Saturday, November 22, 2014

Marriage: Take 2


     Everything is fine and dandy here; the phrase "Take 2" just means a follow up to my original, "My Take On Marriage", with some more thoughts on the ever evolving state of marriage.
     I started this post a few months ago, but due to many things happening in the world and the ongoing battle for marriage equality, it has taken this long to finish.
     My take is made up of what I've seen in current events and what I've been reading; Who Cooked The Last Supper? The Women's History of The World by Rosalind MilesMarriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz; and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  With the intro of the phrase, "conscious uncoupling";  I can't help but wonder what Ms. Austen would make of it all.  Right now, I am reading Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff.  Maybe I'll get an idea on the last pharaoh's take on the whole institution.



     Let me start with Charlotte York's thought from Austen's Pride and Prejudice, "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.  If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least.  They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.'"  She has a point.




 
 
   A bit about arranged marriages.  I have a friend that is married by arranged marriage.  Years ago we had a phone conversation in which I asked how his wife was doing. "Oh, I hate her."  OUCH!  I burst out laughing and asked as to her thoughts on him; "Oh, she hates me too," was his reply.  I knew it was just one of those days.  Then to how his daughters were doing, "Great..." then lengthily on what each had been up to.  A few months later we talked, and each status was reported as "Good, real good."  Including how things were going with his wife.  That's the thing at times; if divorce is not a possible option, (as in arranged marriages) some times one has to make due regardless.  For better or worse.  Rings a bell.  Where have I heard that before?  Ah yes...  I can see despite the perceived lack of freedom that entails an arranged marriage, it could be liberating to think that no matter what you thought of your spouse on one day, (or month) would not affect your marriage status.  You're stuck.  If it worked both ways.  Unfortunately I don't think that is usually the case.
     Thanks to news sources today, we know for many, marriage isn't necessarily a happy occasion.  Child brides, honor killings, along with other atrocities are part of the marriage state around the world.  It's not the stuff of fairy tales for many.

     For Gweneth, think it's time to not only cut her some slack, it's time to show a little compassion.  Heaven knows you would not like my idea of housekeeping (nada) or may not agree with any of my thoughts.  Some of the mean things of late about Gweneth, c'mon.  Some say her rephrasing of "divorce," is cause for the criticism.  But if that's what they need to get through the day, and it helps their peace, and more importantly their kids' peace of mind, so be it.  Given that marriage is hard, no doubt the same holds true for divorce.  No matter how amicable and civil.  Should I ever go through one, I'll call it whatever I bloody damn well please, thank you very much.

     As for Mr. Clooney:  millions of broken hearts?  Really?  Did you really think you ever had a chance with ol' George?  More recently I saw that Benedict Cumberbatch is newly engaged; and hearts are breakin' again.   Let's just wish them well, and say, "Welcome to the crazy fun."
   Same as when people question a celebrity's sexual orientation.  SO WHAT? WHO CARES?  What, if a celebrity comes out, is it supposed to serve as an explanation of why they haven't come calling?  Matt Bomer is just as easy on the eyes as George.  Just sayin'.  For most of us, frolicking with celebrities is just fantasy.  So go for it.  Add wings.  Feathers.  "It's just a fantasy, it's not the real thing."  Thank you Mr. Joel.

                                   
   
     So in a roundabout way that brings me to marriage equality.  An interesting finding according to this Huffington Post article,  is that the divorce rate is lower in states that support marriage equality.  Could be many have not had the time to experience "the seven year itch".  Or it could be that many of the gay couples that are going to the altar have been waiting for years for this right, and essentially have already built a life with someone.  They don't have the luxury of taking it for granted.  So they see marriage as a reverent institution.  Many have been together 20-30 years already, and only just recently have been able to "make it official".   Imagine getting married in one state, only to return home, and be told that it's not recognized or honored in your home state.
     I've never understood the point in forbidding someone to marry based on their sexual orientation.  If someone claims they're trying to protect the sanctity of marriage- what sanctity?  The rate of divorce in the U.S. being whatever; it's there.  Many proponents of "traditional marriage", have been traditionally married more than once.  I just don't understand it.  I'm still married, despite the fact that 35 states support marriage equality.  It has no affect on my marriage.  As for the history of marriage, for a long time, and in some countries still, it is more about property, practicality, and power.  Think it's time for all to really consider what the phrase, "traditional marriage" (this link takes you to a great article by Carina Kolodny) means.  As Tina sung, "What's Love Got to do With it?"
   
     Let's acknowledge that marriage regardless of the type is hard.  For many reasons.  Some of those reasons hit harder for some, than others.  Infidelity; money issues; long absences due to careers; or perceived inequality of caregiving, breadwinning, and domestic home maintenance; can dissolve even strong, well thought out unions.  People change throughout life.  Life happening while you are making plans, has a way of eradicating those ideal, picture perfect, common goals that the marriage started with.

For what it's worth, here's some more of what I've learned on these.

On INFIDELITY
      Thankfully, this knowledge does not come from first hand knowledge.  My knowledge is rhetorical and theoretical.
      I'd been around the rodeo enough to know what I liked and what I didn't, as did my husband.   Now you can take that however you like, but the point is this:  Nobody is 100% anything; and things can happen.  Talk about the possibility of infidelity before you walk down the aisle.  My husband and I know, should he/I stray, unless he/I wants to end the marriage, he/I will make damn sure I/he doesn't have a clue.  
     Neither of us have the desire nor the energy to deal with someone unburdening their guilt onto one of us. 
 If you stray, and you feel guilty because you love so much, (blah, blah, blah) YOU should work YOUR ass off to make sure your spouse doesn't know, and shower, (FULL FORCE) YOUR LOVE, with love, gifts, season tickets to whatever and chocolate till YOUR GUILT IS ABSOLVED.
     Also, keep in mind, it's a well recognized fact that two people could be frolicking on a deserted isle, and there would be a multilingual parrot flying above that would be able to report every sordid detail.  Moral of the story?  Better not hear about it from someone else either.  Because if the proverbial "balls" end up in my court; THE BALL(S) ARE MINE.  SO MINE.

     Still, again,  strong and lasting marriages are made up many different ways; and there are marriages that survive, and last despite infidelity.  For some it's only a part of the picture.  And from what I've seen, divorce is never a walk in the park.  There's no way of knowing how one would deal, till you have to deal.  The cartoon below was created by my husband at my request.  I assured him I would not take infidelity this lightly.  Still, if his coffee cup could find its way to the dishwasher, as opposed to other various locations around the house; I would be ever so grateful.

    KEEPING THE ROMANCE GOING AFTER YOU HAVE KIDS
     The good news: you'll find a way.  I'm too tired to go into it, and if you have kids you understand.
     There are times, no matter how much you love your children and how much a source of pride they are; THEY WILL DRIVE YOU UP THE WALL.  Ergo:  THERE WILL BE TIMES, you'll want NOTHING TO DO with the man that had a hand or any other body part in making them.  No matter how wonderful he is.  Imagination goes a long way.


Since I started off with a quote from Ms. Austen, thought it fitting to draw a close with quotes from another great English character, the Dowager Countess of "Downton Abbey":

“Everyone goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.”

“There can be too much truth in any relationship.

For a fun, light chat about marriage, check out author Jenna McCarthy's TED TALK:

Lastly, remember this:

There are many different types of marriage.  Money and looks come and go.  Sarcasm and humor last.