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But what about marriage? - Ed's journal
But what about marriage?
I rambled a while back, about "You're doing it all wrong".
Got a few comments, and there were many interesting and insightful viewpoints.

One I picked up with speaking to someone in person - they asked 'so where does marriage fit in'? Well, approximately anyway, I'm probably paraphrasing a bit. Bottom line, I was putting forth the notion that established religion was essentially defunct, and distorting any spirituality that's there.

So I had to stop and think, about an answer.

I think it's this - nothing changes. The fundamental point of a marriage, is a promise to another person. Everything else is set dressing. Oh the symbols involved have meaning, and serve as reminders. A wedding itself is held before friends, family and a priest because you want to share with the world your promise. And it's got the undertone that whilst they can't stop you breaking your promise, people will know.

Religion may be the context for you making such a vow, but it doesn't change the underlying principle - if you can't make that promise and keep to it, you shouldn't be getting married.

The world is increasingly tolerant of relationships. We've got to a point where civil partnerships are recognised. Couples can be couples, cohabit, raise a family without any real consequence. Birth control is easily available, and disease is rare.

And it's in such a world, where the marriage vow takes even more weight - you don't have to get married to get nooky. You don't have to get married because 'someone' got pregnant. You don't have to get married to cement a trade deal, or diplomatic relations with a neighbour. You don't get married because 'people will talk' if you share a house.

You get married, because you're ready to make that promise, without pressure to do so. To say to the world that you want to be with that person for the rest of your life.
That's where the real beauty is. That's where the spiritual connection and religion is. Two people making a vow to each other, not because they have to, but because they want to.

And this to me, is another place where organised religion is 'doing it all wrong'. By making a wedding an obligation or a prerequisite. By saying 'you can't have sex before you're married' or 'you can't share a house with the person you love without getting married', or just general expectation that 'you should be married by now'.

In coercing that promise, we devalue it. A vow freely given and freely accepted is where the true beauty lies.
7 comments or Leave a comment
mrph From: mrph Date: October 21st, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well written. Not entirely sure I agree with a couple of the points you raise in the penultimate paragraph - will think on this a little and see if I can explain why - but other than that, I think I agree pretty much entirely...

If you're religious, there's also the element that it's a declaration before (to?) your god, which should be more important than the public element (and, in some views, more important than the commitment to your spouse...). That even when two people feel that's it's a lost cause and want to go their separate ways, there's something else there that should keep them together - and, if you believe such things, should also help them fix it.
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: October 21st, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Religion's greatest sin is not being wrong; it is claiming concepts for itself and then fucking them up.
xarrion From: xarrion Date: October 21st, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Isn't that Microsoft?

Edited at 2008-10-21 10:51 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
ash1977law From: ash1977law Date: October 22nd, 2008 10:53 am (UTC) (Link)
... but we *know* he's Satan.
ree_ From: ree_ Date: October 21st, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
And your last sentence has just given me inspiration for my sister's wedding reading she wants me to do.

elrohana From: elrohana Date: October 22nd, 2008 07:51 am (UTC) (Link)
And this is part oif why I am 43, have been a serial monogamist, and yet am still unmarried. Current relationship with Beloved has already last 8 years and we've no plans of stopping any time soon. But marriage? Has no religious meaning for me, and I don't see any material reasons for doing it. If I did, it would truly be because I had finally decided I plan to die in that person's arms, so to speak.
From: shortcipher Date: October 22nd, 2008 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Hear hear.
7 comments or Leave a comment