On Marriage

Not having ever been married and not having been in a relationship that was serious enough to talk about marriage in a number of years, the topic just doesn't come up on this blog -- but it came up on my twitter timeline recently.

I know a lot of people who don't want to get married. I also know several people who are downright scared of marriage and I know a handful who are petrified of marriage but pretend it has something to do with some larger philosophical issue about life.

The debate on gay marriage has really given a lot of commitment phobes a valid and seemingly righteous excuse. Never in my life have I heard so many people bullshit their reasons for not wanting to get married. There are some folks out there who really do identify, in some way, with the plight of the LGBT community and to show their solidarity refuse to get married. I applaud those folks, but most people saying they won't get married until gay people can get married are straight up bullshitting. They just don't want to get married.

As I said on Twitter, I believe we've created a culture that does not support people who are just genuinely disinterested in marriage. "I just don't want to get married" does not work in this society. People look at you like you just grew a green mole with hair on your forehead and wait, oftentimes not so patiently, to explain.

Many of my friends from undergrad would agree with this: if you, as a black student, are walking around campus with several of your fellow black students and a non-black student, especially white, speaks to you, there will be silence until you explain where you know them from.

Now there's no handbook on how to be a black student at my alma mater, but that was one part of the culture we all picked up on quickly. There was no shade, no issue, you just knew you needed to let everyone know that Tommy is in your group for your English class and conversation would resume. No muss, no fuss. We just accepted that.

In a similar fashion, we've accepted that if you don't want to get married, you had better have a damn good reason. Something, anything, other than "I just don't want to." So much so that it's folks out here who think touting the 50% divorce rate is really a good reason for not getting married. This is probably the one that irks me the most. You have just as good of a chance of staying together as not staying together. You have just as much reason to do one as the other. Let's not get ridiculous.

We've confused not wanting to get married for not wanting companionship. And let's face it, people who don't want companionship are just odd. We have personality disorders for them. Another is people take this stuff personally. You're going along with someone and you think marriage is on the horizon only to have them tell you that's not what they want. First thought? Something is wrong with me. So we press them for a reason and eventually they tell us this sob story about their uncle's best friend's cousin's son who went through this horrid divorce and they just don't want that. When really, they just don't want to be married, period but they know that reasoning won't get them anywhere.

Unfortunately on top of not supporting people's right to just not want to be married, we also make people think they should get to have their cake and eat it too. So homegirl knows marriage ain't in the cards, but she will play whatever game she has to to keep homeboy around. Even get engaged but always have a reason not to set a date. Or homeboy will promise that marriage is coming, as soon as he gets his finances right and can afford a ring. Because they want the companionship sans the long term (and very legal) commitment.

I'm respectful of people who just don't want marriage. What I struggle with, however, is respecting bullshit. If you just don't want to get married, you just don't. People who make you explain it past that need to move out of your way and let you find someone who will accept you just that way. And on the flip side, folks who are ready to get married today should be free to find someone else who feels that way. Holding on to someone who wants that level and type of commitment because you're comfortable and unwilling to step into the unknown is selfish as sh*t and I can't respect that either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally somebody that understands my plight. I've never been an "I want to get married" person. People get pissed when I say if it happens okay, if it doesn't okay. But that doesn't mean I wanna live alone.

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