Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wherefore marriage?

Back when I was writing all sorts of prop-8 related posts, somebody asked me to write about what I think the purpose of marriage is in the first place. No doubt that person (assuming you're still out there) probably thought that I either forgot all about it or was deliberately avoiding the question. Truth is, I was thinking about it, and I didn't want to write on it until I felt like I was ready. In all honesty, I still don't feel completely ready, but since my wife has been out of town all week, I've had the subject on my mind. Oh, and recent events in Iowa also brought the issue to my mind.

I guess one of the reasons why I put off writing on this is because I can only write about what marriage means to me. And the one thing that I really want to avoid is making it sound like what it means to me should be the same for everybody. So, if I start to sound like I'm defining marriage for everyone, please realize that's not my intent, as I can only answer for myself.

This May, I will have been married for seven years. I was living with my wife for a few years before that, and I had been in a relationship with her for a few more years before we moved in together. Obviously, moving in together created a different dynamic. However, I had heard it said that when you live together and then get married, things will be different. Honestly, I don't remember who the hell ever said that, but for some reason it sticks in my mind. Did things change? Not really, as far as I can tell. I didn't suddenly feel like some new rules were thrust upon me. It's not like before I felt like cheating on her was an option but once we got married that went completely out the window. I honestly don't feel any more committed now than I was before.

There was a bit of trepidation on my part about getting married. It wasn't severe though, as it didn't actually bring me to the point of reconsidering the idea of getting married. It was more of a nervous thought that would come to mind. The reason why is that around the time I got married, my parents got a divorce and my sister divorced her first husband. My other sister had been divorced not too long before that. So, my family track record wasn't exactly great in that regard. I'd be lying if I said that didn't spring to mind. Still, I've often been an exception to the rule, and I don't like to make decisions based on what other people have done. I have to do what's right for me.

But why did I want to do it? I'm not really a person who's big into symbols and ceremony. I'm also not a fan of doing things simply because they're traditional. Why go through the whole thing then? I was perfectly happy with my wife before the ceremony, so what's the point?

This is going to sound bad, but bear with me here. A big reason is that I got married because that's what Kirsti wanted. Okay, that sounds awful. It sounds like I was somehow coerced into doing it, or just as bad, I did it just to pacify her or something. That's not what I mean. What I mean is that I love her, and it was important to her, and she's worth it. So, her wanting to do it made me want to do it.

Does this mean that I didn't have any desire of my own to get married? Of course not. I wanted it too, but I probably would have gone a longer time before getting around to making it happen if it wasn't for Kirsti wanting it as much as she did. I always pictured myself as a married man some day. Why? I don't know. I guess that I'm just the kind of guy who wants to be with one woman for the rest of his life. The thought of growing old with somebody always appealed to me. I guess it just makes sense with the type of person that I am, as I value long-lasting, deeper relationships than brief and superficial ones.

The third reason is that the wedding was a celebration of our love for each other - as corny as that sounds. It was a chance for all of our friends and relatives to be there with us and be a part of what we've built together.

There are no doubt other reasons that aren't occuring to me right now, but what does marriage mean to me then? For me, it's having somebody to be there for you so you don't have to go through this life all alone. My wife is my friend, and I feel good when she's around. I hope to have a family some day, and I can't think of anybody else with whom to have one. My marriage is a promise to be there for her when she needs me. Also, my marriage is a "thank you" to her for being able to put up with me and all my issues.

The bottom line is though that she's been on vacation for more than a week, and I haven't felt normal since she's been gone. Notice that I haven't written any blogs since then? Dammit, I just don't feel like I'm functioning properly.

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