First Comes Love, Then Comes…

Marriage?

At least, that’s the correct order of things that we’ve been taught. Date, live together, get married, have children and live happily ever after. But is this the right order of things, and if so, right for whom?

Marriage is something that I know I want eventually. I know this so much that I usually bring it up in the beginning of the dating process, to see if my potential boyfriend has the same vision of “commitment”. The funny thing is, I have no idea where this sense of “knowing” came from. Was I born knowing that marriage was part of the natural order of things? Or have I been socialized and taught that, along the way of growing up? I’m trying to understand where this root comes from, and if my ideas of “knowing” I want to get married is one that is of my own, or from society and my cultural upbringing.

I don’t have the answers to all these questions, and this article is really about exploring the reasons why we (well at least, a large majority of females) are so adamant that marriage is necessary, and in some cases, even mandatory. While I understand that a legal contract doesn’t necessarily make a relationship or bond suddenly more committed, I do believe that a healthy couple making such vows to each other can take the relationship to the next level of commitment. I’m aware that divorce rates are higher than ever, but I’m optimistic that statistics doesn’t inevitably equate to the reality you choose to create.

So what are my reasons for wanting to get married? I am one who takes labels and words seriously. Words like “boyfriend” or “I love you” are ones I do not throw around lightly. To me, they are sacred words that come with commitment and promise. And, that same thinking would apply when my partner changes from “boyfriend” to “husband”. To me, when you make those vows of commitment, you are making a promise to both yourself and your partner, that you are committed to making the relationship work. Even through the many bumps and times you feel like giving up, you will try your absolute hardest to work it out. Of course, you can have every intention of this in the beginning, and then the really hard times come, and don’t seem to pass. This happens too. But that doesn’t mean that marriage is doomed or hopeless.

There is the argument that when you live with each other, own property together and your lives are completely intertwined, being common-law is legally the same as getting married. So what’s the point? Why does a piece of paper hold so much meaning?

But doesn’t everything in this world have meaning due to what meaning we create and apply to it?  Sure, you can fall in to that same level of commitment by being common law, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the people who choose that route. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me, or the socialized North American girl, that still believes that there is something incredibly special and bonding for two people to make a celebration where you declare your commitment to each other. This “declaration” doesn’t have to follow the traditional ritual. You can create a marriage in the way that suits you whether that be in private or with an abundance of friends, with God as your witness or your best friend.

While I think that marriage is a non-negotiable for me, I have to say, that when it comes down to it, I actually don’t know. If the man I’m in love with tells me that he is forever committed to me but doesn’t believe in getting married, would I leave? Or after a period of time, would I give an ultimatum? I really don’t know. But as I keep exploring, and growing, I hope to have a clearer understanding. Maybe things will just flow in the organic way things are to unfold, and all these hypothetical questions about marriage and next steps are pointless, I guess time will tell.

2 Comments

  • Reply October 18, 2010

    Tomas Beran

    Dear Amy,

    I read with interest your mussings on the value of marriage. It was a very welcome break in my own reflection especially because my relationship with my wife is going through a very tough period.

    So, I’ve noticed that in your writing you concentrate on the special man in your life and on yourself, perhaps the house and children in the future. But, what I miss in your writting is what to me seems the essential meaning of marriage, which is the joing of not only two people but of two faimilies. These families should be there to make your relationship stronger than the two of you alone can be.

    I really enjoy your writting and wish you all the best in life as in your work.

    Best Regards,

    Tomas.

  • Reply November 24, 2013

    Sieser

    Maybe marriage is a declaration of your love not just to each other, but also to the world. A declaration to everyone in your lives that two of you are so confident in your love, that you are making it official. Or perhaps it what my slightly feminist-unwed-pragmatic mother says: “There are some things in life that you should celebrate.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: