Opening A Can Of Worms

7.12.11



Cardi - Smart Set; Blouse - F21; Skirts - Jacob; Tights - Hue; Shoes - Town Shoes.
 A person recently tweeted *and I'm paraphrasing* "To those who think gay marriage ruins the institution of marriage, I have two words: Kim Kardashian."  That got me thinking, not about gay marriage - because I'm not going to touch that debate with a ten foot pole - but about marriage and what is meant when we, as a society, talk about protecting it.

Marriage throughout history was used as the official stamp on things: alliances, deals, contracts, peace agreements,etc. They were all sealed with a marriage between the two parties.  Even those not in the well-to-do ranks or aristocracy *this goes beyond Europe, and I use aristocracy to mean the upper castes of society* used marriage to seal deals - whether that was to secure two farms to each other, secure care for a daughter, or just to get rid of a mouth to feed. *'cause that's what an extra daughter was thought as being*  Our modern idea of marriage has been present throughout history as well - I think love has always been -  but it was either an accident, luxury, or done out of wedlock.  Poorer people often had what we consider 'marriage' but they had it outside wedlock and without the sanction of the church, or ruling authority, because it was common that people couldn't pay for a ceremony or pay taxes/fees to their lord to be allowed to marry. 

My question is this, what exactly are we talking about protecting?  The institution of marriage has not been sacred historically - it's been a rubber stamp, which we don't need anymore since we have lawyers and contracts and courts.  Our modern idea of marriage was considered a foolish notion, indulgence, or occurred without official sanction - people just lived together as man and wife.

So are we talking about protecting the 1950s idea of marriage?  The one where women had no real means, or power and stayed in abusive marriages because of lack of options, or had to marry because of the same? Is that what we're protecting? 

I know what marriage means to me.  I know how strongly I believe in it and how important I think it is.  But I also know that the institution of marriage is not a pure and innocent thing.  It has routinely been used without regard for the two individuals involved, so I'm not particularly adamant in protecting it either.  I've seen people enter into it casually and leave just as casually *Britney Spears 72 hours Vegas wedding, anyone?* and I've seen first hand people live together in love for decades without being 'married.'

If we're protecting the idea of what a love marriage means, well then I don't think we should worry because as I said, love marriages have always been around and have survived despite humanity's best efforts to use them as a tool.
So I repeat my question, what exactly are we talking about protecting?
And that's not rhetorical.  I want to know.   I don't mean to open up a controversial topic, I'm just inquisitive and curious, and I'd like to know what we're talking about.  I want to define exactly what is being debated.

p.s. sorry about the blurry pics.  Yesterday was crazy and I had five minutes to grab a record of what I wore.

Quote of Today:
"I could marry you!"

2 thoughts:

  1. This is an interesting question. I would argue that the reason there has been such a decline in long lasting marriages is that we emphasis love too much. Or at least the wrong idea of love. We tend to make love nothing more than a feeling (butterflies, sweaty palms, racing hearts, etc) and a feeling we can't control at that (we FALL in to love). Love is so much more than a feeling though, it's a choice. It's choice that if made requires sacrifice. When my husband I got married we did so because we believed in an idea bigger than ourselves - a commitment, a family. Believing in something bigger than ourselves means that at times we sacrifice our own comfort and put our feelings aside. My husband is an amazing man and most of the time he does send my heart racing but there have been times in our marriage when the "feelings" of love weren't as strong. It was that fact they we knew we had made a choice and a commitment that got us through. There are times when you have to choose to act in love even when you aren't feeling it - it's been my experience, however, that feelings stronger and sweeter than those you've ever imagined usually follow. When I think about protecting marriage I want to protect the idea that we as humans are capable of being selfless, that we are better in a family/group than as individuals, and that commitment and sacrifice are not bad but instead the path that leads to life's sweetest rewards.

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  2. Rachel, thank you so much for your thoughtful answer. I'm so glad that you've taken the time to write out your thoughts on this subject. I have to say that I agree with you in that sometimes the commitment is what takes you through rather than feelings of being in love. Thanks again for your contribution! Much appreciated.

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