Wednesday, December 02, 2009

post-modern marriage myths

I know I don't talk much about my personal life on my blog, but there's something coming up that I wanted to explain and discuss. As some of you may know, I'm getting married next autumn. Immediately, all sorts of things spring to mind, people have so many presuppositions about marriage that it makes me want to call it something else entirely. The word is fine, what it actually stands for is fine, but all the baggage drives me insane.

On its face, marriage is a partnership contract between two people. That's it. The nature of that partnership is as much up to those people as anything else about our lives: what we choose to wear in the morning, eat, how we want to spend our lives, etc. It means that two people are choosing to be partners in the ongoing drama of life. Though there's no good reason that it can't be more than two people, that's how the law paints it. And there is some precedent to the diad as a strong bond- just look at chemistry. On the other hand, we'd be pretty fucked without some of those three pair bonds, like say H 2 O.

Regardless, this is the law as it presently stands, and as it so happens I presently have one partner, not two. We are fed a bill of sale along with this basic agreement that does not necessarily follow. It may, if you choose for it to, but your marriage is ultimately what you make it to be. It does not mean you will take no other lovers, it does not mean that you will have children, or own a home together, or that you need to buy a diamond ring to seal the deal. It doesn't mean the bride will wear white, or that there even needs to be a grand expensive to-do where everyone you can think of is invited. (In our case, this is true except #2, which is undecided for the foreseeable future, and #3, until we can amass enough money to rectify the situation and have our library recording studio art studio king sized bed giant bathroom lovenest with kitties and maybe chickens if Jaz gets her way.)

Everyone is unique in genetics, upbringing, and that essential, indefinable quality that makes a person who they are and no other- so the same is true in the partnerships we forge. Compromise, communication, and individuality make strange bedfellows at times but they're the essential elements of any marriage. The specifics are unique- but we're given a one-size-fits-all image of what marriage is, what it means. There is no need. Make it as unique as you are. Love your partners for their uniqueness, why should we bend it to fit a mold?

A friend of mine had a costume wedding. He was an astronaut. If you knew him you'd understand why this was such a great expression of their wonderful peculiarity. And if your ideas and your partners ideas about marriage are irreconcilable, that may be worth looking at.

My take on marriage is this: Take in life together, and love, and lovers if you so choose, put the pleasure of your partner on an equal level with your own (that's where compromise comes in), and try to enjoy the ride.

This also leads into a push-button topic these days, that of gay marriage. I think what I've already said should very clearly demonstrate where I stand on this issue. (The fact that my mother has identified as lesbian for some time makes this even more pressing, and there is no good reason whatsoever that she shouldn't be able to engage in a partnership with whomever she chooses.) The government sanctions a partnership as a legal contract. It has no right to stipulate the gender or particulars of that contract, any more than it has the right to dictate the one and only way I can engage in business with a publisher. Further, marriage is not only a contract, but anything beyond that simple agreement - to engage in the process of living as a unit - rests outside the boundaries of governmental and cultural critique.


  1. Very nicely put.

    Lately a lot of people have been giving flack and getting into other people's business by trying to designate how and who others should love and how it should be celebrated. I don't think there is a group out there that isn't "tending to their own garden" in this respect.
    Thanks for yet again, showing a conscious, clear viewpoint and the best of luck in your futures together.

  2. totally grokked. :)



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