Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What is it to you if I'm married?

In the early days of realizing my marriage was over, I'd say to friends, "This is it. I'm not getting married again." I'd get responses like, "Don't say that," and "Don't give up on marriage." People would genuinely try to convince me that I should keep an open mind about getting married again. These people were usually married.

Why would they react that way? What is it to them how I feel about marriage? Is there some critical mass of people that have to believe in marriage for it to exist? Do my doubts about the institution threaten their marriages?

From my never-married and divorced friends I didn't tend to get such responses. They were more taciturn. Maybe they figured I was just blowing off steam. Maybe they also had doubts about marriage and saw my statement as reasonable.

But what is it that makes someone react with such concern when a divorcing person says she doesn't want to get married again? Is it purely ideological? Or do they hear my statement as a sign of discouragement and they want to stop me from sliding into depression? Or is it just a knee-jerk pep talk?



Jessica Young said...

As a married person, I got married because I believe in the practice/institution, and I found someone I can do life with. When people say they aren't getting married again, I sometimes hear this as less a comment about the fact that their marriage didn't work, and more a comment on marriage as an institution: marriage doesn't work, not their marriage didn't work. I believe in marriage; I like marriage. I won't say to you, "Don't give up on marriage," but I do wonder: do you have a problem with the concept of marriage, or are you just not the marrying kind? One is quite different from the other.

Regina Rodriguez-Martin said...

Jess, thank you very much for this response. This makes a lot of sense. Maybe I'll start clarifying: "I just don't think I'm the marrying kind." That actually is how I feel about it. Similarly to how I feel about religion, I don't think marriage is inherently bad for everyone. It just doesn't work for all of us. I won't try to predict the future, but today I'm certainly not feeling a desire to try marriage again.