If you follow the news, and you’re into social issues, then you’re probably aware that there’s recently been a great deal going on across the country regarding gay rights.
If you don’t follow the news, or you’re unaware that a lot has been happening on the equality front, then don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s taken me 22 years to take any interest whatsoever into putting forth even the slightest effort to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world, and even now, I find it difficult to choose news articles and updates over Workaholics reruns or interviews with Jack Antonoff. Nonetheless, it has been happening. Big moves in the direction of equality.
I’ll catch you up.
First off, the Supreme Court is set to make a final decision of legalizing gay marriage later this year.
What’s already going down though is pretty huge. Yesterday, the first same-sex couple in Texas got married. No, gay marriage was not legalized in the state, but the couple was granted special permission because one of the women has severe health issues that could prevent her from waiting until courts rule on the subject. And of course, last week gay couples in Alabama were at least supposed to be able to tie the knot. Sure, there was some resistance in certain areas of the state, but either way you look at it, the marriage issue is being brought more and more to the forefront.
All this news about marriage equality has gotten me thinking about marriage in general. For the record, I have very unique, strange, liberal views on the subject. There are a ton of mitigating circumstances that contribute to my views, but to be honest, I’m just not that into the whole thing.
This is not to say I don’t believe in love. I love love.
That’s obviously a joke, but I am an undeniable hopeless romantic.
This is not to say I don’t want to be in a long lasting relationship, or that I do not want to spend my life with someone, or that I do not want a family. I truly do want all those things.
I hesitate to even discuss my views on marriage because I know most people will disagree, but I just want to open up this conversation.
My issue with the governmental institution of marriage is that it’s become incredibly trivialized in the eyes of those Americans who have always had that right. That’s why I brought up gay marriage to start, because I don’t really worry that my aversion to marriage will offend straight people, but it does seem sort of inconsiderate of me not to want to get married when someone else has fought for years just to have the right to do so. Don’t mistake this for me saying all gay people appreciate marriage more. I don’t know that. Statistics do show that approximately 1% of same-sex couples in a government ordained union get divorced each year, while 2% of straight couples get divorced each year.
I am willing to say that I think marriage has been completely devalued in our nation. 50% of marriages eventually end in divorce. There are countless television shows dedicated to watching marriages crumble. Divorce, which used to be a social taboo, has become the norm. Maybe I’m wrong, but it feels very apparent that overall, we think pretty lightly about marriage. We don’t view it as a lifelong commitment anymore.
Somehow, we’re still pressing our boyfriends for engagement rings. We’re still having big, beautiful weddings, and registering for extravagant kitchen appliances we’ll never use.
I just don’t understand it. Why do we have such a devalued appreciation of marriage? Why are we so willing to give up on what was once such a grand commitment?
I can’t answer these questions. I can only bring up a few points of conversation and thought that I think might keep us from hastily making decisions to commit to someone that we will eventually regret.
Marriage should not be a safety net to keep you from feeling directionless at a point of crossroads in your life.
Marriage should not be a box to check off on a to do list you made as a plan for your life when you were 13 years old.
Marriage should not be a snap decision, but it should not be painfully difficult to decide you do want to marry someone.
Marriage should not be a next step because you’re all out steps.
Marriage should not be a form of protection for you or your possessions.
Marriage should not be that thing you do “because it’s right” if it’s not right for you.
Marriage should not be thought of as an object to be obtained, a trophy, or a badge of honor.
I very greatly admire Jack Antonoff and Lena Dunham’s relationship. They are relatively well known for being life partners, deeply committed to one another, but with no clear intent to get married. I think they are incredibly evolved in their way of thinking and I think their type of relationship is certainly one to aspire toward.
I will leave you with this regarding the two. In a recent interview, Jack showed an obvious interest in the interviewer’s relationship with his wife. In return, the interviewer asked Jack if he was interested in marriage obviously trying to get some sort of scoop. Jack responded that he was interested in long lasting relationships and how they evolved and progressed. He also opted for the phrase “in a marriage” rather than referring to a couple as “married.” Take what you will from Jack’s interview, but if you ask me, they’re onto something right.
Let me hear what you guys think. Do you believe our society no longer views marriage with the level of reverence and commitment it once held? Are you in a long lasting relationship that works for you? Tell me why. What do you gather as the significance of what Jack Antonoff said in his interview? Tell me all your thoughts in the comments below.