Marriage - The Long Term Relationship
courtesy of The Wedding Traveler
What does marriage mean to you?
Let me see.... Where do we start this?...
Let’s start at the beginning.
Growing up, I knew lots of married, unmarried and divorced people. During the heavy learning stages of life as a youngling human in my tweens and teens I had the chance to listen in to grown up converstation surrounding marriage. My parents and most of the aunts and uncles on my mom’s side have been married since forever and are still going strong. Some are in what I would call a healthy relationship, most aren’t.
What do I think of marriage?
I think back to a long time ago. I get romantic...
I start to think of prince’s and princesses, of castles and noble family titles. I think back to the time when kings and queens would invite people from across their lands and other kingdoms to gather at their castle for a grand event. The air would be filled with the festive aromas of food, laughter and goodwill. The festive time when queen mothers would be frantically preparing their princess daughters for thier big day. The time when father kings would be standing proudly with their soon to be king sons, getting them ready to take the torch of leadership of their own kingdoms.
This festive, grand event I am referring to is a wedding, the thing called marriage.
Where did marriage come from? I don’t mean the ceremony, or the actual bond, but I’m talking about the paperwork called marriage. If you’ve been married you know things change like taxes, credit ratings, insurance premiums, even your benefits at work change. There are all kind of forms to fill out, and licenses to apply for. usually this paperwork takes place slowly over the years while you are married and you barely notice the accumulation.
You become very aware of the accumulation at divorce time, or if your spouse dies. There is a mountain of paperwork to sort through. When it comes time to end a marriage nobody cares how you fell out of love, or how you fell in love. They just want to know what kind of paperwork had both of your names on it, and what was owned during the time you were married.
Hang on a second! I thought people got married because they were in love and decided to cement that long term comittment by getting married?
Do you think that marriage means love and commitment? I once thought so too...
I think I was about ten years old when I was asked to be the ring bearer at my aunt’s wedding. This was the first time I got an insider’s look into what getting married was all about. I went to the rehearsals, stood up to give the rings on the little pillow watched as the bride was kissed and people cheered at the sight of the magic that is the union of two souls intertwined in love and devotion.
And as I was expecting the mad dash out the church under the traditional floating canopy of confetti... I saw something strange. What I witnessed is something they don’t show you in movies or TV shows. What I saw is never mentioned in story books or in the dreamy recounting of someone’s wedding.
What I saw was the bride, the groom, the preist and their parents huddled over a small table in a little alcove away from the throng of happy cheering family that were shaking hands, or in tears of happiness.
They were signing papers.
This was something out of my ordinary knowledge of the romantic event called marriage. So I started asking questions, and got some answers. What I saw that day changed my view on marriege, be wise on that day I found out that the court and Law were involved in the holy union of two fabulously loving souls.
The bride and groom I could understand being at the wedding of course, as wellnas the retinue of loved ones. I could even understand why the joining was done in a house of god, by the guy who spreads the word of god. What I couldn’t understand was why the courts were there, part of the wedding via a piece of paper with signatures on it.
I got a lot of answers from people but for that wasn’t good enough. So I dug deep.
I found that at sometime during our past the natural loving union of a couple was interceded by THE MAN. You know the man.... He makes you pay taxes, he tells you how fast you can drive, where you are allowed to build your house etc.
There is a thrid party involved in a marriage and that bothered me. This meant there was someone else who had a say in every marriage.
How did this co.e about? How did the man manage to weasle his way into each person’s wedded bliss? Lets go back to the castles, and the prince’s and princesses.
You see way back in the day, the people who had armies, were the people who owned things... Come to think of it, they owned everything. These people were the kings and queens of the realms. The commanded vast streches of land...and the people on that land. When they wanted more land, they either had to buy it with whatever resources they possesed or they went to war to take it.
There was no such thing as corporations back then so when one family wanted to combine what they had with what another family had, they were stuck if they didn’t want to go to war. The only way they could document a merger between families and their resources was a new invention called marriage.
Marriage became the financial vehicle of choice for massive business mergers in ancient times for the rich. Now because these powerful people made the rules, this vehicle has been carried down through the ages.
In the modern wedding ceremony there’s two things going on.
1. Two people declaring their love and commitment for one another for alm to see.
2. Merging their assets and liabilities.
Now lets move to divorce because really, that when you figure out just what a marriage consists of because during the divorce, everything is torn down piece by piece.
After marriage you are left with a grieving process from a broken heart and broken dreams, and you are also left with a pile of paperwork for the courts and the law to account for what was owned and accumulated before, during and after the marriage.
And there is one person who has the final say on the marriage. Its not the husband, its not the wife, its not the priest. The one who has the final say on your nuptials, is the Judge. You don’t know about this going into a marriage, but you sure find out about it coming out.
This may be ‘just the way things are’ to you... The status quo as it were seeing as how almost every civilized society today has the legal and the love mixed into one.
The legal system is relatively new and it wasn’t built to handle the love nor the financial aspects of marriage very well. All marriage was designed to do was to MERGE two businesses. It wasn’t designed to handle the splitting up of those two businesses.
Look at it this way...
If you have a corporation that wants to grow by merging with another one they call in their lawyers and accountants. They work some numbers and the heads of the corporations strike a deal and a new corporation is made that includes both of the old businesses.
Now, if that same business gets into trouble..say the owners are fighting and arguing, the corporation is dissolved. Which means that shares, assets and liabilities are divided up amongst the shareholders (people who have a stake in the business) this is usually done by a team of accountants. The businesses accountants and then each individuals accountants. The accountants run everything by the lawyers to make sure its legal and then the business is split up.
You see, when you get married and then run into the thing that is referred to as a divorce, the split is handled by lawyers, judges and if you aren’t financially inclined... No accountants or financial experts.
There are far better vehicles to handle the complicated task of splitting assets and liabilities than divorce laws can. This is part of the reason (along with the lawyer fees) why people often say they lost “everything” in the divorce.
If you have ever incorporated a business, you have to allocate shares. During that allocation of shares you speak with the lawyer about the design of the shares and what will happen when partners (if any) wish to leave or be bought out. Those shares are designed to maximize what you get out of the business because you put so much going in.
I wasn’t thrilled when I found out that the courts and the law had a hand in my marriage when I got married, but soon got over it. Its just the way things are. I just lived with the fact that the law was in the bed with me and my wife lol!
I have to come to terms that I will have to face the question of “would I ever get married again?” and I’m sure its going to he asked of me because there are social pressures that expect a couple to marry after a certain amount of time.
But even though the law is involved in the marriage and gets the last say on it, it does have a purpose. During my divorce those same laws helped slow the splitting process down and gave it rules which actually helped me in my situation at the time. Now I think if the law is going to be involved, what kind of role do I want it to play... Because shares and corporate laws don’t protect kids when a split comes. Marriage and divorce laws are the only ones that do.
Back to the castles, kings and queens, I still do hope to meet another princess. And depending on the situation, depends whether or not I will want to “merge” with her, but I have no problem making the comittment or the bond.
I’m not looking for security or social acceptance via a marriage proposal.
How about you?