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Thoughtful marriage

Inevitably, when you write about marriage on a continuous basis, you are going to begin to solidify your matrimony worldview.  When I got married four years ago, I wasn’t completely sure why I was doing it.  I spent time before the wedding reading up on the history of the institution and how it has progressed into the modern era.  When Peter and I exchanged our vows,  I still wasn’t 100% sold on why this act of commitment we were publicly making was good for me as a woman and an individual.

I, like many of you, had the 50% divorce rate statistic rattling around in my head.  That dubious fact has become so ubiquitous in our culture that it’s hard to order a cheeseburger without it coming up.

“Cooked medium?  Great!  I’ll be right back with your drinks and half of all marriages end in divorce.”

And then there was the issue of governmental involvement in the bedroom.  Why do I need a piece of paper to tell me that I love Peter?  Why can’t we just live out our lives together, happily under the stars free from social pressure and legal diarrhea?

Here’s what I have come to realize.  I had no reason to be afraid of marriage.  My parents have built a life together that keeps them fulfilled and thrilled (gross.)  They raised three children within that union.  Our family unit is strong and we continue to grow (with the recent birth of my handsome nephew.)  Why avoid something that has brought joy to my life?  I understand that making my union legal does not make my love stronger, however it raises the stakes.  And like any drama worth it’s salt, the stakes need to be off the charts in order for the climax to really pay off.  Starting a family should be treated seriously.  If I screw up and marry haphazardly and feed my babies grain alcohol and garbage then we are all going to be at risk long term.  My drunk, dirty baby will grow into a drunk, dirty man who could end up doing some pretty nasty things over the course of his life.  The family starts with the partner we choose and the commitment we make.

Everyone should be able to get married.  Marriage is intended to service the community for the greater good.  Disempowering people from making strong, public commitments of love fractures the community.  Love is good, we should never forget that.  It’s a shame that politicians don’t agree.

But, if people don’t want to get married then they shouldn’t.  One size does not fit all.  I like being married.  But you may not.  That’s a-okay!

Here’s the deal.  It’s not 1350 or even 1950 anymore.  I’ve collected some serious rights as a woman over the years and I intend to use them.  Marriage of today is not the marriage of yesterday. Things really have changed.  While to some, marriage seems dated and useless, for me it is hopeful and real.  Commitment is real.  The consequences of breaking it are real.  It takes hard work to build and evolve a romantic relationship.  I don’t know if I will succeed in the long run, nobody does.  Listen, I don’t know what I’m going to wear at my sister-in-law’s wedding in two weeks,  how can I possibly know if my marriage is going to make it to the finish line?  That’s not the point.  At least not for me.  Marriage isn’t a reducible science.  It is an organic, free wheeling lifestyle I choose.

I wrote this blog today because sometimes I encounter the point of view that marriage is outmoded and cliched.  That people get married because they don’t know what else to do.  That they are afraid to live their lives outside the box.  You know what?  There is a great deal of truth to that position.  We all know someone who married for those reasons.  Sure, it’s going to happen.  I mean, come on!  Plenty of folks go to church on Easter and Christmas because they don’t know what else to do.  It’s habit.  Who cares?  If people make it work and are happy then so be it.   Bottom line:  take care of yourself and make sure you are doing what feels honest and truthful to you.  The best way to live life outside of the box is live happy and free.  Just remember, what seems like a prison sentence to some, is a precious gift to others.

-Cathleen Carr



4 Responsesto “Thoughtful marriage”

  1. Abigail says:

    This reminds me of a survey that I really love. They asked teens if they wanted to get married someday and, I believe, why. The teens overwhelmingly (something crazy like 90+%) wanted to get married. Why– because it was romantic and lasting love that they wanted to find.

    Another post I really enjoyed reading!

  2. living savvy says:

    I was listening to a conversation with Jon English (an Australian entertainer) http://www.abc.net.au/talkingheads/txt/s1470737.htm sometime ago and he said this about his marriage to his high school sweetheart over 4 decades ago “I knew my wife Carmen all the way through school. She was in the year below me, and we got married in 1969, because we saw no reason not to, as opposed to the other way around’ I like the simplicity of the decision they made.

  3. [...] Thoughtful Marriage – “…what seems like a prison sentence to some, is a precious gift to others” cathleencarr@ready,set…wife! [...]

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