Now, that’s an interesting title for a post of mine, isn’t it? Hey, though — I can’t be all political all the time, right? If you only read my writing when it comes to politics, this will disappoint you.
Our society seems to have some kind of agreement that the institution of marriage is losing some of its potency, and I can see why. Right wingers think so because we’re wanting to let homosexuals do it. Atheists say that it’s just a religious institution. Others say, “it’s just a piece of paper,” or that it doesn’t mean anything with a 50% divorce rate. Some say that it’s unnatural to assume we’ll be happy with just one person.
I’d like to offer a quick disclaimer — if you’re a member of one of the above groups and feel that I have unfairly characterized you, just know that I was overgeneralizing on purpose and I don’t necessarily believe that’s a completely typical attitude.
When it comes to this subject, feel free to offer feedback and indicate an agreement or lack thereof. After all, while I don’t feel that life experience is calculated in years (I think it’s calculated in experiences), there are those of you that have much more experience than I in this area.
I don’t think that marriage is cheapened, or that it has lost its potency. I don’t believe that gays marrying affects it at all, and people with short-term or shallow marriages can deal with that themselves. I do not believe that it is for everyone, though. My opinion is that, while there are certainly a higher percentage of failed marriages (interestingly, there is an inverse correlation with rates of infidelity. Divorce is up, but cheating is down), that just makes the ones that succeed that much more amazing. Seriously, guys. What’s cuter than old people in love?
It must be pointed out that I have a somewhat biased point of view on this, as I am engaged to be married in September of this year. However, that’s the source of some of these thoughts. My soon-to-be wife isn’t going to be changing her last name because we’re young, passionate and stupid. She isn’t marrying me because we have a great physical attraction, or because we’re silly enough to believe that we magically met the “one” person somehow designed for us at the tender ages of 18. We have all of that (well, she lacks the stupidity), but it’s not why we’re marrying.
We’re marrying each other because we’re best friends and it just makes sense. I mean that in a business sense, almost. We match each other in ways that simply make the system of our relationship greater than the sum of its parts.
My grandfather has an old-school approach to his marriage. He said his vows, and he meant them. Because of that, he’s stuck by his wife since she was eighteen, giving them fifty years of marriage together. Was it always perfect? No. Were they both better for it? Yes.
Marriage can certainly work for the right people, and when it does, it’s amazing. For the right people, it’s a sound decision. I don’t recommend ever rushing into anything — my fiancee and I have been friends since we were children — but I don’t like seeing the bad rap marriage gets from…well, everywhere.
I don’t think that there are “perfect couples,” “love at first sight” or “soul mates.” What I do think is that two individuals that are well-suited to each other (this could mean similarities, sharp contrasts or really anything specific to them as a potential couple) have the potential of having a relationship. That relationship has the potential to develop into something long-term or permanent…but that the “potential” is nearly always raw and undeveloped. If you want it to develop into something lasting, you must constantly tend it.
My mother once told me that a relationship involves three people — the two in it, and the relationship itself. You have to put equal effort into taking care of all three. My personal theory involves particle physics and wave functions (I’m serious. If you’re interested, let me know), but hey! Each to their own.
What are your thoughts on marriage and love?