An Ode to Marriage

If you run in certain circles, or more aptly, read in certain circles, it’s possible that the idea of getting married is quaint, patriarchal, and totally an optional lifestyle choice. And in these modern times, it probably is.

You may also infer that it is essentially unnecessary.

Fortunately, a fair number of us are married and a fair number of those who are not are giving it serious thought. As a lifelong member of the club, as far as such things go, I will hereby prosthelytize the benefits of staring at the same face for many years to come.

First, and most important, it’s good for your health, men especially. That should not surprise anyone. For all our bluster and occasional strutting, men don’t do particularly well on their own. It’s not that we can’t, but… you know. Some will be offended by that last aside, but honestly, what’s the point of strutting and bluster if you’re by yourself?

Secondly, most of us are conditioned from a young age to desire marriage and find it’s not so bad. Constructively, it requires organization, communication, and the recognition that we can do more together than on our own, which are good things. Destructively, marriage requires organization, communication, etc. As we’ve also been conditioned to think of ourselves first, we often look at any partnership as to whether is it good for me, but that’s a canard of the first order, and no, that’s not some goofy Star Wars reference.

The idea that everything I do should make me happy or fulfilled, is pap promulgated by self-help film-flamists to increase sales. As the wags point out: if self-help books worked, there’d be no more self-help books! The whole point of life is to learn to surmount being kicked in the shins and survive it with a modicum of personal dignity. Having someone there to put their arm around you and admit that you’re not so bad, is far better than booze, dope, or any other dopamine secreting addiction.

Now, obviously, not all marriages are good. Violence, abuse, and misery abound, sadly, for too many, but given that unmarried couples suffer from the same, it’s more indicting of our social norms than the institution itself. As it is no longer required for those who can’t keep their hands off one another, or more infamously, as a means to force people, read women, into it without consent, it can be a place where two people come together to form a more perfect union.

Where am I going with this?

Oh, yeah. Why is marriage a good thing. It’s a good thing to be there for someone you love and have them be there for you. Also, we are all better off combining our talents than we are individually. Sure, there are some who seem wholly functional on their own, but they’re a statistical anomaly. I like saying that because I know it’ll piss them off.

Then there is the not so unimportant act of appreciation. For instance, if you are a good cook, it’s nice to cook for someone who appreciates that you’re a good cook. If you are handy, it’s nice to be appreciated when you snake a clogged toilet or install that light fixture you secretly think looks terrible.

Fortunately, such things are subjective and you may, in fact, come to one day appreciate it.

And lastly, it’s good because when you act like a moron, it’s best to hear it from someone who loves you. And to those who have been together forever who are not “officially” married: you aren’t fooling anyone.

©2019 David William Pearce

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