What does marriage mean to you? Are you old school in your beliefs of marriage thinking that sometimes you may not marry the right person but divorce is just not an option. Perhaps you got married because of an unplanned pregnancy. Or my favorite, marriage out of economic convenience. Whatever the case the term marriage fascinates me lately, because that seems to be exactly what it has become amongst the majority; a term. So are you making it in this modern day world? Perhaps your marriage is slowly breaking down and you cannot seem to control it. Or hell maybe your just faking it (Kim Kardashian) for the money, fame or whatever else causes you to proceed into a marriage of convenience.
Marriage is defined as the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law by which they become husband and wife. Also it is a relationship between married people or the period for which it lasts. (Guarantee that last bit was added recently.) Why do people get married though? For love? Economic convenience? Society says it’s the right thing to do? (Usually comes after you get out of college and get a good job) Or are you like myself and believe that it is the uniting of two souls as one, because you not only want to share life with that person but could not imagine it without them. How many of you are laughing at that? I believe that marriage should be respected and endured through better or worse, if you got married under the right reasons to begin with.
Let’s look at it from a religious grounding. God wants us all to be happy correct? But yet divorce is simply not accepted amongst most of the religious community. Ok so let me get this straight. God ultimately you want me to be happy, yet I will sin if I get a divorce. Therefore married and miserable is the way to go because divorce is worse than denying yourself true happiness. Yeah no, sorry I have watched too many people get married for the wrong reasons over the past few years to sit back and stay silent.
Like everything in life marriage has grown and adapted accordingly depending on its external surroundings. With roots in several varying cultures, the meaning behind marriage has taken many different forms over the years from a personal arrangement between a husband and wife to acting as an economic arrangement between families.
Ancient Greece used marriage as a fundamental social institution according to the History of Marriage in Western Civilization. While the meaning behind marriage in Rome varied and underwent significant changes as necessary. An interesting thing about early Roman marriage and divorce, it was between two people, the government did not need to put their stamp on either to approve. Christians followed suit with the traditional Roman laws at first, however would eventually broaden and restrict the divorce regulations depending on the political pressures.
The ring symbolized a “sale marriage” aka business deal between two families. The bride would receive a ring from her future husband and upon acceptance would seal the deal. Ironic because women today seem to place more importance on the size of the diamond a guy can buy rather than what he has to offer her in love.
The church decided that these ways were primitive and needed to be refined. In doing so they created two new issues surrounding marriage by abolishing divorce and increased the amount of prohibitions around marriage. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that marriage should be a thing that is easily disposed of, however making people suffer in misery because they think they are going to hell if they get a divorce? Really?
I have to say I fell into society’s bear trap of morally right and wrong recently. It was quite the eye opening experience to go home each night and wonder why something that made me so happy was looked at as unacceptable in the bible. I choose to believe God wants us to be happy, anything the bible says, well man could have written. Moreover I have the faith that God would never allow me to stray down a path of ruin.
I know people get married for different reasons. Some of my buddies have gotten married because they got their girlfriends pregnant (ahem). Others got married because their parents wanted grandkids. But a few have gotten married because they found the one person they could not live life without and to me that is the true meaning of marriage.
Movies have constantly put on display the differing meanings behind marriage. One of which I will reflect on is Eat, Pray, Love. The tagline for the movie? Let yourself go! Based on the book by the real Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Roberts embodies the struggle that a married individual must go through when they realize the thing making them unhappiest is the marriage they vowed to endure through better or worse. Slamming on the breaks Gilbert takes us on the journey of turning one’s life in a different direction. Bringing me to the first crossroad I have with modern day marriage. Why are so many breaking it rather than making it? You cannot possibly find happiness and love in someone else if you have yet to discover within yourself.
Waxing poetic much? Whatever I know it because I have lived it. I have fallen head over heels for people in the past, I know it, and my friends know it. But I also know who I can see myself spending the rest of my life with and who I cannot. Marriage to me means exactly what Gilbert finds at the end of her quest, a person to share life with, grow together as one and above all rely on each other in the greatest times of need.
A few years ago I was a member of the bridal party in my friend Steve’s wedding. I remember standing there and having a nervous breakdown/anxiety attack as I watched his fiancé Ashley get ready to walk down the aisle. That’s it I thought, her life is over, she’s done, he’s done. So young, really at 23 can you find the person you love that much? Yes you can, and o boy was I wrong. Their life wasn’t over; instead it was just about to begin. Honestly they have a love that I hope I can one day find. Together they overcome the hardships they must face, each making the other a better person and they embody the true meaning of marriage if you asked me. They were making marriage, not breaking it or faking it.
Than you have the people who need to find themselves before they can find each other again. The last wedding I went too I watched two individuals tie the knot for what I know will be the rest of their lives. I have also recently watched people get engaged thinking what the hell are you doing. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are one public example I can think of.
Don’t get me wrong, there is not one part of me that thinks marriage is an easy road to go down. But I have to say the reasoning people have for tying the knot these days puzzles me. Most of us know individuals who simply do not “fit” we wonder how the hell they can make it through everyday experiences together without killing each other and most of all I wonder how someone can spend their entire life completely miserable because it’s easier that way.
DivorceRate.org says that 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages will end in divorce. Is it easier the second and third time around? I have heard, why get married when 50% of marriages end in divorce? I say because at least there are still 50% that make it.
Recently a friend of mine told me her grandparents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Congratulations Miss Macchi! Also snowboarding last month in Vermont, while dining at Friendly’s, my friend Mac motioned to an elderly couple and said that’s what I want eventually. These instances give me hope.
When I talked to our editor DCTeti regarding his thoughts about marriage this is what he had to say. “To answer your question, I LOVE being married!! I think that marriage is a sacred bond between two people that love each other. I am an only child that had my parents divorce when I was in 9th grade. A time when teenagers are already questioning life, who they are and all of the other stuff teens go through. Then, to have my folks split and no other siblings to console with, sucked!!!… I think because of the way I grew up, I was not open to committing to someone. I dated a lot, but never was ready to get serious. I had a plan of waiting until I met the one that I KNEW I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. She didn’t come along until much later in life. I guess GOD didn’t put Katherine in my life until HE felt I was ready and mature enough to handle that type of commitment and bond!”
Great insight DC! Had to put this in because its true. Sometimes we do not receive our true love until we are ready to handle the intensity of that connection.
But what is marriage without being in love? I couldn’t imagine it. Sure people do it, but that person I eventually settle down with is going to be my best friend, my better half and the man I cannot live without. In the end I hope people get married because they want to share the rest of their life with someone. Marriage shouldn’t be about a bank account or convenience; it should be because it makes you happier than you have ever been. Remember if your struggling with right and wrong when it comes to divorce, do what makes you happy and God cannot penalize you for following your heart. Because after all, that’s where they say he lives right?