by Katina Hubbard
I’m basically obsessed with marriage, probably because of my parents’ divorce and my Disney-princess ideas about love. I was proposed to about 5 times before I turned 25. I was engaged once, and felt how heavy a lifetime felt. My ideas about marriage have evolved since then, even to the point where I’m okay if I don’t get married or have kids. My life is about me and my purpose, and if I can’t fit statistically prevalent life events into it, I can still have a fulfilling, prosperous, and meaningful life.
In the meantime, however, if you catch me aimlessly surfing the internet, give me approximately 4 minutes and I’ll be looking at photos or videos of someone else’s wedding. Just ask my boyfriend, who is so wonderful he will actually humor me once in a while and watch along, making semi-interested comments about the choice of groomsmen’s shoes.
There are whole industries that run on our obsessions with marriage and “happy endings.” However, the purpose, significance, and practice of marriage is something you have to track down and decipher amidst religious jargon and headlines for “How to Prevent Him from Cheating.”
Can someone give me a modern, universal definition of marriage?
I found great irony in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. If you recall, the G.O.P. went on and on and on about the sanctity of marriage, and about “preserving” our country’s values by preventing gay marriage. Meanwhile, 50% of all heterosexual marriages were ending in divorce (not to mention our own private surveys of the quality of sex life, amount of joy, and love in the marriages that are still intact).
So when I found this video of Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi’s marriage, I found it particularly meaningful. Homosexual couples didn’t have the option to be married, so they, as a demographic, thought long and hard about what it meant and why they want to. No one is demanding they get married to live together, to have children, or to be socially accepted. Marriage instead means something specific and special to them on their life path.
For now, I’ve decided that marriage is about a commitment to growth. I’m looking for someone who inspires me, encourages me, and loves me. I do know that we as humans need one another, but that if I’m not empowered and fulfilled on my own, I won’t have much to offer anyone else.