Why Marriage Ain’t My Goal…

 

Many times I talk, tweet, post statues about the issues I have with marriage, but I have yet to put it in a collected thought, so here is goes.

First, let me start by stating that I think marriage can be and is for many a beautiful thing!  It’s always wonderful when folks can come together to share life with one another. However, I think my biggest hangup with marriage is the fact we esteem it so high above all other types of relationships.  It becomes a means to obtain success! How many times have we seen and heard the formula for success in this country? It goes as follows: high school, college, get a good job, get married, have two and a half kids, a dog, and a white picket fence. Ain’t that somebody’s dream?

This whole idea that one is not successful unless married is particularly devastating for women.  Consider how many women in our culture we do not deem successful because they are not married.  How many stories have we heard of women putting their lives on hold to get married?  Men simply do not share the same consequences. In fact, single successful men are many times seen as hot commodities and ones to be sought after. But patriarchy has convinced many that women are not valuable humans unless connected (in marriage) with another man.

Now, this brings up many other issues. Not only do I think marriage is not for everybody, but clearly everybody does not have access to it. There is certainly a movement of states affirming the rights of queer folks to marry, but the work is far from complete. But if we want to hold marriage as a marker of success, then all folks should have access to it.  If marriage must be esteemed higher above all other types of relationships then marriage must be extended to queer folks. Queer folks have been in long-lasting, loving relationships and have yet to receive the same benefits as folks who are married.

So to my conservative and overly religious friends who want deny marriage to queer folks, blue folks, and square folks I contend that marriage should never have been a state-sanctioned, so-called institution to begin with.  But if you must have it state-sanctioned, then you must allow all citizens of this country to participate in it.  If not, then you must give those privileges that come with marriage up!  It should just be a religious or secular ceremony that comes with no extra state-recognized privileges.  You cannot have your cake and eat it too! So choose ye this day whom you will serve!

Again, marriage can be a beautiful thing! But it is not better or worse than other types of relationships! In fact, the stats don’t lie! If 50% of marriages end in divorce and more people than ever are choosing not to marry, then our perception of it may be terribly wrong! If 50% of those marriages end and less and less people are getting married, then why not extend those privileges that come with it to our queer sisters and brothers?

Finally, folks mostly ask if I will ever marry. And my answer is simple. Marriage is not my goal. I’m not sure if it has ever been a goal of mine.  If I marry, then great. If I don’t marry then great. If I get into a long-term, loving relationship that last the rest of my life but doesn’t turn into marriage, then great. Marriage may be a determining factor of success to you, but I think we all need to learn the difference between success and greatness.

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4 comments

  1. Shane Thomas · February 24, 2013

    To reaffirm your initial point about marriage being seen as the ideal state of being in a relationship, in one of his stand-up routines, Ricky Gervais once spoke about a news story that said he was set to buy a new house with his spouse. It said that Gervais has finally decided to “settle down”, to which Gervais commented, “I’ve been with her 20+ years. That’s SETTLED enough, isn’t it?”

  2. Peace dear brotha, I respect your point of view, good points that you covered from the perspective you bring, but you stated success, well that would mean many different things to many different people considering the environment and understanding of principles in which they were raised on. Now coming from a very religious moving to be spiritual perspective, I will admit my view has a influence (in all actuality all our views are influenced). Now can also be that a man is not deemed or considered a man until he takes a woman in marriage or display that he is mature enough to maintain a stable relationship with a woman. Why is marriage considered the highest form of a relationship? Simple, you made an oath before a higher power that this is the relationship that I am committing my ALL to and in. You sign a contract (just like with anything else in this world cell phone agreements, leases, etc) Showing that you intentions and efforts are to fill what you have agreed to build upon together. This by far makes this form of a relationship in a higher regard than two people who “like” each other and decide to be together, there’s no bind or commitment (legally) Do these types of relationship work yes, but with a marriage there’s accountability, a structured accountability, tangible beyond the lets just move in together. Throughout history even before a marriage was recognized by laws, people still performed such agreement before people in the community or loved ones, thus ensuring the validity of the marriage (so theres a long history)

  3. Any ways, my opinion a man is not successful until he is married (coming from the belief marriage is the only recognized relationship) so that same stigma applies to men and women pending the environment. Now the USA is known as a “Judo-Christian” country, which means throughout the constitution and foundation of this country it was built on religious principles….in that entails religion. Now everybody has their own meaning as to what the Bible says, but one things for sure marriage is a relationship associated with religion in which scripture has certain rules and lifestyle that God deemed appropriate. So to say that people are being limited from enjoying a relationship because its not recognized as “marriage” is really null and void taken that you said you can be successful without having to be married so why cant people who participate in homosexual relationships see that too? or do they want the tax breaks and perks that come with being married? When its known that the foundation of the Nation has its roots in Christianity? Since many have agreed that marriage according to their understanding of scripture, doesn’t permit the union between a man and woman. Unless you want to do a complete separation of Church and state thats the only way that it will work, although many may say church and state are separated but still politicians swear on a “Holy” Text to uphold those principles….

    Great post into how you feel…..

  4. kay · July 6, 2013

    I agree with @muslimsluvjesus. Very valid point of view and i think if it were a national debate his points would remind us why people marry and why “queers” are making themselves look foolish on something that was based on religious views. Love this point;
    “So to say that people are being limited from enjoying a relationship because its not recognized as “marriage” is really null and void taken that you said you can be successful without having to be married so why cant people who participate in homosexual relationships see that too?”

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