Monday, June 13, 2005

Mawwiage is What Bwings us Togever Today

     I was pleased and a little surprised by the responses to the previous post. I'm excited to get a few people out of the shadows (Rusty, Amber, and Alisa - welcome!) and intrigued by the complete differences of opinion on the subject of marriage. I'd still like to hear from other people, especially more of the wedded ones. It would be fascinating to hear from Sylvana to contrast it to Sideshow Bob's comment. We had a couple of cheaters. SSB came dangerously close to veering off topic and Canis Lupus was totally off topic (but welcome back from Japan anyhow, CL, I'm looking forward to reading your blog again)
     It's usually pretty interesting to see who's getting married to whom. Rob & Amber, Paris & Paris, Tom & Katie?? Even among my friends it's interesting to see who ends up together. It's almost never a surprise in that arena. No Brittney and Kevin stories. But in retrospect, who ever thought certain people would be good at marriage? Not that there's any guarantee. I have to admit that at at least one wedding my wife and I went to, we were betting on how long it would last. We feel bad, and I'm not telling whose it was, but the reality is that not every marriage will last. My sister's sister-in-law met her husband (if you're reading - welcome back from your honeymoon!) on E-Harmony.com. I find that site fascinating. Apparently it completely rejects like 20% of its applicants. Some people I talk to find this unfathomable. What right do they have? But E-Harmony is in the business of making marriages, not finding dates. And I think the sad Truth is that there is no good match for a good number of people out there. You can say, "there's someone for everyone," but what kind of marriage would two selfish, immature, pleasure-seeking people have? C'mon - they wouldn't last 3 weeks! I know people who should never get married. As much as I like them as people and friends, I couldn't wish that kind of life on a spouse.
     But I don't know if I expected to read about the indentured prostitution or the female submission. I think it's sad that people might do things they don't want to do to get what they want. I mean, I've certainly mowed the lawn or unclogged the toilet when I didn't want to, but I would have had to do those things regardless. I feel like there's nothing I gave up to be married. I do think it's funny that in the "traditional" marriages, both the men and the women feel like they're the ones in charge. In reality, they probably compromise and sacrifice as much as anyone, except that in the posturing they're doing, they probably withhold some of the openness they could otherwise have. I think to Fiddler on the roof, where Tevye's pounding his chest and bragging about his role as the Papa, while his wife is inside, quietly fierce, also pretending to be in charge as the Mama. Meanwhile, they reveal that after 25 years they did not even know if the other loved them.
     I never commented on my own post - I wanted to do it today. (Sorry if it gives me a bigger forum, but I have my own blog, so tough titties) What is my definition of marriage? I agree with Mainline Mom in one sense, that marriage is truly a union of two people into one. My wife and I are so co-dependent that we can't stand to be apart for even a few hours. When we went on our cruise a few weeks ago, we both still had the feeling that it still wasn't enough "together time". I digress. Marriage is liberating in a way, even as it's constricting. We never wonder who's going to pick up the check, never question each other's motives, never play the "game". Still, I miss the "game" sometimes, but one thing I've enjoyed about marriage is that there are no doubts.
     When we got married, it didn't seem real. People would ask us if we felt different. And the answer was, of course, no. Nothing had changed from one day to the next, except on the previous day we were still planning the stupid thing and on the day after we had a huge charge on the credit card. But we wouldn't have been happy not married, because the marriage provided a sense of security and a sense of family. Marriage is a partnership, but it's not 50-50. It's 100-100. It's two people completely devoting their lives to each other to the extent that nothing else is important at all. I agree with Alisa there, although maybe with a different connotation: marriage is a state where all is done for the good of the community and not the individual. But I love my new "community". It's nice not having to worry about using my wife's dental insurance or her using my medical insurance. It's nice that we have one bank account. Nice that my wife can make travel arrangements and that I have the authority to modify them if she's busy, or if she just doesn't want to deal with it at the moment.
     I really wanted people to examine what marriage meant to them. We've had such a weird national dialogue about gay marriage and traditional marriage and the ruination of families, that I figured maybe I didn't know what people thought marriage was in the first place. I was right. Maybe marriage is like a snowflake - no two are alike. Still, with all the differences, I hope it bolsters tolerance of marriages that are different from their own. From the (very) few responses, Mike's in the minority. But then, so am I. So is Sideshow Bob. So is Amber. I think we should be glad that I can't dictate to anyone else what marriage is or should be. I think we're all glad that Rusty can't dictate to anyone else what marriage is. :) Just something to think about.

8 comments:

Mainline Mom said...

Good post. My mom met her new husband (after my dad died) on E-harmony.com and I guess he's perfect for her. I'm not nuts about the guy but I guess she is so that's what matters. I figured no man would be able to put up with her nuttiness, but I figured wrong.

Mike and I actually met through an internet chat site too, even though we were both Chemical Engineering students at Penn State so we had alot in common. But at a school that large with Mike a year ahead, we might have never met. Just goes to show ya.

sideshow bob said...

I like to toe the line!

Alisa said...

I love the reference in your subject line to Princess Bride (Mawwwwage).

I have friends who swear by Match.com. I tried it once and ended up on a date with some Gothic guy and another date with some drunken guy who hasn't realized he is no longer in a college fraternity. Very nice fellows, rest assured, just not my type.

Marriage is really what the two parties that enter it, make it.

Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

"Say Man and Wife. MAN and WIFE!!!"
"Mawn an wiff."

Great movie. Marriage is another thing altogether.

Familiarity breeds contempt. The trick is to not let that happen. Oh, and kids really cut into the relationship, although by the time you figure that out sometimes it's too late.

Amber said...

No one should presume to dictate what marriage is, or what it should be, or what it means... to attempt to do so is just ludicrous. Whenever I see people making broad, sweeping statements about marriage (or many other things, for that matter), the one thing that is obvious is that they are projecting their own feelings on the matter. People who talk about "marriage is this" or "marriage is that" need to remember that they are talking about their own marriage - no one else's. Or, if they are not married, they are talking about their perception of marriage - whatever that may be, and for whatever reason.

When I was married, I got in a bit of a tiff with some members of the Women's Studies Student Group (of which I was also a member); some of the more "radical" (or whatever) ones saw me as the enemy. All because I was married! Like you can't be a feminist and be married. I tried to show them how they were being just as bigoted and unfair as the people we rail against for oppressing women and attempting to force them into traditional, stereotypical gender roles. Getting married did not equal me being a submissive wife. Anyone who would subscribe to such a simplistic notion needs to take some time to re-examine their own beliefs.

Sylvana said...

So, Scott, was my response to the whole mawwiage qweschun what you expected?

I don't think that everyone needs to see marriage the way that I do. It works for me and SSB. That's the point, though. Marriage means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, because people are different and have different needs.

When people start demanding cookie-cutter solutions, a lot of the population loses out. That's also one of my major issues with public school. That, and that it is just a robot workforce factory.

ORF said...

Scott, I'm trying to catch up but doing so quite unsuccessfully. I'm not sure I'll make it through the whole month, but I just wanted to comment on this particular post for a couple reasons:
1) YOU'RE CODEPENDENCY WITH YOUR WIFE IS AWESOME AND ADORABLE!
2) I think you did a very nice job of saying every marriage is different.

Scott said...

Sylvana, sorry for posting 2 months late, but thank you for calling me out on it. I didn't expect anything in particular. I enjoyed reading your account, and it was interesting that even though both you and SSB agree that your relationship is special an unique, he defined "marriage" as your relationship, while you defined "marriage" as a legal contract.
I don't agree with everything you said about marriage, certainly, but I think I made my views clear as well. And I was very pleased to see how many different things came to peoples' minds when I said the word, "marriage".