There are so many versions of marriage that I had to make up my own.
I was 25 years old when I got married to my high school sweetheart. At the time I thought I was too young to tie up myself for life. But I did it anyway because I had no doubts about my relationship. Some people told me that it was a good age to have kids, so I was doing the right thing. Other people congratulated me politely and didn’t really care what I did with my life. A few were very surprised that a young feminist like me decided to take such a step. I don’t know… I don’t think that marriage has nothing to do with age, kids or feminism. I think that history has given us very bad examples of marriage and now we seem to only look at it as good or bad. No human connection is that simple. No important topic of our life can be put that way.
I wonder why feminism has hard feelings towards marriage but at the same time most people want to find the right person to have a serious relationship with. I do understand their arguments against the official union. Traditionally and still in many cultures, when a woman gets married goes from being the property of the father to be the property of her husband. There is no freedom there. One proof is the fact that she is being walked down the aisle by her father. In this scenario the woman isn’t making any decision; marriage is not her decision, it is an imposition. Luckily I got married in Spain and there we signed a different kind of contract. Both parties have the same rights and obligations making no difference between men and women so marriage is just a contract were you make official your serious relationship. You should not be losing anything, you just get whatever benefits the state gives to married people.
Because I don’t think I am in the position to talk about married in countries where women have no rights, I will stick to those aspects that have nothing to do with politics but they are related to the cultural beliefs running my nearest society.
I should probably start with the Disney fantasy that makes us feel that soulmates a real thing. Unfortunately when those two bags of DNA got together they were not thinking about your prince charming. They were just trying to bring one more human being into this world. If the gen combination doesn’t work, maybe next time it will. And that’s the same with soulmates. If “the one” doesn’t work, maybe next time it will. That’s why instead of talking about my soulmate I rather talk about my very best friend with enormous benefits. That way you get a more faithful picture.
Another tradition that has gotten lots of attention thanks to the romantic love concept shown in films is the engagement rings. Nowadays it seems like you can’t get engaged without a big stone in your finger. On the other hand it is more common the idea of seeing engagement rings as decorative handcuffs. To some people they represent the destruction of your autonomy and an agreement to put up with the whatever the future brings. I don’t see engagement rings as nothing else than a gift. You are going to ask someone to get married, it seems a good idea to me to pose the question with a nice present. In my case I was the one being asked, so I didn’t have to think about it. However my fiancé then, did. He didn’t understand the silly thing of having two rings, one pre and another post- wedding. So he refused the idea of buying me an engagement ring. What he did was to watch me during a few weeks until he realised that I needed a watch and kept on postponing to buy one. Better than an expensive gift is a functional gift, not because it’s useful but because it shows an effort from his part. You know that person really understands you.
So now you are engaged and the money worries come. You have an expensive wedding to organise and on top of that, you know that the couple never enjoys the party… I just don’t understand why the fact that you want to get married means that you have to make a big party. Every couple should have the freedom to decide and if a picnic suits better your pocket, then it should be a picnic. Actually I will raise the offer. Make it a small gathering with your five closest friends and have a lovely honey moon camping. That was in real life my first idea, then I had to admit that I had chosen a party lover and that I couldn’t mess around with the best day of his life. So I end up doing a huge party, but that was my decision made with total freedom. And yeah… I did have lots of fun.
Having fun during your wedding is also important. Struggling to make a fabulous party and then having only stressful memories it’s a total waste of time. If you enjoy organising events, go for it. Do your best job and be proud of it, but that day you just have to agree to some mess to happen. Remember that it is not what life throws at you but the attitude you chose to wear when you confront it. So if someone smashes the cake on the groom’s face make sure you are there to have a bite out of your sweet sweet spouse.
Maybe you’ve survived the wedding. Your pictures are awesome and you just moved a new wonderful house. Oh, oh… Were you to living together before getting married? It’s definitely not a requirement for a peaceful marriage but it will give you a hint of how your relationship is actually doing before jumping into the water. I don’t think it’s necessary to share the living space more than a year, but signing a cohabitation agreement before giving it a try… well, it just seems a little bit too much like romantic love to me. Hey, maybe you two can get away with marriage and not living in the same house. Why not, anything that is good for you two it is good for the couple.
When you sing those papers you automatically become a family. I guess that’s why so many people assume that I was getting married to have children. I am going to be honest and tell you that I did feel a bit obligated to have children, only for a few seconds, though, every time that someone mentioned it. Lots of times. When I got married I had no idea if I wanted to have children or not. For god sake, I am 28 years old, and I am still thinking about it. That’s a problem right there. If you really want to have children and you just pick the first available person in line you are likely to make a mistake. And if you get married for love and then have children, maybe also for love (it wouldn’t be the first time), of course you are going to hate your marriage and your partner and your live. That’s what happens when we do things that we don’t really want to do: just plain unhappiness.
And it’s when unhappiness appears that you wonder which kind of ending you got. Perhaps you were counting on a clean road after your wedding, and some holes appeared that you are just not able to fill. You are in front of the mirror and you don’t know who you are looking at any more. Or is it your partner who seems to have changed more than you thought it was possible? If your are worried that your are not going to get a happy ending, don’t worry: marriage has no happy ending, your significant other is going to leave you one way or another. It can be a break up or a car accident, or he/she might peacefully die just when you feel most vulnerable in life.
It is good for you both to keep in mind that that’s the life you have chosen and not the only life you can have. If you understand this you will enjoy every moment and you will run away soon enough whenever it’s necessary. Remember when I said that anything that is good for you two it is good for the couple? Well, it is still true, but there is a hard true to it that you may not like it: divorce. We all make mistakes but we still deserve to go on with our life.
And the question still remains. Why the fuck would you want to get married?
You know when you feel that you disappointed someone many times and also you have used your worst manners to hurt that person deeply but nothing seems to drive that person away. And the weirdest thing is that he or she forgets all those things and help you to be a better version of yourself, not in a manipulative way, but with compassion and understanding. You know, growing up together, helping each other to become more mature, supporting each other through dark times and all that shit. I know, I know, it sound very much like a friendship. But I like to think of it like a friendship that everybody needs and most people can’t live without. Sure, marriage doesn’t give you that, but if you have it, why not to get married?
The thing is we often have a lot more patience with our friends than with our partners. We expect them to be there for us anytime and we get angry if they aren’t but we regularly forget that we should also be willing to live through out their crazy mood. Being compassionate it has always being difficult, nowadays even more since you get constantly reinforced by the social media of how special you are. But we should try and, consciously, make the decision to choose to love your significant other every single day. If that is not what you want to choose to do, then you haven’t found your “very best friend with enormous benefits”. Or… you still need to grow up, which means you need someone to help you and support you in those very dark times. So, why don’t we try to be nice to each other and every now and then, maybe when you are not completely sure about your arguments, just give in for the common good. At the end of the day, marriage is and has always been a business contract. Buy a ring or throw a party to celebrate your business if you want. But please, be nice to your business partner and I assure you you will get those enormous benefits.
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