My Beliefs About Marriage
Erika Sauter

I guess I was just never husband material. God knows I tried to be, twice.

Something about my way of seeing myself or the world just had me make some very bad decisions about whom to get closer to. Going back to adolescence, I never did find a girl who wanted to wait to have sex, for instance. I would be willing to hold off, and she would insist. It didn’t take long afterward (what an erotic word “afterward” can be, can’t it?) for me to see that this had nothing to do with any attraction to me, but with a transforming of the terms: now she was in control of the commodity she saw herself as, and expected in payment that now I would do whatever she said and live only to please her by whatever means were ordered.

Those were not very good terms to start out on, nor were they the terms I ever wanted. But some flaw in my self-respect made me vulnerable to women who had none of their own. I got plenty of experience with women awash in daddy issues, who also lived in a condition of permanent civil war with their mothers.

And trying to make a life with any woman who already has a child or children? Not advisable, fellas: unless you and she both are the rarest of specimens, welcome to a life of being asked “what gives you the right?” any time you have the least idea of your own about raising kids, and told “not everything is about you” on the isolated occasion when you think it worthwhile to stand your ground about anything.

So I’m not sure what my “beliefs” about marriage are. The addition of motherhood making absolute tyrants of too many women and servile eunuchs of too many men, is more an observation than a belief. I suppose the believing in something part would be to wonder why this happens so very often, and to such otherwise nice people.

My opinion of it, looking on at others’ marriages, including that of my own parents having lasted over sixty years, is mostly “better you than me”. It always looks to me like a woman who always gets her way, and a man who has long since resigned himself to that being the purpose of his life, and children who can’t wait to get out from under both their thumbs by any means necessary so they can carry on their permanent feud with one another. I know this is not altogether accurate or inclusive of all marriages, but I damn sure have both witnessed and experienced more than enough of this form of marriage to not want anything further to do with it.

Someone said, “marriage is a great institution, if one can stand to live in an institution.” Not meaning any judgment of the lovely and happy married couples I know are out there, that’s pretty much what it came to for me. Every single day I am grateful and relieved to finally be the head of my own household, the master of my own way of life, and to be free of that permanent husband-anxiety over every circumstance of life that is based not on “can I handle this?” but on “how is she going to react?”

And never mind for now, the price I have paid to get here. Suffice it to say, two children can ask me that when they grow up, and their mothers no longer are licensed to vindicate themselves and their splitting a child’s humanity in half on a whim to discard the entire paternal half of it, by treating me as a threat to their absolute powers over them. And, that I know that won’t be easy or even necessarily solve anything for them. What ever becomes of their mothers, I stopped caring a long time ago.

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