone truly loves you, they want to take that legal and social obligation and marry you.

    If marriage is so unnecessary, why are gays fighting so hard for the right to get married?

    • You disagree with what exactly? You see you don’t need marriage to have your spouse’s family become your family. I have established many familial relationships with my girlfriends family and yet I am not married. Many of their nieces and nephews have called me uncle. Its about the human connection not marriage. Many can marry and not relate will with their spouses family. And with your argument, I have also seen many people stop talking to their spouses family when they divorce. In my piece I talk about the finanicial aspect of it, and if it benefits people finanicially they should do it. But also take in the financial despair a couple may face with divorce and lawyers fees. When someone truly loves you, they don’t need any obligations to express that love. Marriage is a social construct, we grow up in an enviornment that potrays marriage as the pinnacle. We are taught to marry and that is a high form of love. Gays are apart of the same enviornment as anyone else, we are indocrinated to believe in marriage. Also, I also think it may be the fact that they don’t have the freedom to do so if they wanted to. I think they fight hard for it because its an injustice to single them out.

  6. They can call you uncle, but you’re not. You will not be listed in the family geneology trees of your gfs on Ancestry.com. You won’t be listed in someone’s obit as their uncle. You’re just a boyfriend.

    When I created a family scrapbook of three generations, gfs and bfs were not included. I wonder why that would be? ’cause they’re NOT FAMILY.

    Only someone who isn’t married sees it the way you do.

    Gays don’t fight for marriage just because they can’t get married.

    They fight for it because marriage is a statement to the world that says, “I want to be united with this person, religiously, legally and socially. I want to be a family with this person.”

    Marriage is the ultimate commitment a couple can make in our society. It’s not nothing.

    • Titles don’t mean anything to me. You can be a blood uncle and give a shit about your nephew. People adopt children and love them greatly, provide for them, you think the child doesn’t call them father or mother. I rather give and receive love with one another and establish an amazing human relationship over having myself on a geneology tree on ancestry.com, I could careless about that stuff, its meaningless. I will make my own scrapbook, my own tree if I really cared about that. Not only that, the family I have now has a family tree, I am already on one if that was an important thing in my life. Saying, “only someone who isn’t married sees it the way you do” is quite an unscientific statement. You can’t say “ONLY” I see marriage that way, unless of course you have spoken to every human being in the world regarding marriage and they proved your thesis. Some people think like me, some divorced, some currently married now, some single, but you can’t say “ONLY” me. How do you know Gays don’t fight for marriage just because they can’t get married? Have you talked to every gay in the world? What is your proof? You don’t need marriage to be united with a person religiously or socially, just legally. That is a fact not an opinion. So before you got married you were united? It took a ceremony, a blood diamond ring, sweatshop suits, a pastor, and a lot of money for the wedding to tell you that you love and are united with your husband? Remembor marriage was never religious until the vatican jumped on board. What is a marriage with no love? A piece of paper and gifts from the people who went to your wedding. Love is the ultimate commitment, not marriage.

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