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Marriage.

I don't really understand the stance against marriage. I do understand that it's horrid that not everyone can legally be married in our society, but I don't get how that translates to "I'm against marriage." I would like to hear more view points. Discussion.

I don't want to get married, but I'm not saying that I don't agree with marriage.  I just don't agree with it for me.

N and I have been together for 9 years now and have lived together for 8 or those 9 years.  We are very happy as we are and I think our relationship is great - you know the whole 'my boyfriend is my best friend' thing really truly applies to us.

BUT I don't want to marry him and he feels the same way.  I'm not really sure why I don't want to get married, I just don't.
I think a part of it is a case of 'if it ain't broke don't try to fix it', but also I just don't see the need for us to get married.

Another factor that influences it is our families.  Our parent have never met and I never want them to meet if I can help it. 
This sounds very bad, but N and I are from quite different backgrounds.  His parents are very middle class, prim and proper, straight and narrow.  My mum and dad are not.
My dad and his family are on benefits (nothing wrong with this in itself), but aslo have no desire to do any better.  My half brother has just left school and is quite happy to live on the dole if he has to and isn't fussed about getting a job.  N's parents would be horrified at this type of attitide.
My mum lives on diasability benefit and her pension and is not that badly off but she makes out she is and all she ever talks about is how bad her financial situation is and how poor she is - but she's happy to spend every night in the pub with her alcoholic husband.  She also plays up her disability way way too much & N's mum really is disabled.  N's parents would find it very uncomfotable dealing with my mum's issues.
My parents would likely be very put out by N's parents and resent them for being middle class and having money.

Wow, this sounds really harsh and like I am totally embarrassed about my parents - it's not that.  I do love them, but I just don't want them to meet N's parents.  They're all just too different and it would be too stressful for me.

Also, if we were to get married both families would expect the traditional church wedding.  N's family would insist on a big wedding, full on Scottish style.  I just don't see the point in spending so so much money on just one day.  Yes the party would be amazing and it would be a day to remember, but I could put better use to the money.

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Thanks for sharing your story, Shell!

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i don't really know what i think about marriage, yet.
i mostly think that marriage has to many social/political/etc. associations that are unfavorable to large amounts of people and that ideally, marriage as a political institution would be illegal, but still be something that could be performed by someones church or something.
but, i do sort of think that it's good to have some kind of union "stated" (in whatever way that may be) for things that are necessary when forming a family (not just having kids, but things like who can get on your family insurance plan.. stuff like that). i do think that problems form when we define that union as something like man-woman and not allow for same sex marriages or more than two people marriages. THOUGH, i think it's pretty awful that marriage is abused for things like insurance, tax breaks, citizenship, etc.

hmmm.. see, i'm very conflicted on this myself.

i just wish somehow someone could come up with an ideal situation. to me it seems hard because i do think marriage as it is does privilege certain people/groups, but i do think that there are some things that come along with marriage that are kind of needed (in the sense that, to me, marriage is mostly about becoming a family). maybe someone can point me otherwise. i'd love to hear discussion on that specifically.

i also want to state that i don't think that anyone that is against marriage is against it as a whole and thinks that no one should get married, so i don't think that people should take it as a personal insult to your marriage (if you are, i don't know if you are)

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I thought I would never get married until I met my sweetheart and then I couldn't wait to get married!!!    :)>>>  I just didn't want her to get away.  ;)

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i also want to state that i don't think that anyone that is against marriage is against it as a whole and thinks that no one should get married, so i don't think that people should take it as a personal insult to your marriage (if you are, i don't know if you are)

I wasn't insulted, but I did gather that some people were against marriage as a whole. That's kind of why I wanted to talk about it!

My love of my marriage has nothing to do with church or state. Obviously, it had to be legalized, but that was just something that had to be done. As I've said, it's absolutely abhorrent that everyone (who wants to be) can't be married. I don't know that my relationship would be any different if we weren't married, but I love that we are! It's just another special bond to share, I guess. Plus, I just loved everything about the whole ceremony.

Pg, I think that's what happens to quite a few people! They don't think about, or like the thought of, marriage, but then they find the someone they want to be married (to).

This has already been touched on, but I think some people fear that just because the become married, things will go wrong. ...like it's destined to happen that way.

bp, can you break it down for me? I always gathered that you had a problem (or dislike) of marriage outside of the fact that gay people cannot get married. Or, are you feelings about it centered around the fact that there are benefits/things/whatnot that married people have, that others can't have?
...benefits of marriage come from having social attachments? What do you (this) mean?

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marriage is the privileged position in society - if you are married, you're being a good sexual citizen. if you're not married, you better behave yourself. i think some comments, like women having kids outside of marriage (gov'ment marriage promotion, for example) or that it doesn't matter - that marriage is a "private" thing - misses a lot of the big issues in marriage.

1. marriage provides benefits and protections to a class of citizens and not others. for the federal government, this means hetero married vs. other couples. this violates the Constitution (equal protection, 14th amendment). the rights and privileges listed here and elsewhere on a web hit a lot of the big differences. ignored on most lists are the social status that marital relationship hold in our culture. ask any longterm couple (esp hetero) who are committed to each other outside of marriage and they will likely tell you they have experiance pressure to marry from somewhere. a good example, the other day on a "morning talk show" they were doing makeovers. one woman had her bf of 11 years and when she came out, they were like "isn't she pretty? you're gonna have to put a ring on her before someone steals her!" in short, i don't think people can conceptualize marriage outside of commitment. and vis versa.

2. marriage historically worked to regulate sexuality and provide legitimacy for children. yeah, we still need this. it still does regulate sexuality (hetero > other) because it excludes. if sexuality didn't matter and if heterosexuality wasn't the championed position, this wouldnt' be a debate.

3. i think the way to make marriage just is to:
--remove protections from marriage and make avaible to all (i.e. health care)
--attach benefits needed for families to having children/being a family and not marriage. if i remember right, about 50% of households in the US are married and, of those, a little under half of those actually have kids. why pay benefits to "help families" to couples without children?
--make it easy for couples to establish legal ties to each other in case of emergency. marriage covers a lot of these off the bat, but other kinds of relationships need to spend $$$ to try to secure them and then hope it holds in court. i'm not just talking about romantic couples, but any care-giving relationship. as it is now, first is marriage then biological family when decisions are made re: power of attorney, ownership of stuff. marraige is bad because 50% of households aren't married. what about their needs? blood family ignores the diversity in family relationships today. need to give people easy options to protect their asses for when the time comes.

i have to grade some shit. i burned my mouth on pizza :(

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i heart bp.

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3. i think the way to make marriage just is to:
--remove protections from marriage and make avaible to all (i.e. health care)
--attach benefits needed for families to having children/being a family and not marriage. if i remember right, about 50% of households in the US are married and, of those, a little under half of those actually have kids. why pay benefits to "help families" to couples without children?
--make it easy for couples to establish legal ties to each other in case of emergency. marriage covers a lot of these off the bat, but other kinds of relationships need to spend $$$ to try to secure them and then hope it holds in court. i'm not just talking about romantic couples, but any care-giving relationship. as it is now, first is marriage then biological family when decisions are made re: power of attorney, ownership of stuff. marraige is bad because 50% of households aren't married. what about their needs? blood family ignores the diversity in family relationships today. need to give people easy options to protect their asses for when the time comes.

cool. this is what i was wondering about opinions for.
i agree that health care should already be available to everyone. but of course, it isn't and it doesn't look like it's going to be any time soon (IMO).
i totally agree about the fiscal benefits being non-necessary. i wish i could come up with a list of things that i thought were necessary. i honestly don't know a whole lot about the benefits that come with being married, though.

i think i pretty much agree with you, bp, but i have such a hard time with all of this because a lot of it just doesn't easily compute in my head because of my anarcho-leaning beliefs.

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Yeah, I dont understand how our American society, that is suppose to be so culturally advanced and an advocate for freedom of choice, is so stuck on the whole same sex issue.  There are plenty of societies outside of the US that engage in same sex marriage and it is seen as normal.  There are societies in Africa where women marry women and raise families.  There are other societies where men are encouraged to engage in same sex related activities as a way to understand themselves as well as other men and it is not seen as a means of ridicule. 

sigh...so it goes.

Whats interesting is that in societies now outside of the US same sex marriage

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it's cause we're super and those other places are savages. seriously. (j/k disclaimer for those reading who don't know me)

the US, compared to other nations, has one of the higher marriage rates in the world. i was trying to pull some data but, not surprisingly, it isn't always clear what they are measuring with the rate so i'm not sure they are comparable. we're just really invested in marriage and we have a media system that is very good about lying to people and spreading misinformation about everything, including this issue

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Interesting thread.

My uncle and de-facto aunt have been together for 25 years and remain happily unmarried. They almost got married 12 years ago, but decided that they were happy having a non-legal partnership. They own a home together, they have a dog (aka child), and are a great example that you don't NEED marriage to have a strong bond.

That being said... there are days where this feminine urge kicks in and I think, "GAH! It's been almost five years- when are we going to get married?!?!" After de-stressing with a nice glass of wine, I realized that I don't NEED anything, but when "the time is right" I do want to get married. It's a natural human urge to bond yourself to the one you love- but of course I do have issues with marriage discrimination.

My boyfriend and I had a conversation a few years ago where we agreed that we can see ourselves marrying eachother, but we were in no hurry. Once of the reasons our relationship works is because we both don't ever want children. If (or when) we do get married, I want an atheist quick civil ceremony at SF City Hall and dinner with my family and friends at Millennium. I just want a reason to go to Millennium....

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Marriage, in it's current, heteronormative incarantion, was established during a time when people often stayed in one place their whole lives. They lived, worked, worshipped in a way that was very similar to their neighbors and their families. Because extended families, communities and religious traditions were such an ingrained part of daily life, there was a built in support system. Marriage and family units were one aspect of that support system. It had a lot more to do with economics, culture and religion than it did with love. Further, people didn't live that long. Saying "I do" for life when you're only going to live to be 40 is a very different thing ;)

Fast-forward a millenium or so and we no longer live in a way that remotely resembles that. We often break away from our families of origin, we move around, we leave or change our religious traditions, we live twice as long and the options available to us are vast. But still, as BP pointed out, we still give marriage the same priviledged status.

There's so much fear surrounding the marriage debate. I think it's very clear, regardless of what people may believe to be true spiritually, that two consenting adults, regardless of sex or gender, should be allowed to enter into the legal contract of marriage and enjoy the benefits of it. Either that or we have to extend the priviledges that come with marriage to anyone who wants them. But legalized discrimination turns my stomach.

Personally, I support the right of ANYONE to marry who wants to. I am partnered with a dude now and we're in a committed, long-term relationship, but I'm not heterosexual. My previous partners in my early 20s were both bio females who were other-gendered. My guy and I are non-religious and we are fortunate enough to get domestic partnership benefits through his job (which is great since I'm self-employed and buying your own health insurance suuuuuucks). My sister and my two best friends are lesbians...can you imangine me asking them to be in my wedding? Even thinking about that blows my mind.

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