Marriage IS Ridiculous

wedding ringsChristie Brinkley said marriage is ridiculous last week when discussing her four failed attempts at it. J.Lo and Marc Anthony had six marriages between them before they called it Splitsville -- five more than most people want. While more people are in failed marriages, or bad ones, and more people fight for the rights for everyone to marry, I can't help but question the value of marriage.

I've never been engaged or married. My parents have been married 40 years and my grandparents almost made it to 60. I love the romantic notion of marriage, but a lot of these unions are anything but romantic. They take work. Lots of work. And even then, when they fail, people think something is wrong with them, that they are the reason it ended. It’s the same with any long-term relationship. Except when we get married, we’re stuck with a bigger mess. And for that reason, I can agree with Brinkley: Marriage is ridiculous.


Okay, not all marriage is ridiculous, but it is ridiculous to think that aspiring to get married is the only way to be in a loving, long-term, relationship ...  guaranteed. And the seriousness with which we make the commitment to be together "'til death do us part" puts a lot of ridiculous pressure on living our lives the way we want to live them.

For starters, it’s still not possible for everyone who wants to get married to get married. Until gay marriage is across the boards legal, the idea that marriage is selected based on the gender of the person you love, that’s ridiculous.

Next, our life expectancy has grown so much that who’s to say that who we are in our 20s is who we want to be in our 40s? We have access to the world through the Internet. We have opportunities to meet more people today than we ever have before. There’s no such thing as too long a distance when we can Skype, chat, and create a kickstarter campaign to support our travel ventures (heck, all we need is to call it performance). We can go anywhere and be with anyone. That wasn't the case even 20 years ago. Back then, we couldn't reconnect with our high school sweetheart via instant messenger, or send random penis pics to a pretty young thing via our 4G network. We didn't know who was available within a five-mile radius for friendship, a relationship, or a one-night stand. But now we do, and now we see the world isn’t as big as we once thought it was.

We’re allowed to change our hair color, our career, even our location, but when it comes to our relationships, marriage is seen as the be all, end all. When it fails, we feel we failed (especially women). When we go to counseling to work our relationships out, we feel like we’re not doing something right. And when we break up, women regret it way more. Isn’t it ridiculous how much emphasis we placed on ourselves based on if we can make our marriage work? 

Here's what I think needs to change in marriage. There needs to be more stringent follow-up methods in place. I strongly believe that we need to have mandatory check-ins to make sure our marriages are in top working order. This needs to happen at least once every four years so that we have a better sense of where we're really at with ourselves and our partners.

Since marriage is a government institution, I think there should be a governmental agency that requires couples to "check in" (in a lot of marriages one or both partners check out more regularly) and provides an optional (and free) place for us to mediate, and evaluate, our needs and our happiness. I propose that it becomes mandatory, upon taking marriage vows, to require these relationship check-ups, in order to remain marriage certified. People have job evaluations all the time; relationship evaluations are just as important. Without re-evaluating our needs, marriage seems ridiculous. 

I'm not against marriage. Heck, I may even do it someday myself. But while marriage is a lovely idea and one worth upholding if two (or three, or four) partners choose to uphold it, it should not be the only type of relationship given serious cred. People stay together even after their partners lie, cheat, and put cigars up their intern's woo-hoos, and that’s all well and good, but deciding to move on is not something to be frowned upon either. Just look at Al and Tipper Gore. After 40 years even they have made amends with the fact that we don’t all travel the same path forever.  

Happily ever after is a lot of work.

What do you think?

Image via cecphotography/Flickr

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