Marriage Isn’t Natural
It’s actually one of the most unnatural things that we do.
That’s right. I said it. Marriage. Isn’t. Natural.
At least not what we as humans have experienced and called marriage for the past couple hundred of years or so.
Marriage is one of the most unnatural institutions that we as human beings have implemented since the dawn of time.
The idea that we find someone (sometimes a total stranger) and commit our ENTIRE lives to this one person is well. . .quite frankly, crazy.
Now, before I offend too many starry-eyed brides-to-be or happily married wives (or husbands), let me just clarify where I’m coming from. I’m on my second marriage. Yes, my second. And I truly felt that my first marriage was meant to last forever. But it didn’t. And that’s okay. I’m better off now.
But I’ve come to realize that the way we do marriage is just downright wrong.
After two marriages, I’ve been on the other end of “happily ever after” and let’s just say that it doesn’t always end that way. Sometimes the fairy tale changes and then you’re stuck in a nightmare that you’d signed up for thinking it would be forever.
It was after my first marriage that I started really observing people around me in their relationships and marriages. Wondering what made them tick. And I often wondered what they were doing right and where I had gone wrong. But what I found out is that they weren’t doing anything better than me nor did they happen to pick the perfect person or spouse. They were just dealing with their relationship and/or marital problems quietly to themselves and oftentimes, ignoring the problems they had. They were just numbing themselves to the eventual dissolution of the relationship or ignoring the fact that they had changed and so had their partners.
I began to realize that it’s really not natural to be with someone your entire life. Day in and day out. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find that ONE person who you don’t mind sharing the rest of your days with. But there is a very real possibility that you and/or your significant other might change and want to move on in life — without you.
I, too, was once a huge proponent of marriage as we know it.
I still am.
But I just think we need to tweak it a bit.
Make it more human. Less robotic.
Finding someone that you bond with and want to spend the rest of your life with is completely natural. But actually living out that feeling for a lifetime and being happy with that choice — is rare.
I’m not saying that it can’t be done or that there aren’t people out there that are happily married. I’m saying it’s the exception rather than the rule.
To be fair, there are many animals in the animal kingdom who commit to another for a lifetime but they are not bound to it. Nor are they unable to walk away if they decide they can no longer tolerate their mate.
The part where it becomes unnatural is when we legally bind someone to another person. We have essentially created and continue to maintain a tradition of habitually imprisoning people in their choices that were based on who they were and what they felt in one moment of time.
And many times people are so caught up in the fantasy of marriage and the decor of the wedding day that they forget what they’re really signing up for. . .
People change. They grow. And sometimes they just decide it’s better to be alone than to be with someone who turned out to not be who they thought they were.
Sure, you may vow to love, honor, and cherish someone the REST OF YOUR LIFE (we’re talking a loooong time) but let’s be real here. . .
Most people CHANGE and GROW over time. Most people EVOLVE as a person and many times their wants and needs will change with them.
Now, a lot of you may be thinking, “Well, yeah. It’s called marriage. It’s a lifetime commitment. People change. So what. It’s till death do we part and all that jazz.”
And you’re right. But is it really fair to the people involved in this commitment to legally bind them? You might say, “Well, yeah. They chose to get married. Nobody forced them to.” But I would like to take it one step further and say, “They chose it at that moment. In that decade of their life. And people are human beings who are fluid in their thoughts, feelings, and needs.”
What I’m saying is:
It is unnatural to legally force two people to stay financially and legally bound to each other and not allow them the freedom to separate without legal obstacles if things aren’t working out, especially if they have no kids or property together.
It Should Be Harder to Get Married and Easier to Get Out.
Why is it that it’s cheaper to get into marriage than out?
Technically speaking, all you have to do to get married is pay a small fee at the courthouse and get married by an official (at least in Texas).
But in order to get out of a marriage, you have to pay an exorbitant amount of money in comparison to getting married. You’re only required to get a marriage certificate (in most states). Fancy marriage ceremony is optional.
Not to mention, the time you have to wait until you can even start proceeding with the divorce (you have to wait a minimum of 60 days from the date you file for divorce in Texas compared to 30 days or less for marriage) and then to add insult to injury, you have to go through emotional turmoil which drags the divorce out over months, if not years. And costs not only a ton of money but also a ton of time and stress.
Why is that???
Why is it that on a basic level getting married is far easier than getting divorced? Both financially and emotionally speaking?
In my opinion, it should cost way more to get married than to get divorced. And it should include a much longer waiting period.
If people had to wait a while once they file for a marriage certificate and they had to pay, let’s say for example $5,000 fee to get married, then I’m willing to bet that the number of people getting married would go way down and the divorce rate would drastically, temporarily increase (as there are no doubt many people staying married due to the financial cost of getting a divorce) and then eventually the divorce rate would dramatically decrease.
Over time, only those who were truly in it to win it would get married. People like me who fell in love and on a whim eloped (marriage #1) with someone they barely knew wouldn’t be getting married. They’d have time to really think about what they were doing and time to get over those first blushes of “love”. They’d have to take time (and money) to figure out if that’s really what they wanted.
People would take getting married much more seriously if they had to think about it as much as they do when they buy a house or a car. Getting married is essentially easier than getting approved for a loan on a house. And it cost far less. Why is that?
I’m willing to bet most people would just live together and come up with some kind of cohabitation agreement if we no longer had marriage in its current form. An agreement that evenly divided their assets without having to hire expensive lawyers and drag it out for months. No legal requirements to separate. Sure, there might be a couple of legal disagreements between the two people but they wouldn’t be required to pay legal fees or jump through legal hoops to separate.
All would be well again.
My point is our current way of doing marriage is completely unnatural and ineffectual. There has to be a better option.
Marriage was not created by a natural design or order. It was created as a tool to bind human beings together so as to divide property and maintain lineage. Maybe that was necessary for a period of time but it is and has been defunct in our society for quite some time.
What our country (and even the world) really needs in place of our current idea of marriage, is a more modern, civil alternative to our current marriage agreement. The current way of doing marriage may work for some (and I’m happy for them) but for the most part, it has failed as an institution.
And it has failed because it’s not natural.
It’s time for our idea of marriage and long-term commitment to evolve into something truly inspiring. Truly worth doing.
And truly honoring both people involved as free human beings freely entering (or exiting) a committed relationship.