Marriage. It’s a topic discussed frequently at my age. As I get older it seems to become a looming ‘passing of age’ requisite into adulthood. When I read discussions between people who are pro Choice Marriage Vs. Arranged Marriage I think: What’s the difference? It’s like arguing whether suicide is better than murder.
To people with a predisposition for solitude and introversion marriage is the ultimate life commitment. So I feel it’s something that must be evaluated very carefully. This following analysis may disturb, tick off, and potentially unhinge you. Or on the other hand, you might get a buzz out of it, and it might lift your spirits. Either way, come join in, and let me know your thoughts at the end.
History of Marriage
Through our socialization we’ve been taught that marriage is the “way things are supposed to be”. Until only a few decades ago it was a non-negotiable prescription for love in the Bible and many other religious texts. Human relations however, reach a lot farther back than this.
About 10,000 years ago, Nomadic hunting tribes who foraged around for food, decided to settle down and grow their food in the same place. This came as a result of the scarcity of animals to hunt, as well as the success female tribe members were having experimenting with the growth of small plants and herbs.
This single decision had several world changing effects. Firstly, without having to move around, it became possible to accumulate food. While as before tribes could only have 100 individuals to make sojourning possible, now many more people could settle, bringing about the establishment of small communities. As these small communities began to grow, people began to know each other less, and began exchanging assets for assets, instead of sharing. And so currencies were implemented.
This establishment of small communities brought about the creation of social institutions, such as churches, laws and the military. For the first time ever, wealth could be hoarded. Or, in other words, one person could amass much more than another, making them more powerful. Personal security now depended on how much you accumulated.
But what does all this have to do with marriage? Well firstly, agriculture forced people to become attached to the pieces of land they worked so hard on. Suddenly, the feeling of “ownership” and private property that was non-existent in the Nomad culture, was born. The only way to secure a piece of land for your future generations (that now were also seen with a sense of “ownership”) was to control females and their sexuality.
Originally, Nomads were polygamous and women could sleep around freely. Often fathers didn’t know which children were theirs. But now to make sure that the children who were going to inherit their wealth and hard worked lands were theirs, the concept of marriage was developed so no female could sleep with any other male and vice versa.
Interestingly, prostitution became the by-product of marriage as well. Go figure.
How Selfless is Marriage?
So now, we’ve seen how the origin of marriage was to monopolize woman, and to treat them as another ‘private property’ item. Luckily, as time passed it’s evolved into a much less selfish act. But now, we’ve been taught that the powerful looking charade of marriage is something very romantic.
And sure, marriage is a hypnotizing experience. It really makes you feel as though you’re doing an act of meaning. Just think of the candles, the atmospheric locations, the sacred feeling of a priest and witnessing audience waiting to celebrate you. This all makes you feel that something great is happening, when in fact, nothing is really happening. The world doesn’t stop for you. It doesn’t start vibrating, and petals don’t start falling from heaven, apart from the little girl told to throw them.
But that’s exactly what our fearful minds need: an act of meaning. There’s a certain reassurance that comes when you feel a part of an institution that validates your love spiritually or legally. What do social formalities have to do with the feeling of love? They can’t give sanction. Love is a personal feeling between two people yet we try to make these public sanctions feel like they’re sanctions in our hearts.
Love is a feeling of significance, but marriage is an experience of sole meaning. Sure, that may be a good thing in the eyes of some people, but its meaning is to reassure our fearful, insecure minds that the other person won’t leave us. Love is a feeling of the heart, whereas marriage is a more tangible safety net for the mind.
In the end, marriage is to make love a contract, to put law above love. Just have a look around you, law has even made the marriage “business” lucrative, allowing you to get your “money’s worth” when things don’t go so peachy and everything ends in divorce.
It’s just another business transaction at the end of the day.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
It’s well known that introverts have longer lasting relationships than extroverts. When you don’t seek constant stimulation it makes it much easier to remain content in a relationship. Introverts are generally thoughtful and in search for depth and meaning which also helps in this area. In any relationship however, it’s easy to become complacent, and that is the danger which we should be aware of. After all, it’s human nature to take things for granted.
When we fall in love, we feel so ecstatic it’s understandable that we feel our love will last forever. We’ve been taught all our life that true love lasts forever, so we start making promises for the future that we’ll love eternally. But how can you make such promises for the future? Nobody knows if that feeling will still be there or not.
Once you’re married there’s a duty involved of loyalty and commitment. That dutiful love breeds an unhealthy kind of complacency. When you promise to love someone forever, your mind begins to take the other person for granted, because they promised and you promised … so everything will be okay, right?
It’s all a bit naive, don’t you think? What’s the point of working on a relationship that is safe?
It’s only when you’re kept on your tip toes in the dating stages of not knowing if the person might leave you for someone else – (because there’s no legal/spiritual commitment) – that you try your hardest.
Dutiful love is distasteful to receive, and in the end, the duty is much more important than the actual desire of love. Marriage can work only if people learn to fall in love all over again with the same person every day – to wake up and be ecstatic that you’re still in love, and they’re still in love with you. But marriage doesn’t play a part in that.
Love is like a flower, it blossoms unexpectedly. Some last for a day or two and others for a whole season. Love as a relationship helps you grow: it’s non-possessive and it gives you freedom. Unfortunately some people are left clinging onto dead flowers.
Don’t allow yourself to fall into a loveless marriage.
A loveless marriage is no better than prostitution. In the end you sleep together for personal gain, in other words: financial comfort, fearfully appeasing other people’s opinions, and avoiding the fate of being lonely.