Thursday, February 23, 2006

Love and Marriage

I've never been married. Two of the guys I've been involved with were very into the idea, but I said no both times. I'm certainly not anti-marriage, but I've seen good, bad and ugly ones, and the whole concept of intertwining my life so completely with another person scares me. My parents, who had a good marriage, provided a terrific example for my sister and I to follow - particularly because they were open and honest about the tremendous amount of effort, compromise and love that it takes to stay married. Those of you who have already jumped into the deep waters of matrimony, I salute you.

Despite the fact that "marriage is a boat with a 50% chance of sinking" (my dad's words), getting married is expected, considered "normal" in our culture (unless you're gay, God forbid! ~sarcasm~). No question, marriage comes with its joys as well as its difficulties. But the institution itself is status quo, accepted as something that you "just do" when you're grown, one of the final rites of passage into adulthood (until the kids come, which is also expected). My saying "no" to marriage thus far has caused considerable head-shaking among many of my elders, and some of my peers. But it has really been a no-brainer for me. First of all, I've got ants in my pants, as my mother used to say. Up until this point in my life, I've been tremendously restless, needing to be constantly on the move and meeting new people, discovering new places. I also feel deeply that there's a light that has to dawn, a new awareness within me, a feeling of "eureka!", if you will - that will tell me that my life will be better with this particular man in it. That just hasn't happened to me yet.

I'm not afraid of such an intense feeling taking me by surprise, and I'm not afraid of it never coming at all. I'm always amazed when people suggest that I'd be "happier" or "complete" if I were married. I always reply, "Compared to whom?". My family taught me that if you want a marriage to work, you have to enter it already whole. I'm plenty happy, and although I really mean that, just saying it makes me feel like I'm defending myself, which is silly! I've got a great job, wonderful friends and a terrific family. I travel, volunteer, write, and dance. I laugh loudly. I'm grateful for every day. Marriage is, to me, a different lifestyle, not a superior (or inferior) one. It's not for everybody. I still don't know whether or not it's for me. When I go on a date, I'm not auditioning a husband. I'm looking for somebody that I can really connect with, that I can be a better person with. When I find that, maybe marriage will follow. Maybe not. I'll take it one day at a time. So many things in our lives are beyond our control - we can never truly know how we'll feel about today's choices later in life. The fact that nothing in our lives will stay the same, and that we only have today, are our only guarantees.

Whew! I just wanted to post this little marriage quiz for your enjoyment. But after taking it myself, I started to think, and this post turned out to be a little longer than I had expected! Check it out: many of the answers may surprise you! I'd also love to hear from the married and single people out there. What are your thoughts? Please comment!

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this singleton couldn't agree more. i swear my parents take turns reminding me how single I am! This last weekend my dad ever so gently asked me as I was leaving walking out the front door if I'd get married by the time I was 40 and not to worry if I didn't because he would make sure I'd have plenty of money when he dies!!!! Okay, not only do i have a timeline I wasn't aware of but now the man I marry is also going to have to have plenty of money??? I guess Daddy's littl girl will always be the little girl until she is taken care of by another man - whatever! signed - just another devout bachlorette

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this piece ....it gave me some ammo for when my family gets on my case :) Thanks again for sharing!

9:30 AM  
Anonymous p.p. said...

Hallelujah! I second every word of this. My girlfriend and I were just talking about how if you're a woman in your 30s and never been married, people look at you askance, more so than if you're in your 30s and divorced. I have a great life, and if I should decide someday to get hitched... well, the dress ain't gonna be white, is all I can say!

By the way, I think that quiz is a bunch of bulls***. Question #4 essentially states that our disapproval of rape is an indication of our growing lack of tolerance of sexual activity. HELLO? Rape = violence, not sex, Mr. John Fulbrook III. I'm sorry, but that one answer completely soured me to the rest of the quiz.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

p.p.,
I appreciate the comment...if you ever do get married, I say you can wear white if you want to! I don't believe in the white = virginal stuff, and besides, white is the color of mourning in India, so color meanings are all relative. For my own part, I think white wedding dresses are too common to be very interesting. I'll probably go for color too!

About the quiz...I'm going to play devil's advocate for Mr. Fulbrook, and say that he didn't mean to equate rape with sex. You're right, rape is violence in which sex is used as a weapon to humiliate and control the victim. I think what he meant was that the definition of rape in our laws has expanded greatly, to include marital rape and child molestation. As the quiz stated, the age of consent for children was 7 at one point! EW. People are much more likely to speak up about such issues now, whereas before, they stayed silent out of ignorance or shame. Anyway, that's my take on it.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a happily married, long time friend of Ginger's I refuse to take a test on marriage...because actually being married while being honest with yourself cannot be measured. And the questions looked a little nuts.

Marriage and dating are two different animals all together. Having done both, I'd say that some people will be happier just dating forever...marriage shouldn't be the "finish line" of dating. Marriage should be a choice independent of how "in love" you are...it's about finding someone who makes you into a stronger, smarter, happier version of yourself and vice versa. That's not bull. Married is a lovely thing to be...but it's not for everyone. Be comfortable with your own choices. :)

7:48 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Hear, hear, anonymous. Nice comment. Married and single people often pit themselves against each other in a war to determine who has made the "right" choice. But the fact is, we all want the same things - to be loved and to be a better, happier person. We just go about it in different ways!

11:56 AM  
Blogger pixiedust73 said...

Believe me marriage is quite overated lol, I know cause Ive been there done that. Am I completly Happy to be basically single again, of course the answer is no, am I looking to rush into marriage again absolutely not. Being single after your married has a whole different meaning, exspecially for me as a spiritual woman. I am now taking this time for me, to grow and give whats best for my children. I know now what I dont want compared to what I thought I had wanted 12yrs ago. Does anyone ever go into a marriage thinking it will fall apart down the road, of course not. You just never know where the road will bend in your life. Take things as they come, work on things to make you happy and never ever settle. So if your single and never been married its ok really, and if you been married and now your single its still really ok. Just live your life as a lie cause you'll just end up regretting it all when your freakin 80. Thats what life is trying to have no regrets and maybe if there are regrets look to see what you've learned from those regrets. Dont think about what you could've of done just do it.

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