I recently had the pleasure of reading this blog by Seth Adam Smith on how “Marriage isn’t for you.” The premise? That marriage is for the other person–for giving yourself to this other person, essentially.
It was wonderfully written, and accurate, although it had me thinking though about what marriage is for essentially, other than being an unselfish partner. It had me wondering how unselfish I am, and if after being married for 5 years, if I still have the rosy outlook on what being partners means.
Marriage is for society. When we marry, we reproduce and bring (hopefully) potential workers and moneymakers to the forefront. When we don’t marry, people seem to get pissed that we haven’t followed the rule book society has made for us. When we marry and don’t have kids, we’re seen as dysfunctional and selfish.
If we divorce, we’re seen with a myriad of viewpoints as well.
Marriage is for the other person–to give to that person, but I don’t think the intention is for you to submerge your identity with another…and in the process, lose yourself. I see a lot of women who do that, not as many men. They marry and become the “role” they signed on for. It’s actually refreshing when I meet couples who have managed to maintain their individual identities, yet seem happy together.
Seth’s blog was very refreshing and simple: love is for the other person, if you really love them. Yet, I couldn’t help but think to myself what a simple answer that is…after you’ve only been married a short-time. When I first got married, I thought the same thing.
You marry for love! You marry because you love the other person and want to make them happy!
But it seems all too idealistic to me now.
Is that really why we marry?
Because there are other things to consider into the equation. Like you marry to make a prosperous financial team. You marry to gather estate and time-shares. You marry so you don’t die alone. You marry to find someone to reproduce with so you can pass your genetics on.
And as I write this, I realize that I sound like a god-awful terrible person without a romantic bone in my body. Is this what time has done to me? Time and stress?
I don’t know.
Maybe we marry because it’s what we were told we were supposed to do.
Maybe we marry because biologically, we figure there is a better chance of passing on our lineage in a legally-binded contract, than on our own as singles.
Maybe we marry so someone can wipe our ass when we’re 80…and wipe the muck off our chins.
Married people also supposedly have sex more than singles. So maybe we marry to ensure that we get it on more.
For whatever reason we marry or don’t marry or don’t stay married, I wish it were an easier institution. I might just be immature to hope that romance and passion could still last after age 28, but that’s how I imagined love, in my idealistic way.
What does marriage mean to you?
In practical, and romantic terms?
What does not being married mean to you?
What constitutes a good marriage? How much should two people willingly compromise of themselves? Some say everything, some say nothing. I don’t think there’s a rulebook we should all follow, but I’m just wondering how others feel.
As far as selfishness is concerned, I don’t think I’m an unselfish partner. I think by nature, I can be a bit selfish. Yup, I said it. In certain ways, I can be selfish; in others, like affection and support, I am very unselfish and giving.
How unselfish are we supposed to be when we marry? Isn’t it a dance? At times, in order to see one person succeed, than we might have to pull back on our needs, and vice versa. I feel that during the “reproduction” time of marriage I have been very unselfish, and now that I have shut the door (not literally, just mentally) on reproducing anymore, that I should have time to revisit the person I left behind.
I just feel that being unselfish with your partner while a must, can also backfire. If you’re constantly giving and they other person isn’t or vice versa, don’t you eventually resent one another?
Don’t you end up feeling gypped?
Marriage should be for the other person, but it should also be for you. You as in, you being an active and committed partner who reassess what both you and the other needs in your marriage, as that could change from day-to-day.
Marriage is reciprocal. It isn’t just for the other person. It’s for everybody, or for no one at all.
In which case, that’s when it ends.