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Why I am against marriage January 29, 2012

Posted by ethlite in Uncategorized.

Contrary to popular belief, marriage is neither a natural nor inevitable conclusion to a monogamous relationship. It’s a Christian institution that was popularized via Western conquest of the world, before which monogamous marriage as we know it did not exist in any other human culture. It is as intrinsic to the human experience as male circumcision, both of which are Judeo-Christian gifts to the world, bequeathed as part of their subjugation of the local population.

If something is not intrinsic, but rather a human construct, then it should bear examination on its merits. Supporting something just because it’s customary is not a good idea, otherwise we’d all be in support of foot binding and arranged marriages. Having gone through divorce twice against my wishes, I have every incentive to think deeply and honestly about what exactly marriage is and isn’t.

So let’s take a closer look. First, why do people get married in the first place? Most would say it’s a commitment to staying together, until death do them apart. But isn’t it also common sense to say that two people who want to be in a committed monogamous relationship can do so without marriage? Furthermore, most people would agree that no marriage should survive if one or both people are no longer happy together.

In other words, marriage is superfluous to whether or not two people will stay together in a committed monogamous relationship. It’s superfluous in the same way that God is superfluous for understanding how the planets go around the sun – ” Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là”You can choose to believe in God if you wish, but it makes no difference to the outcome.

Second, and my more serious objection to marriage is how it ends. When couples decide to go their separate ways, the only difference marriage makes is that it forcefully involves the government into what should be the most personal and private area of your life. It gives the state the power to delve deep into every corner of your life. In particular, the state has the power to interrogate your children about your relationship with them and decide exactly how many hours you are allowed to see them. Anyone who has kids can tell you just how unimaginably harrowing that is.

I’ve been called a cynic for my stance on marriage. I am not a cynic. A cynic is someone picks apart other people’s beliefs without any of their own. I have strong beliefs about relationships, which I will state clearly here. I believe that people should be free to pursue happiness without government intervention, especially in personal relationships. I believe that true love, connection and commitment can and should exist without marriage. Instead of focusing on marriage, I’d rather focus on building a relationship that doesn’t need external validation. I think that’s a far more honest and romantic position to take than the conventional ideal, which basically amounts to “get married and stay married”.

No, I am not a cynic. Nor am I a dolt, which is someone who makes major commitments like marriage without figuring out for themselves exactly what it is they are committing to. Socrates said  “unexamined life is not worth living”, I’d like to add that “unexamined beliefs are not worth having”.