4 in 10 people believe that marriage is becoming obsolete. I’m not one of them.
Look, I know the arguments against it. Growing up my mom was a big proponent of “marriage is for fools.” Now, my mom has been happily married for over 30 years, so no one really takes her seriously when she says things like that, but it meant that I spent a lot of time drawing imaginary “my book party” dresses instead of wedding dresses as a kid.
Mom quite rightly pointed out that there’s no real need to get married. You can just keep living with someone! For as long as you feel like it! Who needs marriage? Not us, no sir, not in this modern age. We can all just be free spirits who stay together as long as the love lasts!
She has a point. We can, we definitely can, and no one will judge you for it (or not judge you too much. They’re not going to ostracize you).
And, obviously, there are bad reasons to want to get married. What? Lording it over gay people. That would be a bad reason.
I’m going to say that wanting a day when you’re a pretty, pretty princess is an only slightly less bad reason. Because I do not know the nation where princesses force all their friends into some horrifying, spastic nervous-tic version of the Electric Slide while screaming about how the salads weren’t good enough (happened!) but that nation sounds like, maybe, North Korea.
Christ, I hate the idea of having a wedding. I can’t imagine anything more stressful. My idea of a good wedding would just be getting some friends and family together at City Hall on a random, rainy Tuesday and then afterwards, we could go out and eat potato pancakes. At Veselka. That’s all I want from a wedding.
But I love the idea of being married.
Because I believe in vows. I really do believe that they matter. Because by standing up there and taking vows that you’re going to put someone else’s needs above your wants, that you’ll work to be compassionate, that you’ll try to be kind and attentive, and all the others things that go with being married, well, I just think that’s an act of such great faith. Not in your partner – because your partner really has nothing to do with that, except that you hope that they say the same and mean it – but in ourselves. The act of getting married seems like a testament to our belief that we can be good to another person forever.
The fact that anyone wants to do that – wants to work to make someone else happy, even when it means being selfless – is amazing. It’s amazing to an extent that’s it’s really, really shocking, at least to me. Because we do scumbag shit all the time. I sometimes marvel that as a group we aren’t all still smearing our feces around in caves while emitting guttural noises that translate to “fuck you buddy, fuck you” at everyone. It seems like it’s part of everyone’s nature to be a real asshole. But by getting married, you promise God, or your family, or whoever matters to you, that you can do better. And that you’re willing to make empathy, and patience and so many other good things defining features of your life (as opposed to things you practice when you feel like it, before going home to drink vodka and watch Law and Order: SVU alone). Marriage strikes me as one of the ultimate testaments to the fact that man may be in the gutter, but we’re looking to the stars.
I hope that one day I meet someone who brings that out in me.
And it is sort of practical, right? If you’re going to have kids, then I think those are good values to work on cultivating beforehand. You know. With someone who isn’t a turkey meatloaf.
So, that. And tax breaks. Tax breaks, obviously, are a terrific reason.
And because – this may be the most important reason of all – judging from the picture, getting married might turn you into a dinosaur. Coolest. Thing. Ever.