Love, Marriage, and the new millenium:

Total posts: [25]
1 BlueNinja021st Dec 2011 01:21:15 PM from Lost in a desert oasis , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Chronically Sleep Deprived
I saw two interesting editorials earlier, so as usual I'll start by quoting the bits I like the most.

First, an editorial about the positives of marriage from a married mom.
My daughter Liliana, who was 8 when we were playing the board game, tossed off this remark as she stuck the tiny blue husband pin into her car: "When I grow up, I don't think I'll get married. I think I'll just get some sperm."

How we reap what we sow! Liliana was old enough to know the story of her own origins, and it goes like this: When I turned 39, still single, I resolved to become a mother on my own and bought eight vials of donor sperm. But then I met her father, Sprax, and he agreed to help me have a baby the old-fashioned way. We went through many ups and downs, even splitting up for a couple of years, but finally realized that we loved each other, got back together and went on to have her baby brother. When Liliana was almost 4, we got married.

So there I was — the former single mother by choice, the typical Massachusetts type who deeply believes that there are a hundred great ways to make a family and that life can also be wonderful without one — and I found myself responding to my daughter: "That would be fine if you just get some sperm, sweetheart, but you know, being married is actually really nice, too."

What happened to me? What happened to the independent woman who, by the time she married for the first time at age 44, felt no particular need for a piece of paper from City Hall?

It is this. Day in and out, through lunch-packing and play date-making and bath-running, I am struck by a surprising truth: Though the raising of our children constitutes the central activity of our family, it is the love between Sprax and me that constitutes its ineffable core.

That sounds like a traditional religious point of view, but we are not religious. I've come to this understanding simply as an observer of my own heart and the family dance. It is, apparently, just an emotional fact of life — at least, of our life.


Usually you hear people talk about commitment, but I can't imagine any greater commitment than sharing children who are still going to need raising for quite a few years.

No, what marriage means to me is acceptance, an "absolute yes" that makes it bearable to be seen at your worst — exhausted or flu-ridden or carried away by an ugly bout of selfishness. That "yes" launches the creation of an entity, a union, that exists apart from the daily ebb and flow of difficulties and joys. It is nothing but an abstraction, but, to my amazement, it is the most beautiful thing in our lives.

Second, an editorial from a well-known gay writer about the pressures of marriage and a bit of evangelical-bashing.
Til death do us part.

On my wedding day, I will not be saying that sentence.

Not that I'm not in it to win it — I am — only that if two people are told they can never leave, how do they know the other really wants to stay? Marriage is hard enough without the specter of death being the only way out hanging over our heads.

To me, it's just another fire and brimstone tactic absentmindedly handed down from generation to generation just to get people to stay in line.


But it's a lot harder than that and sometimes things don't work out. Recognizing that doesn't threaten the relationship, it just means you're paying attention. And in a country with a healthy divorce rate and prenuptial agreements — which are essentially Plan Bs before the ink on Plan A is even dry — I think it's safe to assume there are a lot of examples of things not working out to pay attention to.


A recent Pew study found that the number of Americans 18 and older who are married dropped from 72% in 1960 to 57% in 2000 to 51% today.

Combine that with the declining divorce rate, people getting married later in life and with seven in 10 millennials saying it's OK to have premarital sex (according to Public Religion Research Institute), and what you have is a generation that is totally over having their sex lives managed by people they're not having sex with.


At some point, church leaders are going to have to figure out how to minister to a congregation that is not waiting to have sex and not afraid to say it. Not ashamed to say it. That's going to be hard to do but necessary if it wants to stay relevant.

It's not as if people are falling in love less, not if the 13% jump in one year in the number of unmarried couples living together is any indication.

When people exchange "til death do us part" with "you wanna move in?", it may feel less pious, less certain and less concrete, but it's ultimately more tangible because it is based in the here and now, not in a future which may or may not arrive.

No one, with maybe the exception of Kim Kardashian, enters a marriage with the intent of getting a divorce. But there are now people entering relationships with no intentions of getting married and their relationship is not less valid, their love is not less real, their future is not less certain.

So, I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on regular marriage.* Personally I've seen plenty of examples both good and bad around me. My parents got divorced when I was in junior high (and I'm amazed they lasted that long), though neither of them has had a significant relationship since them. My wife's parents are still married after 35+ years. My grandparents are in their 80's and still married. One of my wife's frandmothers is moving in with a guy around her age, and I have no idea if they're planning to marry or not. My brother-in-law has gone through two horrible marriages and divorces, and I have significant doubts my brother will ever get married. My older sister has been married close to two decades now.

The common thread that I've noticed in all the still-married ones is that we all put time and effort into good communication, and have time together and time apart* .
TBH, his ego doesn't need more stroking. Nor does any other part of him. - M84
2 BlixtySlycat21st Dec 2011 01:30:31 PM from Driving the Rad Hazard
|like a boss|
I'll be honest in saying I don't really get marriage. Aside from legal benefits, I cannot see what is preferable to being "married" as opposed to just being "a couple".

Not that I find anything wrong with it, my grandparents were married for almost sixty years, and I have an elderly aunt who married her husband when she was 17.

edited 21st Dec '11 1:31:38 PM by BlixtySlycat

go ahead and do every stupid thing you can imagine
3 USAF71321st Dec 2011 01:34:59 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
My parents' marriage isn't so good. I don't think it'll last once I'm out of the house.

I personally think, at this point, that Savage actually had the right idea: "marriage" should be dropped entirely as the term, and if churches and religious institutions want to use that, they can. Instead, the state should just attach all the benefits and such to secular civil unions, and anybody who wants one can get one.

Otherwise, I'm not sure that I have an opinion on it. I wouldn't be opposed to getting married—not even if it required doing it in a church—but it's not some big goal for me.
I am now known as Flyboy.
4 lordGacek21st Dec 2011 01:54:14 PM from Kansas of Europe
@USAF: I was having a similar idea, with a twist perhaps. *

Thinking in categories of Nation and State, * one might see a civil marriage as a state's incentive for citizens to provide the generational continuity. If we resign from this view, then the institution of civil marriage lacks much or all of its reason to exist.

So if this much is granted, I'd prefer it easier to get the benefits of marriage, like visits at hospital or priority of inheritance, in general. If it necessitates setting up some kind of civil union, I'm going to be fine with that, but I'd broaden the definition somewhat, so nobody'd mistake it for a marriage. You know, two people in love being just as fine as, say, siblings living together, or similar. Perhaps it would require some protection against abuse.

So, if you feel like marrying, then you can go to your local holy person. * I don't know how big a problem would it pose for non-religious, but I guess their needs can be just as well served by an NGO or another.

So, feel free to poke holes in the idea, if you feel like that.
"Atheism is the religion whose followers are easiest to troll"
My parents didn't marry each other out of love, despite loving each other. Strange to say, but it worked out really well, and they're still married to this day.

I think it's a shame that there's such a heavy connotation to marriage, since the happier couples out there just make what they will of it, and leave it at that.

Regardless, marriage is a commitment like any other, and it takes a lot of active work to see it through.
[up][up][up] I'm with you.

Also, only 7/10 are OK with premarital sex!? That's a crazy high number of people who aren't.

edited 21st Dec '11 3:52:39 PM by stripesthezebra

Drunkscriblerian and I have talked about marriage before, and it's something that we'd be okay with if it happens or if it doesn't.

We've also agreed that if we ever decide to get married, there will be a prenupital agreement.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
^ I'm in the same boat, so to speak. I'm not married, and while I'd like to, I've heard nothing but horror stories of divorce, and have seen them myself. I'd probably be the one to suggest a prenuptial agreement, but since they carry the connotation of a high possibility of divorce, most people get offended by the suggestion of it.

I don't know, but it feels like a bit of a shame that one of my own personal prerequisites of marrying a girl is that she has to be alright with the idea of a prenuptial agreement.
Oh My
I've only recently begun to get a personal drive for marriage. I personally am hideously picky and demand that it either be at Disneyland or the wat I go to. I shall accept nothing else. Nothing. The Disneyland thing is just "WHOO FAIRY TALE PRINCESS BULLSHIT :D" rush. The wat thing has a bigger meaning behind it. A strange, nebulous meaning of cultural things. I don't need to get married. I don't feel I do. My religion doesn't officially state a damn thing on it other than "Don't be a dick" which is its stance of everything.

I am beginning to feel that I may want to at some point in the future. Not because I have to or because I need to show the world that gay marriage is fine or whatever the fuck. Solely because I have some weird feeling of want.

That and Thai weddings are pretty.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
@Newfable: I wouldn't call that a shame. I kinda wish that more people were okay with prenups, honestly. It's like getting life insurance for your marriage.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
Thinking about marriage and all that, I was recently talking to a friend of mine that has been dating my roommate for quite a long time. They're both very happy, and both are nearing their graduation date where they'll go their separate ways for a few months. Naturally, during the interim, they'll plan to see each other more often and try to keep communication high. But when I asked her what her plans were for the future, for herself and the relationship she's in, she mentioned that she'd like to see herself engaged to my roommate. Jokingly, I mentioned that he may be a bit of an idiot and not know when to propose and such, mentioning jokingly that she may have to do it herself. She mentioned that she's not that kind of girl, and she'll wait if she has to, but not for long.

Just gets me thinking about proposals and such. I can understand why women want to be proposed to, but if they want to marry the man they're with, why don't they do it themselves, or drop the heaviest hints possible to let their man know that they want it and soon?

^ It's just a personal fear of mine that a good relationship on the verge of marriage would fall apart due to the suggestion of a prenuptial agreement solely because most people think that means, "We're not going to last long."

edited 21st Dec '11 4:26:27 PM by Newfable

Super Fighting Robot
I personally am not in a rush as to who proposes first, and don't consider there to be such a thing as "taking too long". Indeed, until recently, I'd never given half a damn about marriage to begin with and considered it superficial and nonsensical, but meeting a certain person, and a certain dream about her (where I was proposed to in dramatic and hammy fashion at a little coffee shop type place), has changed my perspective more than I anticipated.

Either way, I'm not in a rush, and it's too early to think of such things anyway. The idea of an "official" union is suddenly more appealing than before, but wanting to marry someone, to me, is not a feeling with an expiration date; it's merely an official expression that I want to be bound to a person for the rest of my life. The will, however, was already there.
Cynics are optimists that have become used to disappointment.
Oh My
Yeah we can wait. We need that dog and bed first.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
Super Fighting Robot
Fluffybottom and the giant comfortable bed that I'll be too embarrassed to tell you how much I paid for are essential.

And that water cooler.
Cynics are optimists that have become used to disappointment.
I am not adverse to marriage, in theory. Although if I was to marry, I'd place some very specific conditions.

However, I do not think that marriage is necessary for good life, and also think that no marriage is better than bad marriage. Of course, "bad" is pretty subjective in itself, but that is the point. To each their own.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
16 BlixtySlycat22nd Dec 2011 12:08:04 PM from Driving the Rad Hazard
|like a boss|
Daw'h, Aon and Weiss be actin' couply.

*ahem* ANYWAY

are there any places on Earth currently where there's no state-defined institution of marriage?
go ahead and do every stupid thing you can imagine
17 BlueNinja022nd Dec 2011 12:09:24 PM from Lost in a desert oasis , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Chronically Sleep Deprived
[up] Antarctica, maybe?
TBH, his ego doesn't need more stroking. Nor does any other part of him. - M84
18 ATC22nd Dec 2011 12:10:43 PM from The Library of Kiev
Was Aliroz the Confused
Well, there's Antartica.
If you want any of my avatars, just Pm me

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Read Elmer Kelton books
19 BlixtySlycat22nd Dec 2011 12:10:53 PM from Driving the Rad Hazard
|like a boss|
Okay, any countries with a functional government.
go ahead and do every stupid thing you can imagine
20 USAF71322nd Dec 2011 12:11:28 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
I am now known as Flyboy.
21 BlixtySlycat22nd Dec 2011 12:12:47 PM from Driving the Rad Hazard
|like a boss|
functional government

In any case I'm just going to guess the answer is no.

I suppose I should just Google it. Or something.
go ahead and do every stupid thing you can imagine
22 lordGacek22nd Dec 2011 12:14:18 PM from Kansas of Europe
The fun thing is, Somalia has a common law with which Sharia law struggles to compete. So it may be ('cause I'm no expert on it) that even Somalia has civil marriage. cool
"Atheism is the religion whose followers are easiest to troll"
Somalia does have a functioning government, its just the governments power only covers about half the capital city.

But no, every country has a definition of marriage.
Dutch Lesbian
24 TheGloomer23rd Dec 2011 04:19:42 PM from Northern Ireland
Inadequate law student
I used to have really childish, self-absorbed views about love, romance and marriage. As a matter of fact, they still float around these forums. Fortunately, I have recovered from this foolishness and my view of the matter is much healthier now.
@Gloomer: I think that everyone has childish views of love and marriage at some point in their life. Heck, I've dated guys older than me that still had them (granted, that's part of why I wound up dumping them).
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
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Total posts: 25