On Friday my partner brought my attention to an article that has been floating around the internet titled “Marriage Isn’t For You”… I realize this was a week ago (which is an eternity in today’s world) but because love and relationships are something I have strong opinions on I wanted to share my thoughts. When I first read this article it made me really uncomfortable but I couldn’t really put my finger on it. After reading this response, posting it on my wall (where as of now every “like” is by a female), and talking it over with my partner and roommate I think I found the source of some of my discomfort.
I am not against love, monogamy, or marriage. I have performed two weddings, been best man in four weddings, groomsman in another half dozen, and an usher in two. I support my friends in love and I am always honored to be a part of the celebration of that love and their desire to love eternally. I recognize that all relationships require compromise, understanding, and often some form of sacrifice. I think Smith has moved beyond what is reasonable though, he is not suggesting reasonable sacrifice but is instead recommending people give up core parts of their beliefs to fall in line with social norms. If one part of a relationship isn’t comfortable with marriage there is something wrong with them in Smith’s mind and they need to just suck it up and do it because it will make another person happy.
We live in a modern era where love is free to express itself in many forms. Research continues to show that humans are not as naturally monogamous as earlier preached, and lifelong pair-bonding may not be for everybody. I am firm believer that there are a few certain things that partners need to have in common in order for their relationship to be fair, balanced, and healthy… marriage, kids, and lifestyle are those few certain things. For one partner to just get married to make the other person happy or to have kids or to change their lifestyle seems like it can only result in future resentment and probably a broken relationship.
Marriage is not necessary for financial security or even stability for children. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it isn’t for everyone and to pressure people to commit their lives to something they don’t want to make a spouse happy cannot lead to happiness for either person. If one person wants to get married and the other doesn’t the one pushing for marriage is being more selfish, more stubborn, and will eventually cause more harm to the relationship. There is no honor in sacrificing your future in an attempt to make another person happy and there is no honor in accepting someone’s entire future as a sacrifice in hopes it will make you happy. Happiness can only be determined by the individual and a healthy relationship requires two people who can be healthy alone.
I love my married friends, I love those who have decided that they are on the same page with regards to their future and want to be partners for life, but there is nothing to love if the build-up to marriage causes “my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.” That is a sign that one party is not ready for marriage (and may never be) and to just cave in, put a ring on it, and hope for the best is a recipe for disaster.
For generations we have been fed fairytales where the end of the movie is a wedding between a hopeless romantic and a reluctant partner, but we never see what happens after the wedding. The most important part of married couples relationship is after the churchbells have faded and they are with their partner for life, if they don’t go into that on equal ground I can’t imagine it can end well. True lifetime love deserves the honesty and respect that comes from two equals who get married for both of their happiness, not to please another person or society.