Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The ties that bind... and gag

There's been a rash of weddings around here. My mom has been to three, my sister one - all within the last couple of months.

I was married once. I was 25, the boy was 22, and it was an unequivocal disaster. My upbringing was Roman Catholic and strict. I had attended only single-sex convent schools. I suppose something of the conditioning got through to me because I never fooled around. This guy was my first boyfriend, first lover. I was supposed to marry him, although I think that in my heart I knew I was making a mistake.

When I'm asked my marital status I always say I'm happily divorced, and that's the truth. So, would I marry again? I don't rule it out, but I'm, ahem, middle-aged now, so I don't have the time for an experimental marriage, or a rotten one.

People marry for love, but love alone won't cut it. I'm old enough to know that now.

People marry to raise a family. I've already raised mine, thank you.

People marry for financial security. I'm capable of providing for myself adequately.

People marry for companionship. I really like my own company so I couldn't marry for that reason alone.

People marry for sex. Ha. I know married couples who aren't getting much... And I believe in the updated adage about the cow and the milk: Why buy a whole pig just to get a little sausage? (Vulgar but true.)

People marry to conform to other people's, and society's, expectations. I was never much of a conformist to begin with, and as the years pass I'm even less so.

So where does that leave me? Happily divorced. Happily (most of the time) single. Thankful that I'm not one of those many, many unhappily married, 'fronting' people, putting on a pretend smile in public. And truly admiring of those few couples I know who actually got it right.


Pacha said...

I like being married. But that doesn't mean that I haven't come close to contemplate divorce a number of times too. I am still married but I can't rule out that I may not always be.

Thats alright 'cause I'm not married because I am afraid of being alone. Far from it.

But marriage is a hard hard hard slog. Like you say love alone doesn't mean it will be alright. I see marriage as a way of saying: OK we are prepared to work hard at this and make compromises and try to have a good time without being afraid of change and a good fight every now and then. And maybe remember to have sex every now and then. Because that would be nice too ;)

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant!!

Sometimes people are happy in spite of marriage. Marriage is a type of happiness that involves some misery maybe. It's hard to say what marriage is exactly but it seems to be a state of stability that some people need, or think they need.

kim said...

My sister and I talk about this all the time (when we are on the phone husband bashing) and we both agree, NEVER AGAIN!!!!!

Never say never, but I doubt it.

Oh, I'm cracking myself up, but it's true. Love my husband -- I suppose it's the love which keeps me from doing prison time for killing him.

It seriously shouldn't be this hard, and yet -- it's not so bad that we should throw in the towel -- we have a pretty cool family going here and most days I am grateful and committed.

I don't think I will get divorced, but if I do, next time?


And that's all I'm sayin.

kim said...

btw-- with the thought of "what you focus on expands" -- My resolution is less husband bashing this year. Dark humor is a coping skill, but I'm working toward a better frame of mind.

Think I'll last?

Debs said...

You sound perfectly happy as you are. After my divorce I was sure I would never get married again simply because I couldn't stand the thought of being so miserable a second time. I thoroughly enjoyed being single but met up with someone I'd know when I was much younger and surprised everyone not least myself when I ended up marrying him.

Hoodie said...

I think that whatever makes one happy, as long as it is legal and doesn't harm others, is perfectly legit.

I will say that I think the expectations placed on marriage are seriously lacking in our society. People go into relationships thinking, "What have you done for me lately?" If we all said, "What have I done for you lately?" most relationships that fail wouldn't. Of course, both parties have to have this attitude. Marriage isn't 50/50. It's 100/100.

I'd be devastated without my husband.

But again, no judgement on my part. To each their own.

The Anti-Wife said...

"Thankful that I'm not one of those many, many unhappily married, 'fronting' people, putting on a pretend smile in public."


wordtryst said...

Pacha, it is hard work, and when the two people are working at it, it must be truly worth it.

akalol, you're right re "Sometimes people are happy in spite of marriage." And others are happy with their marriage. I think most people would love to have a great marriage, but those of us who have been burnt are leery of the institution.

Kim, you and your sister sound exactly like my sister and me. My sister says NEVER AGAIN, whereas I say, WELL, YOU NEVER KNOW. As for the prison time, I know LOTS of women who understand exactly whereof you speak. Steadman? STEADMAN? ROTFLMAO!!! As for the resolution, I think it's a great one. I should do the same myself. Wouldn't want to become too cynical, after all. I'm still a romantic at heart.

Debs, welcome to the blog. I love your shed! I do admire people with good marriages, and I understand what you mean by not wanting to be that miserable a second time.

Hoodie, you've put your finger on the crux there. If both partners applied the 100/100 formula then many more marriages would survive.

Anti-wife, amen again. I honestly could never do the pretend thing.

KeVin K. said...

Married 26 years.
It ain't for sissies.
But it's worth it.

wordtryst said...

Kevin, you seem to me like one of those who got it right.