Monday, July 12, 2004

The Myth of Marriage

Thanks to those of you who responded to yesterday’s posting, either by commenting here or sending me an email. I appreciate all of your input. I guess I'm just expressing the frustration of having no control over random chance (not an original expression). A college student whose blog I find interesting is Bingo who commented on Dating, Part Three. I like how he says that relationships are "like creativity: you can better prepare yourself to be receptive to it when it comes, but cannot generate it on command."

I think that's what my friend Robert Cowie meant one time when, regarding relationships, he told me I had to just "keep my end of the bargain." He meant that if I want a relationship, I must stay open-minded, fit and attractive and keep dating rather than staying home and eating Twinkies every night. I dismissed Robert’s idea at the time because I was complaining that it doesn't matter if I keep my end of the bargain when The World isn't keeping Its end (producing a partner for me).

The World still isn't. But I'm slowly, slowly beginning to understand and accept the raw randomness of "meeting someone." My understanding of how couples form and solidify has been warped, twisted and ruined by the myth of marriage. I define the myth of marriage as the belief that there's a pre-destined or God-created partner for everyone and most people find that partner when they're in their 20's and they get married and are happy forever. I also think the myth includes the belief that anyone who doesn't find that partner while they're in their 20's is resisting the process, either because we don't want to get married or because we're unable to recognize our partner. So being single becomes a matter of willfulness or stupidity and I believe that's the assumption underneath questions like, "Why isn't s/he settled down yet?" which imply "What's his/her problem?"

The reality is that most people get married while in their 20's (or 30's) because there is such pressure to do so, and they convince themselves that they've found their pre-destined partner when they find someone who meets a certain set of requirements. For the most part these marriages have as much chance of lasting forever happily as any other relationship or romantic partnership, which is to say a slim chance. So the world is full of divorces and unhappy marriages. Doo-dah, doo-dah.

Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t matter to me most days because my mind has been quite completely corrupted by the myth. Because I am single, I imagine I have made some mistake, not focused enough on the goal, or am lacking some essential quality that would have had me in one of those compromised marriages by now.

So really the point of this posting and yesterday’s is to simply tell everyone, most of all mySELF, that I have done nothing wrong and have, in fact, performed admirably in the effort to find a long-lasting relationship. But what it comes down to is the reality that a true, lasting, romantic partnership of equals is rare and cannot be generated on command. All anyone can really do to manifest one is to prepare herself to be receptive to it when it comes. Thanks for the words, Bingo.

1 comment:

Khagesh Gautam said...

Last 2 or 3 paragraphs of this post were the ones that I liked the most. I decided to examine closely whether there is any logic or reason behind the institution of marriage. I recorded my conclusions and decided to publish them recently. While doing some research I came across your blog post.

The above posted link is one of the 5 or 6 posts that I intend to publish on this issue.

I hope you will have enough spare time to go through my blog and share your position with us.