Back in my days as a self-proclaimed online dating expert (aka: the best college job ever), having been in only one serious relationship in my whole life, I was filling the internet with dating advice. I also dabbed in marriage advice, as well. Who better than a 21-year-old college student to fix your marriage?
Many of my post on marriage presented readers with more questions than answers, much like I do on ChapterTK today. By that point, I had come to the realization that spiritual growth one’s relationship with Divinity/The Universe/God/ etc. was and is more important than all the rituals and traditions. When it came to marriage, the important part is the commitment between two lovers and the promise they make. Without that, even the most holy wedding ceremony won’t make that relationship healthy. With that commitment, a relationship can thrive, even without going through the sacrament of marriage.
On November 17, 2011, I wrote a post titled ‘Why Get Married? A Young Woman’s Perspective.‘ In it, I go through all the reasons I hear people tell me they want to get married. They get married as some sort of insurance they’ll relationship will last a lifetime, but we all know marriage doesn’t guarantee that. Some think marriage will change them or their partner for the better, but it doesn’t do that either.
Love can exist without marriage. A couple can have children without marriage. Two people can live their whole lives together, happily committed to their love, without marriage. After going through all this, I wrote down this conclusion.
The only thing marriage gives me that I don’t already have is relief from the condemnation of those who think it’s tragic, trashy or immoral not to be.
Despite those ideas, which I still believe, I very much want to get married. I admit, my family’s ideas about marriage is a motivating factor. I remember when one of my cousins decided she and her boyfriend would never get married. Having both grown up in less than ideal homes, they no longer believed in the sacrament. “How can you believe in God if you don’t believe in marriage?” I remember my father asking.
There are a lot of things we try to make marriage about. Many push God above all else when it comes to marriage. Popular movies would have us believe marriage is all about the bride. Some mothers think it’s an opportunity to relive their wedding day. If you ask me, that’s all misguided. Marriage is about love first. Marriage is about two people, celebrating their love, proclaiming it to the world and committing to spend their lives working hard to keep it alive.
If you’ve read my blog for a long while, you might remember a post about God and Love. At this point, someone out there wants to bite my head off for not putting God first, but the reality is, Divinity is still at the center under a different name: Love.
I believe God is Love. By that, I don’t mean that God loves more than anything. I mean that God is literally Love. They are one in the same. The love we experience in our lives is the literal manifestation of Divinity in our lives. The love we share with our life partner is the greatest love of all. That love, which we would gladly sacrifice ourselves for, is the closest we come to the love of a Divine being who would die for the sake of creation. While we don’t have the capacity to love every human being like that, we can love one with that much intensity. So, when I say the love between the two people getting married should be at the center of a wedding day, it is the same as saying God is at the center.
A few weeks ago, the boyfriend and I watched ‘Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend‘ on Netflix. I won’t spoil anything for you, but let me say this. That stand-up comedy skit basically describes how I view marriage. It’s not about belief in one religion or another. It’s not about some insurance plan to guarantee the relationship will work out. Marriage and love is about belief in each other. It’s about celebrating the love two people share and committing to keeping that alive.
Do you believe in marriage? What is marriage about to you? Would you ever consider eloping? Why do you think we have all these stereotypes about marriage, such as the wedding being all about the bride or sex disappearing after the ceremony? Have you seen My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend? Is it not hilarious?