Wednesday, October 18, 2006
A New Minority
THIS article in the New York Times reminded me that I have a complicated relationship with marriage.

Married couples, whose numbers have been declining for decades as a proportion of American households, have finally slipped into a minority

No, not my marriage. That's tooootally normal. More with the institution.

A product of divorce a couple failed relationships, I never really thought I would get married. Oh sure...I played the rhetorical game. I engaged in conversations that included phrases like "when I'm married" and "well, my husband..." But, really? I just never thought it possible. It would never be possible to find a person who would meet my requirements and could show me a picture of marriage that would be satisfactory. For me marriage meant replacing independence with dependency. It meant sacrificing exploration and adventure for nights at home. It meant being a "wife" and I wasn't so sure that was a good role to be in. I couldn't fathom a world in which a man embraced me and the partnership I would demand. Oh sure, it probably had something to do with past relationships going a little like this...

Me: Yeah, I think I would be okay never experiencing motherhood
Boy: You are a cruel, cruel person

Me: So...when I go away to school, do you think you'll come with me?
Boy: Move? But what about my career?

The negative thoughts permeated my attitudes toward the gay marriage debate. Why in the world would people be fighting for the right to join this oppressive institution?! Why in the world would they need marriage? Isn't a partnership enough?

But enter great guy who was all about signing up for a life with a nomadic, self absorbed, moody academic (Yeah....I don't get it either. I think it had something to do with the boots.) and my opinions began to change. Suddenly I couldn't wait to make a public commitment to this man. Couldn't wait to celebrate 50 years together. Couldn't wait to see the types of people we became together. Couldn't wait to have insurance (a lot less romantic, I know). And I knew that I was okay with him being my emergency contact. Knew that he was my "partner" and not my husband. Knew that he would support me no matter what. And most importantly, I knew that we were getting married young because we wanted to be young and married--not two brand new people.

Lucky for me, I occupy a pretty privileged status in society. I identify as a "heterosexual" female and I get to make this choice. But I do understand why some people choose not to. And I hope that the article proves there is reflection occuring before jumping into the institution of marriage.


Anonymous Nicole said...

Hmm... an interesting idea that marriage is, isnt it? Well, I must confess that I have been an anti-marriage person myself since the Great Divide of 04 (parents split). However, I know that if MIA ever popped the question, I'd fall on my knees and scream "yes, yes" - perhaps I'd do that often if I was with MIA. (sorry for the sexual reference on a strictly professional blog). Anyway, your comments hit at the crux of the issue: we have to do what is right for us - at the time. No "standards", no ideologies, no obligations are going to live our lives. We have to do that for ourselves.

Blogger Kourtney said...


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