Feuding families. Crying mothers. Women in tight, expensive but ugly dresses. Excessive consumption of alcohol. These are the sights, sounds and smells of a wedding (see REBUTTAL: Sorry Cosmopolitan, ‘Self-Marriage’ is Only for Pathetic Losers and PERFECT: Ted Cruz Flawlessly Sums Up Gay Marriage Debate). And possibly a marriage.
A therapist featured on Yahoo! Finance (so you know she’s super serious) wants to alter the union which has served as the keystone of the family unit for centuries. Why not? If THE GAYZ can marry, what does “marriage” even mean anymore? Might as well reform the entire institution. The therapist is specifically miffed about the “until death” part of marriage. You know, because commitment is totes hard and stuff.
Before I get to the meat, I have some suggestions. Maybe the “’til death” clause should be changed to “Until I get tired of your saggy breasts” or “Until I’m tired of picking up your skid marked underwear off the floor.” Or my favorite “Until my wife/husband becomes different than s/he was ten years ago when I married them.”
Imagine accepting a job you had to stay in forever. Even if the pay stagnated, or there turned out to be no room for advancement, or your coworkers consistently brought in smelly lunches, you’d be legally obligated to stick it out.
The thing about marriage is that you’re essentially taking the same leap of faith.
Hard stop. The first paragraph of this piece against marriage being forever is comparing it to a job you grow to hate. Yes, I understand how analogies work, thanks. I just think it’s a crappy one. No one hears a husband confusing his wife with a spreadsheet. No one hears a wife comparing her husband to a Filofax. But okay fine, let’s roll with this job metaphor. Before one takes on this job for the rest of their life, they’re allowed to try it out for an unspecified amount of time to understand the job better. If their coworker have a proclivity to make messes. If their coworkers call them fat. If their coworkers need to be nagged to get anything done, then whine about it later.
Dating. It’s called dating. People date before getting married to see if they want to marry the person they’re dating. If they can live with smelly lunches or no room for advances. I thought this was rather clear. As a concept.
Here’s the one sentence you need to read if you’d rather just forgo reading for the rest of the day to skip under a sprinkler wearing nothing but your tights-whities: if you don’t think you can be married to a person for the rest of your life, don’t get married to them.
Oh, I can HEAR the screams: Oh, but Courtney, you’re not married. You just don’t GET IT! HE CHANGED. SHE’S CRAZY! HE’S PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE. SHE’S A NAGGING WHORE. HE’S A FILTHY PIG. SHE DOESN’T RESPECT MY BOUNDARIES!
I know, people are the worst. Ask me why I have dogs. And I get it, sometimes marriage doesn’t work out. Doesn’t mean we should change the entire institution because some people failed at it. You feel me? Direct your hatred of my typed words to a spare brown bag. Draw my face on it. Crumple it. No go run under the sprinkler.
Let’s get back to the article, yeah? We can circle back to bad marriage decisions in a jiffy.
It’s something Susan Pease Gadoua has thought a lot about. Pease Gadoua is a therapist and the founder of the Changing Marriage Institute; in 2014, she and Vicki Larson published a book titled “The New I Do,” in which they argue against the one-size-fits-all marriage.
The existing concept of marriage, she said, is really a “shame-based model.” There’s this idea that “you made your bed; you have to lie in it.” In other words, you married this person thinking you could be with them forever, and now you have to live up to that expectation.
Um. Yes. I did mention dating a person, right? Seeing if you like them and if you can live with their disgusting habits or crazy behavior? Because it seems like people are forgetting about it. Incidentally, if during the dating process one discovers one cannot live with “that other one” until death parts them, break up. Speak now or forever write dumbassery on Yahoo! Finance.
The main takeaway here is about being realistic. Love is a commitment — passion may fade, and there may be days when you want to strangle your partner, and still you stay. That’s love.
Um. Right. Kind of like if you make a contract with someone to love them in sickness and in health until death parts you, you will.
Also, contracts aren’t shame-based. Acquiring contracted entities by choice is never fear mongering. The article makes it sound as if marriage is a forced union between two people who can’t understand the legal terminology “as long as we both shall live.” I get it. Words are hard.
Commitment is harder. I’m not sure anyone has ever said “Marriage is easy” and meant it. Two individuals of the opposite sex living in the same space, sharing the same monies, and eating the same gas-inducing burritos are bound to have some disdain for one another. Sometimes marriage fails, but that doesn’t mean the rules should change for everyone.
What this article likely is, is an essay on “My marriage failed. I don’t want to consider myself a failure, ergo I’m going to change the rules of the game so I don’t come out the loser.” There are divorced people reading this post right now screaming at me, I’m sure. Not everyone’s marriage is flowers and hippy love songs. Most are not. Most marriages are hard work. People have a tendency to drive one another crazy. But just because many people can’t stick it out (or won’t stick it out, pick your reason) is no justification to write essays about how the entire enchilada should change so you don’t feel bad about yourself.
Marriage doesn’t fail people. People fail marriage. Put that on your t-shirt for your bachelorette/bachelor party.