(Originally posted 6/22/12 on Blogger)
Can I think the word "marriage" without hearing Peter Cook's Princess Bride speech?
No, I can't(That's probably why I wanted my first wedding to be Princess Bride themed) But this is serious. So I'll do my best.
In the past few years there has been quite a lot of discussion about "defining" marriage or "re-defining" marriage. Some people say that marriage is under attack. This, frankly, disgusts me.
I am on my second (and final) marriage. One might think that the fact that I walked away from my first marriage means that I'm not serious about marriage, but I am. Marriage is a serious contract. When you marry someone you make yourself responsible for them and them responsible for you. You promise to share your stuff and gain a share of their stuff. Most important, you promise that, should children be involved, you will raise your children together as a team. Historically, the whole purpose of marriage was to facilitate the optimum conditions for the raising of children. Ah, but what about love? Love is merely an emotional response to a bunch of biological processes whose sole purpose is to cause the organism (that's you) to reproduce even if your brain says no. Love, like marriage, is all about the children.
(I'm sure you're dying to know so I'll just tell you, my first marriage went sour because my ex couldn't do right by me and the kids. He really had no interest in our well being and we simply cramped his style. And he should have married a man. One of the many reasons I support gay marriage.) (That all out in the open, let's get back to the whole marriage and kids discussion.)
Now it's true that some people get married and never have kids. Never want to. Well that's fine. We've got a population problem and that's a fact. They are doing their part for the rest of us by helping to balance things out. And their marriage isn't pointless. They are still responsible for one another. Everyone should have someone who is responsible for them. Also, these kid free couples are a huge boon to the economy. They spend money in ways that the married with children don't except in pre-kid and post-retirement phases of their lives. And because they agree on the no-kids thing (we presume) their marriage prevents each of them from being pressured into having kids by some other person because our society sure likes to push people into having kids!
And yes, I know I already mentioned gay marriage. What about that? What about folks who know going in that they will never be able to create a biological child together (not all of these folks are gay, mind you.) They also play a part. I believe that these folks, assuming they have maternal and paternal leanings are the very special people in our society chosen by the Gods to care for otherwise unwanted children. I know a gay couple who has adopted six handicapped children between them. These men are saints! They are so good and so kind to everyone, especially their kids, and they love and respect each other so deeply but the state says they can't marry. It's obscene! I've always said that if you oppose abortion, you should support gay marriage and adoption policies that allow gay couples to adopt children together. I realize that gay couples can just live together and can just adopt children individually, but what happens if one of them becomes incapacitated and is unable to speak for himself? Marriage makes the legal statement - I trust this person to be responsible for me and for my children and I take responsibility for him/her and his/her children. Without that legal statement, everything they have together is at risk if something happens to one of them.
I've been married 3 years to my current husband and I couldn't be happier. If my gay neighbors got married I'd be thrilled to bits for them, I would not feel my marriage or its integrity were threatened. What disgusts me are these "stars" like the Kardashians and who have these elaborate weddings and then call it quits without even giving it a chance. Marriage is serious business, and hard work. It's not entertainment, it's not a fun party. There are things about marriage that I don't like. I don't like sharing my stuff (my husband doesn't like it even more) and I don't like having to check in with someone else before I make a major purchase. I especially hate that I am not the only one who has access to my checking account, even though I'm not the only one that fills it. Sometimes my husband annoys me and sometimes I annoy him. But we work it out and by work I mean work! The media portrays marriage as either a fairy tale fantasy or a comic misery and neither are fair portrayals. Yet we're supposed to be threatened because the gay and lesbian community might be let in on the fun? Whatever.
Marriage is good for society, provided people go into it with the right ideas in their heads (I am taking responsibility for this person who is in turn taking responsibility for me. And it's going to suck sometimes but we're going to have to work through it. Oh and I have to share my stuff.) rather than "Oh isn't this going to be a fun party." Those people who nobody takes responsibility for, everyone takes responsibility for. When you are a single adult sinking into depression, who notices? Who notices your addictions? Who will make sure you eat when you have the flu and prevent it from becoming more serious due to dehydration? Who will pick up the slack when you just don't have it in you anymore? At a certain point your mom won't do this for you anymore. It becomes your spouse's responsibility and, provided you give as good as you get, it is the way things should be. Without that person to take care of and be taken care of by, who is there to turn to but the government and taxpayers? So I say, let anyone get married who wants to, in any combination and quantity while we're at it as long as they can work it out amongst themselves.
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