Some Unconventional Thoughts On Marriage

Seems like you can’t log onto Twitter, open a magazine or turn on your tv without someone talking about marriage. People wanna get married, the right people aren’t getting married, too many people don’t stay married – just the tip of the iceberg of the discussions. So it’s a topic that’s been on my mind lately. But I have some views that might be controversial or different.

Marriage has been around since the beginning of time. And for thousands of years, marriage was mutually beneficial contract. Sometimes it was a tool to unite tribes/villages. Sometimes it was a vehicle to transfer wealth (think dowries or bride prices). It always served a purpose – women got financial security; men got domestic security; both parties could procreate in an “approved’ manner & continue to populate the Earth. This wasn’t about “love” or feelings – most people for thousands of years had no say in who they married, whether they were the poorest villager or a member of royalty. Marriage wasn’t about love, it was about securing your future & possibly the future of your family, village, or country.

Over the past 30 years, marriage has changed. We now live in a world where women not only outnumber men in college, but have shrunk the pay gap or exceeded men’s salaries in some industries. Men now know how to cook, clean, do laundry – or can afford to pay someone to do it for them. And the days of the shame of out-of-wedlock kids is long gone. So if you no longer have to get married to have someone to take care of you & have kids, what’s a reason to get married?

Love.

Or you’ve been together for 5 years & figure you should do it since you’ve been together so long.

Or you wanna have a day where people cater to your every demand.

Here’s my theory – marriages don’t work today because people don’t have a reason to stay together. We live in a world ruled by instant gratification & a lack of personal responsibility. If something doesn’t work for you, you get rid of it, whether it’s your fancy new phone..or your spouse. And why not? If you’re a woman with a career, do  you really need a husband? Sure it’s nice to have a ring & be able to say “my husband” every 5 seconds just to piss off the single chicks at work…but you enjoyed a nice lifestyle before the wedding. The men have it just as easy – you can either hire a housekeeper or turn up the charm & convince the 3 chicks you’re sleeping with to clean up your place & do your laundry. And as for the kids, well most of our kids are born into single parent homes, so hey, they’ll just fit in with the rest of the kids at their school if they come from a broken home.

So if you can do just fine by yourself, you don’t actually need the other party to survive or just avoid being shamed…what reason do you have to stay married? The minute it gets to be too much work or get on your nerves or just not being fun anymore, you can jump ship.

I believe marriages need to have more than just emotion or love attached to them. Sure it’s nice to care for the person you vow to spend the rest of your life with, but that’s not enough when it really gets rough. You need something that keeps you there. For some people, it’s their commitment. For others it’s their faith or religious ideology. Most people don’t have that tho, so they need something else to keep them tied to another person.

This is why we need more marriages based on compatibility & mutual benefit. Love is great, but love isn’t gonna help you get along. That’s where the compatibility part comes in. You need someone who you can talk to, communicate with, compromise with. If you gotta fight all the time or you never see eye-to-eye on things….yeah, yall aren’t compatible. But compatibility isn’t enough either, you need both parties to get something out this thing. Marriage should be a symbiotic relationship – both parties rely on each other & benefit, & without each other both would perish.

Most people choose their mate with their emotions instead of looking at things like compatibility & mutual benefit. When you get caught up in the lust, the sex, the butterflies, it’s hard to be objective & really evaluate someone. For many years, marriage were set up by others – family, matchmakers, etc. It even happens informally – how many couples do you know that started from a friend or family member putting two people together?

More people should allow the people who know them best into their decision on who to marry.

More people should choose a mate with their head instead of their heart.

But what do I know? I’m single.

  • I totally agree with you. It’s definitely got to be about more than love (or lust) and it has to be a good head decision. 

    • Cameron Khalfani Herman

      I laughed at “good head decision.” I couldn’t pass that one up lol.

      Jubi, the way you frame Love in the post makes it seem separate and unrelated from these two factors. Was that intentional? I think the compatibility and mutual benefit are often the foundations for love.

      • It’s a post for tomorrow – what love is & isn’t.

  • JGraham

    I can only agree in parts. The issue with modern American marriage is the idea of it being contractual, symbiotic and ultimately selfish. Too many people enter marriage with a “what’s in it for me” mentality; which is understandable bc everything else in our society leads us to be self centered. But marriage was not created by our society, marriage was created by God. And when we attempt to apply a cultural perspective to a divine institution, destruction is inevitable.
    Marriage is about love. But as most would agree, that’s a word used too lightly. As humans we only have one example of what real love is, that’s Jesus. Every other example is tainted by our human, selfish and prideful ways. So if two people “marry”, but are not committed to loving with Christ as the example, it shouldn’t even be called a marriage. It should be a “civil union.” Legally made, contractual expectation and legally broken.

    • I totally get your point, but here’s my thing – you’re looking at marriage from a specific ideology. What about all the people who don’t subscribe to that ideology? What about Jewish marriages, Muslim marriages, Buddhist marriages, Agnostic marriages, etc?

      • As a non-Christian, a marriage built on, around or involving a relationship with Christ might as well be built on sand. There’s no motivation for me there. But whatever gets folks through the night. 

        Given that we’re running 50/50 on marriage success, I suspect faith alone isn’t enough. 

      • JGraham

        That’s the problem. All those other ideologies did not create marriage. In the same token that I’m not Jewish and therefore have no idea the purpose or proper context of a bar mitzvah, without the example from the author what are you modeling yourself after.
        Sadly, to the non-Christian it’s no surprise that basing a marriage off of Christ is like sand. Bc sadly without Christ, your life is like sand. What do you have to hope for? What do you rely on beyond your own strength?
        I’m not looking at marriage from a specific ideology, I’m looking at marriage from its author and origin. When the purpose of something is unknown, abuse is inevitable.
        Oh, and for the record. I am married and a believer in Christ as the key to life.

  • Keurejames

    Julissa …i love you perspectives! Very deep thinking in this one. Thank you for sharing and please…keep em coming!

  • Anonymous

    For a single person, you are making a helluva a lot of sense. I love my husband with all my being, but there was a “head” decision in deciding to date and then marry him. At some point, I won’t be so perky and I will have more gray hair than brown. And once that goes, there has to be something sustainable, something more than just lust.

  • The divorced dude approves

  • Anonymous

    I agree–and while I think some singles talk too much about something they really don’t know about (no shade, but if you haven’t been married you just don’t really know), this here is just common sense. I think where many marriages go wrong is that the parties marry strictly for love, believing that will be enough. It will not be.  Marriage should definitely be a head choice, and not heart choice. Everything that feels good to you ain’t good for you.

  • Pingback: Some Unconventional Thoughts On Love()