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The Relationship Corner

Unholy Matrimony: True's Views on Marriage


Since I can remember, marriage was always talked about in my life. I was young, being told that the end all, be all was to get married and enjoy life with your wife and kids. That was embedded in a young True's brain by family, various adults, movies, television, everywhere you turned. The purpose of dating has an end goal: marriage. You meet someone, like them, date them, all with the grand goal of someday walking down the aisle with families and friends in tow at an overpriced ceremony designed to be a memory for you and your bride to look back on. Photos, gifts, the vows, the rings, the kiss, the pageantry of it all has always seemed ridiculous to me. Now, for those who are reading this, my interpretation of marriage might be skewed: I was in a relationship for nearly 8 years, engaged at one point, to the woman who is now affectionately (or un-affectionately) known as the mother of my beautiful daughter.

I essentially always thought the concept of marriage was solid, but the execution and expectations that come with it are a bit much. I once spoke to and semi-dated a woman who had a very interesting view on marriage, and she explained it as such: marriage is about commitment, equality, sharing, love, partnership, and being with your soulmate. I listened intently to her words, thought, then asked her, "couldn't you have all that without actually being married? Who said that marriage was something that was necessary"? Her response revolved around her upbringing and what her parents instilled in her mind during their decades of marriage. I respected her stance. However, I took a moment to truly look at everything and began to wonder if marriage was as important as we've been led to believe.

Marriage, at its core, is merely a legal contract that joins together assets, debts, and other various possessions that one can have. Marriage doesn't necessarily enhance the true connection of the two lovers, it is just the validation that in your mind, at that moment, you found someone you think you want to spend the rest of your life with. And that's beautiful, to be honest. It truly is. Knowing that you've found someone that you think you wanna be with forever says a lot about how deeply in love you are. Would I want to be married? Would I consider it? Pay for an extravagant wedding to see my woman happy and celebrate our love? Perhaps. I'd have to examine a few things for myself.

My Past Relationships
I've had two real relationships. One was a long term puppy love in high school that carried on for 2 years nearly, and the other was with the mother of my child for nearly 8 years. I'd almost be considered a 'relationship guy' in that regard, and that's slightly accurate. I was, as I mentioned earlier, engaged to the mother of my child once. I really didn't want to get married but I went along with it, thinking that this was the next logical step in dating. Granted, I felt like I'd be with her forever, so I didn't see a rush on marriage. What are we rushing for? We have our whole lives ahead of us, we love each other, and there's nothing that an expensive ceremony and a ring can do to upgrade or improve our love.

My ex was very adamant about the fact that she wanted to get married, and as a lesson learned, we had a huge fight/argument when she brought it up near the end of our relationship. I realize that I reacted a bit hesitant to marriage talk, which given the fact that we had a child together by this point, probably seemed very strange to her, but its just that I never saw marriage as my sole end goal once I got to be an adult. Maybe I'll get married, maybe I won't. My emotions towards my ex were always "I love this woman more than anything in the world and if I was to go along with this marriage, she's the only one I could ever see myself doing that with." Funny how things change, isn't it? Which brings me to another point.

Divorce 
The divorce rate in America is ridiculously high. I am not necessarily in fear of a high divorce rate, it just bothers me a bit. Is that vow of marriage not sacred anymore? For better, for worse? Until death do us part? I always believe that people are quick to rush into love situations and go off impulse from there. Now, that isn't relevant for every situation, but in the majority of these situations? Divorces come from bad decisions. The quick ones, at least.

Sometimes, you end up with someone for 20 plus years, only to end up divorcing and throwing away two decades of love. There are many variables which can cause a divorce, many of which can be seen as valid, however, I've personally seen too many situations where the people either rushed into it or ended up marrying out of convenience and familiarity instead of pure love. The process that is divorce almost makes me not want to get married. While the vows tell you til death do us part, divorce is always an easy out in times of unhappiness. If you weren't married and you were unhappy and wanted to leave, you could just go. Take what's yours and go. But with marriage? In some states, you have to be apart for a year in order to file, which is a crazy concept. If you wanted to get married, you go to apply for your license, set up your ceremony and boom. Married and together in no time virtually. To divorce? Long drawn out process. The fact is, in life and in love, things change. If things change and we want to part ways, us not being married makes that process just a bit easier.

Changes 
What changes when you get married? Legal status? How you file your taxes? The woman's last name? These are all formalities. All things that are bound by contract when you sign papers. That's really the biggest change.The expectation is that in marriage, your love somehow increases or that you're held to a higher standard than you were previously. Why? Because of paperwork? What changes when you sign the paperwork? What changes when you buy a ring? Through all types of media, the commercialization of marriage and weddings have put a damper on the true essence of marriage. Which leads to my final point.

Conclusion
Marriage is commercialized and almost a gimmick these days. Celebrities use marriages for image at times. Some people (read: immigrants) use marriage to obtain green cards. Some people use marriage to get rich quick in divorce (i,e, the "she took half of everything, EVERYTHING!" scenarios we see). Look no further than how weddings are approached, and the aftermath is treated normally. The wedding, which is usually costly, is seen as the bride's day generally. Why is that? Especially since in a relationship, it should be about both people.

However, there has been the fantasy that's been sold for centuries of a princess walking down the aisle to marry her prince and find that validation that this man loves her. Some women don't even feel like the relationship truly matters until there's a ring on her finger and there's intent to marry. Some men look at women and have an inflated list of what they consider "wife qualities", which can be a tad unrealistic at times. As humans, we are all imperfect. Love itself is imperfect. Do I believe in marriage? Yes, I do. Would I get married? Someday, maybe. Is it my goal? No. I am fine with loving a woman for the rest of my life and being her partner forever without a court officially saying that or a ceremony to validate our love. Will she be fine with that? Likely not.

We've been taught by tradition to believe that the sole purpose of dating is essentially to find someone to settle down and marry. Sharing a last name, debts, assets, benefits, etc... Marriage is an agreement. A contract. A business decision, if you will. It will not enhance the love, it will not make your relationship go from being good to some magical form of love. Marriage doesn't do that. We do that. Our emotions, our feelings, our connection, our feeling that there's no other place in the world that you'd rather be than with the one you love. All of that should be in place, with or without a legally binding contract. You could very well meet me at the alter in your white dress, only to meet me in court to take half of what I have (it ain't much now, but shit, one day..) a year or two later.

Love is about trial and error of course, and while this article may have seemed to down marriage, if it's something you want, then by all means, do it. If it fails, lesson learned. If it succeeds, I wish you an everlasting love (I hear Chaka singing in my head). I just personally don't know if I'll ever go for it. That mindset may prove to be detrimental to my dating life when I actually find a woman I love again, and honestly, it could change. I might meet that one woman and actually want to solidify our love with marriage. Who knows? Life is unpredictable and so is love. Thus, my point: marriage, while a beautiful thing and illustrious union, shouldn't be held to the utmost standard in love and relationships. It shouldn't be the necessary end goal. If you never end up married, but you've loved and been in a rewarding long term relationship that taught you lessons, consider yourself lucky. Some people end up married and unhappy, without learning anything, and repeat the same cycle over and over. The choice is yours. What the end goal should be? Happiness. Regardless of what that entails, happiness. Find your happiness.

Peace and Blessings,
True

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