Marriage IS a dumb thing to do.
People misunderstand marriage. I hear many people dismiss marriage, with an eye-roll and an under-the-breath, “Bullshit.” But it is these people who misunderstand marriage for what it now has come to misrepresent.
I understand that many people have seen or experienced bad marriages, whether directly or indirectly. And those marriages certainly were not what they were first seeming to be. I get it. You don’t want to marry again, or marry at all, because the experience you know was awful. I do not blame you.
But this is for the people who think marriage, as a contract, will keep two people together, forever. Too much emphasis is put on that co-signed paper. A piece of paper will never keep two people fully committed, filled with passion for each other, craving to know every intimate detail about the other person. The real promise of marriage is the promise of a lifetime, and not a lifetime as one person being ball and chain bound by this paper. The promise of a lifetime to stay committed, when you certainly can leave, and to continue to love, respect, and value the other person in your relationship.
Prenuptial agreements are more pieces of paper to ensure, I would even go so far to say threaten, that a heavy price is to be paid if the marriage contract is breached. Papers will never keep two people fully committed. They will never keep a spouse from cheating, acting cold, being abusive. A marriage cannot be controlled by a pre-set punishment. Love is not pure when it is conditional. Promises are easily broken when held to a list of if-then conditions.
Marriage is nothing but a symbolic title. It is a symbolic agreement. Not SO very long ago, marriage meant a woman was now the property of the man. It truly was a contract, assigning one person as the property of another—but this is not what marriage is anymore.
No, marriage is an unspoken promise. Vows are spoken words, words that cannot succinctly summarize the real promise you make to someone else when you say want to marry them. A wedding is a tradition. A ceremony and a celebration for two people who marry. And they have become over-the-top celebrations of love. It seems more stock goes into the planning of a wedding, instead of the planning of how you will make your promise of love and commitment continue for the rest of your lives.
The point of marriage is missed by so many. Focused so much on weddings, flowers, cake flavors, bouquet florals, and setting up pre-nuptial agreements. Focusing on buying the right house in the right town. The type of couch and the size of the TV you’ll have. Thinking about baby names. Vacations. Completely focused on the material, physical things you can touch.
Marriage is about love and commitment. It is an unseen promise, and an unseen connection. You cannot touch this promise because the trick in marriage is—there is no unbroken promise guaranteed. You never know, really, if you or the other person will break this promise. And that is what marriage really is, it is believing in another person. It is believing in their love and commitment, while also continuing your love and commitment for them. And it is full-well knowing that you can trust them, that they can trust you, although at any moment either or both of you could fall. Staying with that person, sticking it through no matter what comes along, is what marriage truly is. “I will be here with you, you will be here with me and I will stay here, and I believe you will too.” And this place, the “here” is another intangible. It isn’t a house. It’s “in love.”
A ring is a symbol too. Too much stock goes into the size of a diamond. The diamond setting. The clarity of the diamond. A ring is still a ring. A circle, that is unbroken. A circle is the symbol of a promise. Too many people are concerned with what is on the ring, what it is made of, how it is presented to them in an over-the-top proposal. Any way that circle is decorated, it is the same thing. It doesn’t make the actual promise any less unbreakable. It is a worn reminder, a symbol that you are in an unbroken promise with someone else.
Marriage is totally a dumb thing to do. When a marriage comes down to a contract on a paper, that will end up costing you insane of amounts of money from throwing an expensive wedding to finding yourself in an expensive divorce, it is totally dumb. It puts people through stress and pain. And puts them in a place where—who can blame them—marriage is something to hate. And it is certainly something to hate when you enter into it with the complete intention of commitment and a promise to stay with that person through everything—and then they break their promise to you.
No one has to get married to stay in love, faithful, and committed to another person. If you were married, you never have to get married again to still give and find what you thought you were getting. Marriage is a term, a title. It shouldn’t mean, we have a paper signed and a pre-nuptial agreement, so this will be a success. If you think that that is what marriage is all about, don’t get married.
Love is a crazy blind leap. A chance that will leave you either suspended mid-air in ecstasy or plummeting five-hundred stories to crash on some dirty, littered patch of concrete. You have to try. And you have to hope the other person has the same capacity for trying and patience and love as you do. Marriage is the promise that you will constantly try.