What is it about marriage that makes people think it’s the highest form of commitment? Legally, I suppose it is, but why do so many people think of it as the pinnacle of a relationship? I understand that marriage comes with a whole host of conveniences and legalities, but does marriage really make your relationship any more legitimate?
I remember reading a comment from Goldie Hawn. She said that she and Kurt Russell had purposefully not gotten married. To them it meant that every day they spent together was a day they had chosen to spend together.
Is she correct? Do married people (some of them anyway) stay together simply because they’re married and not because they want to be with that other person any longer? Could you say the same thing about a couple who didn’t get married but have been together for years and years, probably live together, possibly have children together, and have entwined their lives?
I get it. I don’t think everyone who gets married stays together simply because they’re married; I think many married people “choose” to spend each and every day with their spouse. I also believe a lot of people, including myself, stay in marriages that aren’t all that great because… we’re married. It’s supposed to mean something. It’s a commitment. You don’t quit simply because you no longer feel butterflies, or things get difficult.
However, with that said, I think we’ve all seen marriages go bad, so for many people marriage means absolutely nothing in the long run. It’s a spouse to take care of them and when that spouse outlives their usefulness they are replaced by a new spouse. Obviously not everyone stays together because of the vows they took; they are more than willing to fool around, find a replacement, take off for parts unknown, and/or abandon their children.
The mobster and I have talked about this quite a bit. One of the very first things I ever said to him was that I was never going to get married again. It wasn’t because I was bitter or didn’t believe in love. No, I would never marry again because I never wanted to be in a position where my whole life was uprooted and destroyed because my partner decided he didn’t want me anymore. I lived through having everything taken away from me once; I honestly don’t think I could stand to have that happen to me again.
He, on the other hand, was determined that his STBX would not be his final chapter. He was vowing the day after she left that he would get married again. He also confided in me that for him, the most romantic thing I could do would be to publicly declare my love for him and get married. The fact that so many people don’t take it seriously makes him think it’s all that more romantic when two people who do take it seriously take that step.
I think I’m a lot easier to please. I just wanted a puppy.
I like commitment. I just wonder if marriage is necessary for commitment. I have commented before that I bombed the whole marriage thing. Then the mobster will point out that I didn’t bomb it; I would still be married if it were up to me. I married a guy who cheated on me. One who was actively looking to move away from me and his kids to go be with his cousin/mistress.
Regardless, my marriage failed. Now I’m thinking about marriage and commitment in a totally different light.
If I were to marry again it would be very small. Immediate family only. The last time I had the big church wedding with seven bridesmaids, the beautiful white dress (which CF and Harley destroyed), and the big dinner with dancing reception. Honestly, I would be fine with eloping this time around. Just the two of us. To me, that’s when you know you are marrying for the right reasons. You don’t care about who’s there; you don’t care about all the details. You just want to marry that one person and begin your life together.
What does that mean though? I see those memes all the time. I can hardly wait to begin my life with you. When you find that special someone you want your life together to begin as soon as possible because you don’t want to waste another minute. What do they mean? Are they talking about marriage when they say they want their life together to begin ASAP? Are you really beginning your life together the moment you marry? What about all the things you did together before the wedding? Do they not count?
Personally, I think the mobster and I have a fantastic relationship. I don’t see how getting married could make it any better, or any more real. We’ve had some amazing weekends and adventures together. Those all count. Whether we are together for the rest of our lives or things end tomorrow, the time we have invested in us has been real. Our lives together are happening now, not when we marry. Our lives aren’t suspended until we take vows. We are creating memories and having a great time already; marriage isn’t going to make it more so.
I’ve often wondered what has happened to all of those couples competing for the honeymoon on Four Weddings. I think it would make a great show. They are so worried about every little detail and trying to vie for the best wedding ever! I’ve got a mashed potato bar! I have a signature drink! We had fireworks! I’ve spent nine months creating personalized table toppers! Truthfully, I feel like a lot of those people are much more interested in their wedding day than in their marriage. Don’t get me wrong; I love the show. I love weddings, too. Furthermore, I am still on board with the show making me a permanent guest at all these fantastic weddings.
I also understand that once you’ve been through the big wedding you can see the absurdity of a big wedding, especially if your marriage fizzles. I don’t blame the first time bride who wants to ask her friends to be bridesmaids and wants to say “Yes!” to the dress and pick a venue and do taste testings for a fantastic cocktail hour/dinner (not that I ever got to do that!) and pick out a yummy, beautiful wedding cake. However, the wedding is one day. The marriage will hopefully last forever.
Why do we place so much emphasis on the actual wedding? If the mobster and I stay together for the next twenty-five years will our relationship be any less simply because we don’t make it legal? And what do they really mean by that? It sounds very official and like it’s very important. Our relationship is now legal. We’re legally married. We’re legally husband and wife.
Who cares? My legally wedded husband fucked his cousin. Marriage didn’t protect me. I think probably the only thing it did for me was entitle me to alimony.
Sure, he couldn’t legally sign over his 401k to Harley as long as he was married. I was supposed to be the one to make medical decisions for him if he had slipped into a coma or been on life support, but let’s be honest. There’s no way any of them would have let me know the situation was dire enough for a third party, and Harley the whore would have ended up making the decisions. And as the mobster pointed out, any benefits automatically given to the wife can be given to the not-the-wife by having something drawn up. Power to make medical decisions? Considered next of kin? Provided for after death? Yep, it’s given automatically when you get married, but you can give those benefits to anyone. You simply have to take the time and make the effort.
The mobster’s wife cheated on him repeatedly. Marriage didn’t protect him either. In fact, it has pretty much bitten him in the ass. Despite the fact that she walked out on him and left him carrying everything, and despite the fact that due to her alcoholism she was never on the deed to the house (he was afraid if she got into an accident the victim could take their house if she was on the deed) she’s entitled to half of it. Even better? She can walk into the house anytime she wants because they are still legally married. He’s been told by several members of law enforcement that he can’t keep her out even though she lives with her boyfriend. She’s entitled to walk right back in whenever. Hell, she can cozy up to him in bed in the middle of the night, or bring her married boyfriend over and have a party, according to the laws in Virginia. If he changes the locks she is allowed to break the windows to get back in. So hey, I guess marriage does afford you some protections. If you’re an asshole.
I have a friend who was with her husband for over fifteen years before they finally got married. I’m not positive but I think they finally took the plunge when they decided to have kids. For a very long time I would always mentally separate their time together into two different time spans. They’ve been together for almost twenty-five years but only married for six, or whatever the number was. Now I ask myself what difference does it make?
Sometimes I think I would very much enjoy bucking tradition and never remarrying while enjoying a very long term relationship with my mobster. He says that he knew what he was getting into when he got involved with me and if we never marry he’s okay with that.
Obviously, for me the decision is not as easy as simply saying yes or no. I lose alimony if I remarry or move in with someone. I’ve got two kids to think about; it’s not all about me.
Even putting all that aside I still go back to that overriding thought: I do not want to lose everything if the mobster suddenly decides he wants someone else. I cannot lose my home again. I cannot lose all of my possessions again.
I have no reason to believe the mobster would do that to me after everything he has gone through. I never thought CF would do that to me either, but he did.
I’m not saying I will never marry again. The mobster sure makes it tempting. But this time I’m not looking to be saved. I don’t need a knight in shining armor on a white horse; I want a full fledged partner. I want someone who wants to listen to me as I prattle on about my everyday life, someone who will let me vent when I’m having a bad day, someone who will make me laugh and laugh with me. I want someone who will go places and do things with me. I want to make my own way, my own money. I want to know that I can support myself with no help. Honestly, I would prefer to be the main breadwinner. I don’t need to be rescued; I don’t need to be with anyone. I do, however, want to be loved. I’m just not sure marriage is necessary for any of that.