A wise man once said to me, “Marriage is what you make of it. Maybe you’re in love, maybe you’re just undergoing a business transaction. You and I could get married for health and tax benefits. Simple as that.”
No, this wasn’t Mr. Wise Man’s way of proposing to me. He’s a gay man. In fact, Mr. Wise Man wasn’t even aware of the light he’d just shone in my eyes. (Evident from how he easily returned to his salmon platter.) I blinked. And then returned to my own Greek salad to mull it over.
The idea and purpose of marriages has changed drastically over the last 60 years. Just ask my 85 year old grandmother who (after I turned 21) wondered if every guy I dated would turn out to be my husband. After seven years of perking her ears like a happy puppy only to be told there were no marriage treats in my shopping bag, she finally let up. I hate to let her down but I just don’t feel the pressure. I don’t have the need to settle down for a life long commitment simply because so many around me seem to be. Which lead me to my next question: Why did they chose to get married?
I’ve heard several answers over the years. They were not all rosy and cushy as one might hope.
“Because we’ve been together for ten years and…it’s just time.”
“Because they give me what I need.”
“Because I want to plan the rest of my life with someone.”
With each of these I scrunched my nose like I’d just smelled something terrible. These answers were so…functional. Like a simple means to an end. The irony? The more answers I heard that left a bad taste in my mouth, the more I began to realize what it would take for me to ever consider marriage: the complete opposite.
IF I ever get married it will be because I want to share something with this person that I don’t plan to share with anyone else for the rest of my life. I want to know, without a doubt, that I could never love anyone the way I love them. I want to be sure that they can have my back as well as I can have theirs (emotionally, financially, etc.) I want to know that if I ever decide to have kids, they are capable of helping to raise the children every step of the way. And most of all I want to know that I WANT it, more than I’ve ever wanted anything.
But hey…that’s just my opinion. I leave you with a clip from the movie “Shall We Dance” where Susan Sarandon explains why she thinks people get married (thanks for this Sandra!)