Marriage Doesn’t Matter

marriage doesnt matter 2

Last week I threw out a little underhanded statement about marriage to see if it might spike some controversy or debate. No one mentioned it so far, which I take to mean one of the following – my mom hasn’t read it, no one read it they just liked it on FB,or I’m right and everyone agrees with me. I’ll lean toward the latter, especially since this week I am going to break it down and prove conclusively that marriage really doesn’t matter.

So what does matter? Well, as the word implies, something that is material – not in the sense of being tangible, like a piece of paper, but in the sense of having real impact in the world. So let’s determine if anything regarding marriage matters, by building a handy before and after checklist for some real and not so real life situations between me and my one and only:

SituationReal/Not realBefore MarriageAfter Marriage
In loving and committed relationshipRealcheck_50check_50
Living togetherRealcheck_50check_50
Ready and willing to start a family togetherRealcheck_50check_50
Occasionally engaged in the act of starting a familyRealcheck_50check_50
Partner comfortable engaging in BM with door open2Realcheck_50check_50
Partner holds farts as a courtesyRealx_50x_50
Partner uses emergency credit card to purchase unnecessary trinkets onlineRealcheck_50check_50
Inherit the members of each other's extended familyRealcheck_50check_50
One vagina (and penis) until death do us part3Realx_50x_50
Free to change terms of relationship through conversation at any timeRealcheck_50check_50
Paper document says we are marriedNot realx_50check_50
Fill in "Married" in legal forms and tax filingsNot realx_50check_50

Now, this describes my situation, which I would call ideal. In certain times in history and in certain cultures today, the legal act of marriage could have an impact on some of the real items above. This is what I term “the failure of culture”. This is when adhering to a culture (or, read another way, your cult) restricts you from basic freedoms that every human being possesses – like opting out of Christmas, or choosing to live with your partner before a piece of paper says you are “married”.

Speaking of paper, some may take me to task for saying the legal aspect of marriage isn’t real, that it’s more than just paper – it entails other obligations. Well, it may, but only by your choice to comply with them. I’ll stick to simply honoring my vows, which were also in place before my official marriage. In reality, a marriage certificate is as real as a law or a dollar bill – or, to put it bluntly, not real at all. Anything subject to change by the whims of society is not real – remember Prohibition? Around same time the dollar menu at a theoretical fast food enterprise would get you 20 happy meals. Real forces on the other hand, like Love, or the mutual enjoyment of passing gas, continue to burn bright through eternity.

Marriage, in the culturally unrestrained and pure sense, impacts only things that are machinations of society, as opposed to real situations of lasting significance. By definition, it doesn’t matter.

Am I wrong? Have additions you’d like to add to my grid, of a humorous or serious bent? Leave a comment below and let’s build out this topic together. Productive week ahead!

1 Because marriages and birthdays are the only things people Like on Facebook
2 Bowel Movement
3 This is the ideal and the current plan, but is subject to change as the facts change, as Keynes might say

Tags: Marriage, Weddings, Failure of Culture, Love

2 thoughts on “Marriage Doesn’t Matter

  1. BrownBeltLife

    The wife and I had a pretty spirited discussion about this as you can imagine. I guess the point of the above is, if so many things stay the same after marriage, why go through the legal formalities – esp if the intention is pure and real. The analogy I came up is this – imagine you are on a journey, and during part of the journey you cross a giant rope bridge. If you cut the rope bridge behind you, you are committing to the journey in a much stronger way than if you left the bridge intact. Some may say cutting the bridge is unnecessary if the commitment to the journey is there. And maybe you can still go back, by scaling the rocks the the ravine below, etc. But going back will be a lot more inconvenient, not to mention treacherous.

    1. bluebeltlife Post author

      BrownBeltLife, my superior in all ways (except that you haven’t left finance) – thanks for your comment. I would disagree that marriage is like cutting the bridge in your analogy. The act of commitment is like that. Marriage is more like finding a piece of paper on the side of the road that says “You’re in this together”, and in fine print, “but you can back out any time”. In other words, per my points 9 and 10, exactly the same as before.

      The point of this article actually isn’t to say that no one should get married. Otherwise why did I do it? The legal aspects of marriage do have some impact on life in today’s world – for example in providing certain tax benefits and providing a safety net for the surviving spouse in the case that the main earner dies. Though as we discussed, tax being a law, isn’t real or material, and there are ways to provide the safety net without a paper contract. The point of this article is to balance the exceeding importance most people ascribe to marriage. Ultimately, what is important is that which expands our consciousness, and neither the legal act of marriage nor the state of being legally married do this. For this reason, I spent minimal time and energy planning and executing the whole thing, so that I could get back to things that really do matter, like cooking dinner and writing this article.