Thursday, May 20, 2010

what "marriage" means: my opinion (which is the one I think counts most for me)

As I have mentioned before, I am married and have been for almost, ummmm, 12 1/2 years. (I had to stop and figure that out for a minute, and even then I'm still not positive). When my husband and I worked it out that being married would be awesome (living together was just not enough for us) we talked about how I would NEVER divorce him. My parents divorced, along with most of my friends' parents, and I had figured out that divorce sucks for everyone, and my man and I were good enough friends to work out pretty much anything. (I did add that no matter what, I wouldn't divorce him, so he'd better be sure he wanted to spend the rest of his life with crazy old me).

So we signed on the dotted lines and stood up in front of everyone and I cried through the whole ceremony, mostly out of sheer exhaustion from not sleeping much the night before and being stupid and planning HOURS of pictures before we walked down the aisle. After all these years of wedded bliss (and wedded not bliss) we are still very much in love. Awwww. (*bleck) I know.

I live in a state that is currently working to pass a law/ constitutional amendment to define what exactly "marriage" means here. Well, I've got a few thoughts on what a marriage means.

To me, marriage means working together in a loving and supportive relationship, one of us providing most of the finances and the other providing a comfortable lifestyle within those finances. To a friend, marriage means financial security and a pleasant relationship. To an aunt, marriage means an attempt to find something in another person that is needed (she found some amazing people but never what she was looking for). To my parents, marriage in the past meant fulfilling a cultural expectation with a "nice enough" person. To my father, marriage today means spending life filled with love and adventure. To a neighbor, marriage means living your own lives in a parallel relationship.

I know each person out there has a different take on what marriage means to them. And all those takes on what marriage is (or is not) are true! All of them are part of our collective reality.

Reading articles and websites regarding what "should be done" with the issue of what legal definition is acceptable has solidified that take on the situation. I've even read polls that lean both ways for how the people of my state feels about the issue. (I think most of the media out there is really just crap dressed up.)

Here's what I've found to "support" the idea that marriage is designed for one man and one woman:
* it is for procreation
* it supports the need for a father and mother in a child's life
* it helps build a strong society
* a million little petty things that in a dream world occur in a marriage between a man and a woman, but rarely do in real life.

Here's what I think:
* Marriage itself supports and strengthens our society. (A solid home life for two adults, in support of each other, makes all those around them more solid.)
* Two adults are best to raise children. (Two adults working together to create a stable and loving home for children works best. But I myself would love to have another adult around on occasion, so maybe I would like to add on that having a stable home with a supportive network of other adults makes the best environment to raise children.)
* The separation between church and state needs to be just that, and a state sanctioned marriage is not dependent on the approval of a religious organization. (My father married my mother as a Catholic. He remarried, but never annulled his first marriage so in the Catholic church, he is still married to my mother. The state didn't really care much about that, as it shouldn't have.)
* Positive relationships between men and women are wonderful, but they don't just occur in the boundaries of a marriage. (So there.)

So personally, I think the legislators should just pass things along themselves and make the law say that any two consentual, able-minded adults can enter into a legally binding union "till death do us part". But I am also accustomed to not seeing what I want come to fruition, so I would almost be okay putting it up to a vote. But I also have trust issues, and control issues, and I just want everyone who wants to join the insane club of "marrieds" to get the official okay.

Because really, if the inclusion of gay and lesbian couples are to be the true downfall of marriage, then I think we need to revisit just how messed up a good number of the marriages around us really are. I don't think any of those problems were caused by a gay or lesbian couple asking to join the fray. Maybe the promiscuous neighbor, but not the quiet gay man or lesbian woman down the street.

Or if the inclusion of another group will be marriage's downfall, then it shouldn't be upheld anyway, since it isn't strong enough to include everyone.

I say, join the club if you want. Go ahead. So many that I thought shouldn't did anyway, and so many that I think should have turned it down. Commit and stick with your partner forever, and you will uphold the intention of what marriage is really about. And have a wonderfully happy life along with the rest of us!

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