Recently, while watching a news report on domestic partnerships, I made the mistake of commenting to my parents about how I might consider a domestic partnership, but that I didn’t want to get married. This led to my mom immediately clicking off the television and commencing a sit-down discussion about my thoughts on marriage. Now, my parents, you must understand, are devout Christians and always have been. I was raised as a non-denominational Christian, but began to “falter in my faith” near the end of high school (I like to say I began “thinking for myself,” but that’s just terminology). I told my parents that I was no longer a Christian during my freshman year of college after taking a fantastic religion course called Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The class was remarkably unbiased — despite the fact that it was taught by a Christian minister — and it allowed me the chance to look at the information and consider it for myself without someone trying to use it as a means to an end. Anyway, I decided that organized religion wasn’t my cup of tea.
So, this year I got to thinking about marriage. Not because I am in a serious relationship, no, I’m very happily single; but because three of my best friends suddenly started telling me how they were thinking they might marry their current boyfriends. Weird to hear, but it got me thinking.
Merriam-Webster defines marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” As of now, I cannot see myself getting married. It just doesn’t jive with my scene, yo. I don’t feel the need to have my personal relationships validated by the government. Actually, my motto generally is the less government involvement in my life the better. I do not want children, but if (god forbid!) an accident happened, I would then consider getting married for the child’s sake, but that’s a different conversation. Also, I personally believe that it is immoral to deny homosexual couples the right to marry. I would rather not take part in something that is used to discriminate against my friends and fellow Americans.
I had a talk with my friend, Anita, about this, and she asked me, “Wouldn’t you be worried though? Wouldn’t you feel insecure knowing that he could just up and leave at anytime?” My reply was that it would actually make me feel more secure. I would know that Prince Charming was with me because he really wanted to be, and not just because a piece of paper was legally tying him to me and it would be a huge hassle for him to get out of it. If the man I was with wanted to leave, then he should. Why would I want to force someone to stay with me who didn’t want to?
My father pointed out that it was one of the biggest foundations of our society. How could I just throw that away? Well, easily. I’m not one to partake in tradition for tradition’s sake. I want to do what makes sense to me; what works for me.
My mom said that it was not about the government or the legal contract but that God marries people, and it’s a divine institution that needs to be upheld. My simple answer to this was: I don’t believe that, so it doesn’t apply to me.
Now, I want to make very clear that I am not condemning marriage. I think that marriage is a good idea for some people. For people who are religious, want children and want to make inheritance rights clear, want to uphold tradition, or feel more secure entering into a legally binding (sort of) contract, marriage makes sense. But for crazy rebels like me, well, not so much.
Also, the strength of the “binding” part of “legally binding” is kind of a joke with something like 50% of marriages ending in divorce. That doesn’t scream “divine union” or “till death do us part” to me. It seems like many people just get married because that’s just what you’re supposed to do when you’re seriously in love with someone. Again, not what I’m looking for. Maybe I’m just a silly college student whose liberal ideas shouldn’t even be given the time of day (as my father said), but if I ever hear those famous words, “Will you marry me?” my answer will have to be “No, and here’s the link to my blog, which explains why.”
I would be very interested to know your opinions on this topic, and I’m always open to hearing other points of view!