When I talk about having an overwhelming need to be married, I am not bashing single people.
Trust me when I say I have not always viewed marriage favorably either, or even necessary, but as I continue to see the simple truth that humans need each other and that all cultures have a version of marriage as a domestic role within the larger society, I would most definitely say I am pro-marriage.
However, you might as well know now that I’m not pro conventional marriage, whatever that might be anyways. I am not even especially pro nuclear families, but see the usefulness of a measure of social pride being part of being good at marriage within a larger family context within society.
Oddly enough, though probably also quite natural if we think about it, I see that marriage as a set of lovers choosing a domestic set of laws, rights, guarantees and tax considerations which is basically the domestic version of a business partnership. There might be various types of business partnerships, but the idea is that you’re doing this rather huge thing and not by oneself.
That you are not alone shouldering the burdens of creation, unexpected pitfalls, success, or anything else that comes along.
While a married couple without children is surely yet a family, I do think it is correct to place special significance for marriage on those who choose to bring up children.
Parenting is hard, and even the best coparenting relationship feels unsteady at times.
Here’s a few facts about me that shapes my views on marriage:
- I have an autoimmune disease that threatens me with death regularly enough to make me fear dying and leaving my children without a parent
- I have a co-parent who is my exhusband
- We live together and aren’t married
- We aren’t even engaged
- I, for many reasons, am horribly embarrassed to be a single mom because I am a Christian and I dare write about various ethical issues. I take hypocrisy seriously.
- Two of our children were born out of wedlock after our divorce
- My oldest son I had in college, so I was young and impressionable when evangelicals treated me like I needed a husband to amount to anything
- I’m ferociously competitive and driven to succeed and feel not having my home in order (Biblical mandate for Christians seeking to lead) necessarily holds me back.
- I seriously was considering some form of seminary or church service a couple years ago, so I’m having an identity crisis of sorts.
So, I believe in marriage for pragmatic reasons, philosophical reasons, spiritual reasons, religious reasons and at some point, out of sheer pride.
I mean, come on, what man wouldn’t want a wife like me? ;)
If I’m brave enough, I will go into what I think of plural marriages, polyamory and other deviations from what Americans think of, because I think we need to explore all the options if we are to decide as a society what marriage means to us.
We are in a brave new world.
I thank those fighting for same-sex marriage, actually, for reminding me why marriage is important. I have said it before on Facebook, but it is so easy to disregard and minimize and negate something you have a legal right to, but when you watch others without the same right, to marry another consenting adult that they love, you should let it force you to sit up, take notice and slap you in the face if need be.
Marriage is the contract that allows our communities to reach out in support, to bolster an endeavor that is meant to sustain healthy and happy families and children, to build community and society in ways that we can’t seem to fully embrace any longer.
If I may ask a favor, too, I am quite tired of people seeing how my family lives, and how my co-parent and I work together, slogging through each day of dirty diapers, endless ‘what to make for supper’s and the like, and insist to us that we are married or call the other person to us as a spousal name.
No. Do not minimize the people who really are married and slogging along, but hoping to build something great.
I know not many people are as intentional as I am, but more people ought to be. We don’t get married for some fairy tale ending, we marry to better ourselves, our lovers, our children and the pets and service people who depend on us to have our shit together and move our society along.
Until next time…