We were “practicing” want to and ought to. I’ll leave my useless busywork talk for another day. But each group had to present their own examples. One group, of all girls, said, “I want to get married, but I should ask permission from my parents first.”
Well, I wanted to say, dears, you don’t have to get permission from your parents to get married (the girls cleared up that the person in question was over the age of majority). That just reinforces the patriarchy. Gender roles, and all that jazz. ‘Cause, of course, girls can’t decide for themselves whether they can marry a man or not. (Although it is always good to ask for advice. Is this person worth marrying? But, can I marry this person? Is unacceptable and totally unnecessary, in my opinion.)
Which brings me to the curious institution of marriage itself. I don’t believe in the sanctity of marriage. Marriages never used to be about love, anyway, no matter how they’re currently seen. As for love – I believe in the value of loving someone and that person loving me back. I don’t need a societally defined institution to reaffirm my love or my ties. In fact, I think marriages are very binding. And they carry so many connotations of the patriarchy that I hesitate when even thinking about marriage for myself, as an expression of love.
Now, I will probably end up getting married. Because couples living together in the US don’t have any rights worth squat unless they are married. Hospital visitations, rights to pensions, etc. But this is precisely why I don’t like it. It’s such a governmentally defined institution. Here, here is a space for his name and for her name, and please, check the box if she wants to change her last name. Because, when a woman gets married, she gives her identity away and takes on the name of her husband. Willingly. Absolutely and for ever, because she is one of his prized possessions [tic]. Oh, and all the religious affiliations it has. Well, even though people were getting married before Christianity, it has been so warped in the US. Weddings take place in churches, after all. But I don’t need the government or a religion to tell me I want to stay with a person, live with him, be a part of his life.
I just need to come to terms with it myself. And then we will be lovers, because we are in love.
As for marriage saving love – if I don’t love him enough to try to reconcile any differences and compromise sans marriage, then marriage isn’t going to help. It’s a man-made construct. Bound together in the face of law and society. Since when was love about what other people thought?
I think human will is beautiful. And love is just another facet of it. Why use a rigid label to define it? (Marriage marriage, oh marriage. Everyone wants a part of you, but perhaps it would be better if we got rid of you altogether.)