Is Marriage Bullshit?

What is marriage?

I realize what a loaded question this is.  And on this, my third wedding anniversary, I coincidentally happened on a Penn and Teller: Bullshit episode on “Family Values.”  If you’re not familiar with Bullshit, it was a popular Showtime program running from 2003 to 2010, aimed at debunking pseudoscientific ideas, popular beliefs, and misconceptions.  Penn and Teller host the show, typically take an abrasively libertarian point of view, and there are usually people interviewed for the show from both sides of a given topic.

In the “Family Values” episode, the idea/institute of marriage comes under fire as impractical, restrictive and, according to one arguably misogynistic radio personality, entrapping to men, as he remarks, “[We] are paying for use of a vagina.”

One professor of History and Family Studies claims, “There is no such thing as a traditional family… the idea one man one woman, nuclear family […] that’s a pretty rare family form in history.”

Also mentioned is the fact that marriage historically was rarely about romantic love, but rather protecting family interests and assets.  Arranged marriages were common, as was the existence of lovers other than one’s spouse.

While it can (and has) been pointed out that Bullshit is usually fairly one-sided, with Penn voicing over interviews rather than allowing for actual back and forth debate with said interviewees, I found enough valid points to sort of dishearten me with the idea that romantic marriage is a fairly new (and often unsuccessful) endeavor.

I’ve always considered myself a romantic at heart, and although I try to be pragmatic, I want to believe in love.  That’s not to say that I think there is only one soul mate out there for any given person.  Were that the case, given the size of the world and the number of people in it, it would be highly improbable that so-called “true” soul mates would find one another in their lifetime.  Still, if you can find even one person you can trust, confide in, lean on, have fun with, and love, you are a lucky person.

So, considering my cognitively conflicting ideas of pragmatism and romance, I thought it over…very briefly…and decided to rephrase the question to myself.

What is marriage…to me?

In short, it doesn’t matter what the statistics say, what marriage has  historically meant, what other couples are doing, what “biology” says, or even what religions say about marriage.  At least not to me.  The only thing that matters to me are the values I’ve internalized, the values my husband and I agreed upon when we discussed what marriage meant to us, and what we want out of our relationship.  In my husband I have a friend and someone who knows my heart (and my body) well.  And hopefully we can pass along our values and ideas of love on to our daughter.

So…Nya!

Pffffttttttthhhh!

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The Sleeping Flame (verse)

felt pen stippling © alienredqueen

The Sleeping Flame      5/28/12

You came to me in my dreams last night.

You were just as beautiful as I remember.

I went to your arms with desire in my heart

and doubt in my mind.

But you were diminished somehow,

and your words held no sway.

I was bound by promise to another.

You all come to me in my dreams

To waken dormant parts of me,

sleeping memories,

To tease me with false currents of flame,

and muddy the waters of my heart.

poem (orig. ~2004/edited 2012)

Bride of Chaos

 

You spoke of inspiration

Art, divinity-

And the tingling you planted

in my brain stem has

been spreading since that moment.

Spindling fingers scaling

the base of my skull

teasing my desire

throwing my equilibrium

I’m feeling stupid like

A school girl

Giddy

I’m feeling terrified like a child-

Of your intensity

and darkness, because you’ve ignited something

in me, and I can’t stop

Like a cat wanting to be murdered

by my curiosity

Time in a Bottle

(The story of a young couple trying to cope with the girl’s terminal illness)

I spark the bowl and inhale deeply, careful to leave some fresh green for her to burn. She likes that, and any good pothead knows that this is proper etiquette when sharing a bowl. She’s not in too much pain today, but smoking has become a habit now. Actually sort of a ritual, our ritual. I can’t actually share her physical pain, but I can share everything else with her, including the self-medication. One bowl in the morning when she wakes up, two if she’s in a lot of pain. One mid-morning. One before lunch. A bowl mid-afternoon, one mid-evening, one before bed. And in between whenever else she needs or wants one. Whatever she needs, whenever. Continue reading