Marriage, that socially constructed trap of monogamy. A social, legal, ideological contract binding heterosexual couples everywhere to one another. Forever. Well, ideally. Right?
I’ve recently been confronted with the horrifying reality that people close and dear to me, and still in their20s, are venturing out and into that final frontier of commitment. Why, I ask? Why give up the freedoms associated with youth? Why rebel against the sexual freedom that our parents fought so bravely for? Why rebel against the narcissist excesses of the 80s, 90s and today that our generation has been so graciously gifted, and instead “settle down”? I just don’t understand.
Perhaps the feeling to get married while still in college stems from a sense of instability. We are all young, unsure of our future careers and financial situations. We are away from home, not complete independent adults, for the most part, and vulnerable. And sure this small college town of Bellingham breeds some sort of odd sentiment that persuades even the most level headed bachelor/bachelorette to buckle down and involve themselves with a significant other.
I know, involvement in serious monogamous relationships can be important. Such relationships create maturity, compassion, a sense of responsibility and self-importance. But marriage, this young, really? Why jump the gun and commit to a system that though coded with romantic ideals, is really just an ideological structure restricting the concept of what a healthy marriage is/should be? Why play into such a construct that denies basic human rights to same-sex couples, though most of Canada, South Africa, Spain and many other “westernized” countries, have abandoned the man-woman concept of marriage and allowed same-sex unions. And while much of the world still practices polygamy, how seriously should we take this constructed monogamous ideal?
Perhaps I’ve just grown embittered, as I’ve received news of numerous high school acquaintances’ recent weddings, or had to relentlessly listen and engage in my own brother’s wedding plans. Or listen to my good friends in Bellingham discuss their marriage prospects over pints of beer. But the main thing that gets me is just how young we are. I can’t help but view such premature marriages as a sort of crutch, a fall back plan to living life. A kind of self-sabotage. I know that perhaps maybe I’m a bitter commitment phobe. But honestly, wouldn’t marriage somewhat hold you back? Career pursuits and options become limited. All decisions and acts become motivated by that collective “we” pronoun, indicating the ultimate submission and loss of selfishly motivated acts. You now must think of the collective whole, the relationship, rather than the self.
Also, why the delusional emphasis on romance and passion? Shouldn’t marriage partners, or life partners, rather, from a practical standpoint, be grounded in overall compatibility, convenience and overall benefit? Haven’t we learned all too well that the forbidden idealized marriage all too often simply ends in divorce? And with divorce rates so high and the practice so commonplace now days, do we get married, but take the vows with a grain of salt? I simply do not know. All I can say is that I’m going to try to hold off on the marriage thing for a while at least. But don’t worry, I whole-heartedly endorse the concept of multiple-marriages via divorce—it’s just a more expensive route on that ultimate journey to self-gratification.