Judging from some people’s reactions, it would seem that it’s a toss-up. They way they look at me when I say I don’t believe in marriage – it’s a look of shock and denial, as though I couldn’t possibly have said what I just said. “But… [what do you mean you like to kill puppies]?”
Just for the record, I’ve never held a puppy let alone owned one or – obviously much worse – killed one. And I’m sure that if I were ever forced to kill one, I would not like doing it.
A lot of girls romanticize about marriage and as adults seek someone to fulfill their marriage fantasies. Did I think about marriage and weddings as a child? Sure. But did I fantasize about my dress, the ceremony, the church, flower arrangements? No. I can recall wanting to get married, but not waiting for the day when I finally got married. As I grew older, I realized marriage wouldn’t be my cup of tea. And if marriage were a cup of tea, it would be bitter… and make me wonder why the hell am I drinking this obviously past-expiry rank cup of tea.
Reasons why I don’t believe in marriage:
Fixing something that isn’t broken. If two people love each other, have possibly lived together and are genuinely happy… what is marriage solving exactly? Does marriage somehow make your relationship more “real”? As opposed to all the time you spent together leading up to the wedding which was… fake? Not legitimate? Which brings me to my next reason:
No child is illegitimate. Children have been conceived and born before the advent of marriage will continue to be brought into the world once marriage becomes a novelty (in my lifetime, I hope). The idea that people still refer to children as being born “out-of-wedlock” is appalling to me. You don’t nor should you need a wedding band on your finger to have a child “legitimately”. All children are precious and should be referred to and treated as such. And anyone who how can’t commit to a child because they weren’t begotten within a “legitimate” relationship has issues, to put it mildly.
Blatantly sexist traditions. I’m black. I couldn’t imagine someone saying to me “I know it’s a little racist, but it’s tradition! Don’t take it so literally”. We all know the traditional Christian wedding ceremony is sexist (from the white virginal gown, to the father giving away the bride, to the continued role of the Best Man, to traditional vows of “man and wife”), and yet women do it because why? It’s tradition? It’s romantic? It’s wrong. Marriage (to me) should signify respect, equality and partnership – none of which is reflected in traditional ceremonies. Marriage, in the traditional sense, is about women being given to men as part of an exchange (money, promised virginity, obedience, etc). And if you don’t believe that to be true, why set up a ceremony that upholds those blatantly sexist traditions? It makes no sense to me.
Adopting the husband’s last name. I know not all women do this, but I don’t understand women who do. I’ll typically hear things like, “It doesn’t mean anything”, to which I’m thinking – if it doesn’t mean anything, why aren’t husbands adopting their wife’s last name? It obviously means something. It is obviously of some sort of significance. If you don’t want to admit to what that significance is, that’s fine, but don’t say it doesn’t mean anything ’cause that’s bullshit. I met a woman whose last name was Gandhi, and who changed it when she became married. I couldn’t believe it. Gandhi?! Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that last name? IS there a better last name than Gandhi?! WTF.
Loss of significance. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but have you ever attended a wedding that seemed more like a Las Vegas show production than a commitment ceremony? People who shell out tons of money and spend tons of hours on painstaking details in the need to impress and dazzle? If you are serious about your commitment to your significant other, wouldn’t you take the steps necessary to ensure that commitment is well nurtured? Wouldn’t a sizable down payment on a house seem more practical? Or money towards retirement? Or vacations together? Or the future kids you may want some day? No? Just gonna blow it on a one day wedding-palooza? Marriage isn’t the ceremony.
Preventing promiscuity/securing loyalty. This one makes me laugh, as though slipping a ring on someone will prevent them from ending up in someone else’s bed… as though the ring can’t come off… as though married people don’t cheat… as though I should guilt my partner and want them to re-commit themselves to me once they’ve cheated.
If I did believe in marriage, this would be my vision:
- A ceremony with only those closest to us in attendance (sorry Aunt Margot, who I last saw when I was 8). If that means 10 people, that means 10 people.
- Attendees wear what they want (socks with sandals being the only faux pas)
- No religious authority or licensed person to make the marriage “legal”
- Vows written on our own (hopefully expressing concepts of love, respect and equality)
- No walking of any aisle or giving anyone away. Just us hanging with our peeps.
- I wear whatever I feel best in. As with the person I am marrying. If that means I’m in my favorite t-shirt and jeans and he’s in that tux because he is proud he can still fit into it, that’s cool.
- We keep the names we have going into the ceremony.
- Ring exchange is optional. If we did do the ring exchange thing, I’d have a kid balancing it on a pillow, ’cause that’s cute.
- Me and my partner act as we did before we got married. Only now it’s “official” we’re together.
Just some thoughts.