Marriage - The Long Term Relationship

4H8A7277Creative Commons License 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?

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.

26 Comments:

  • Genieinabottle: I liked your romantic view of marriage involving kings and queens, princes and princesses far better than your pragmatic view of marriage which pretty much takes all the romance out of what is supposed to be a sacred, loving union between two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together. I’m not disputing the facts that, when a marriage doesn’t work out, lawyers become involved and that, when two people marry, they are in effect legally merging their assets. However, I still believe that, without that piece of paper, it is so much easier for two people to walk away from one another, which is why a lot of people are gun shy when it comes to marriage. Yet, if they truly loved one another, they would want to declare to the world exactly how strong their bond is, and the only way to do so which is recognized by society is, unfortunately, by getting married.
  • gummybears: thanks for commenting genie.
    The romance part is always fun to think about. I think it helps to fuel the passion and fire of love. The pragmatic view I put forth, is just a fact of life that many people like to ignore in favour of the romantic dreamy tall tale.
    I think the pragmatic view is often refered to as "the fine print" that nobody wants to read or look at while hopped up on love drugs.
    And even though people do try to cement their bond via a marriage, in front of the world and sign papers, its shown over history that its still hit and miss since people started tracking marriages and divorces. so to me it only serves to validate social pressures and immediate gratification. both of which are not a good foundation for long term planning.
    but I know that some woman is going to come along whom I’m in love with is going to demand/suggest marriage if we date for any great length of time. because "that’s the way things are done".
  • gummybears: oops and I totally agree with you that the pragmatic view completely sucks the romance out of what is supposed to be a sacred loving union!
  • Sigi: I can relate to what you are saying gummy. The world is very different today and I guess romance is not enough. I think that marriage has a practical side to it- you are starting a partnership with someone. hopefully for a life time and it needs to be legally established.
  • *Molly*: Dude.....no wonder you were picking my brain! lol, do I get half credit here? (jk)
  • Johnny Nicks: Gummy
    I think you have hit on something here
    Just remember most of us have been very heavily influenced when we were young by Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, the Little Lame Prince, Robinson Crusoe, Huckleberry Finn, Don Quixote (who is my role model) Peter Pan or Superman..
    I have you down as a Robinson Crusoe ;)
    GIAB - definitely Rapunzel..
    Molly...Mmm. I am not sure she makes a classical Cinders..I am not sure she works that hard? Maybe one of the Ugly Sisters ??!!!.....
  • *Molly*: Hmm, scratchin my noggin here...
  • MissValentine: Your post was very well written :) I really enjoyed reading it! It’s funny that you think of it as nobles. When I think/thought of a marriage it was the poor people in those times :) the peasants who had little to eat and not much to wear. The thing they had were families. The man had to leave the home and work and the woman would stay back and do housework (I’m glad that part changed!) but I always liked to see it in a beautiful light! The men came home to families and smiles, even though they had so much stress. It feels like people have lost that in time.
    Good blog gummy! :)
  • gummybears: Molly gets partial credit for this blog. I totally raked her brain in figuring this blog out!
    now I have to wiki Robinson caruso..... last time I read that was when I was in grade four....
    thanks valentine. I didn’t mention the poor people of that time because the marriage laws were enforced and most of the time decreed by the local lord, not the kings or ruler of the nation. and also because the common folk didn’t own anything. what they owned was in essence was their Lord’s property.... even the chicken and cows and the grain they grew.
  • *Molly*:

    One thing you didn’t ask me GB. “Why STAY married”. This is where I would have pointed out that when a decision to be married is made, it needs to be with the mindset that there is no such thing as divorce. So, before a person says “I do”...they need to realize that magnitude of what this truly means. I think it would greatly cut down on the impulsive marriages. Divorce is the easy way out. And, I’m saving the rest for the next blog contest on the subject, lol.


    Came back to edit this and say, don’t let me offend anyone who has already gotten a divorce. I mean this in the sense of stopping a potential rocky marriage before it starts because in the back of our mind, we know we can get a divorce if things don’t work out. I’m guilty of the same.  ;)

  • Johnny Nicks: He knew the answer..FEAR..
  • *Molly*: ...Explain...more....Nicks...
  • Johnny Nicks: Fear... of isolation, coldness, worthless, unattractive, being unloved, unappreciated, ignored, of suffering and dying alone. Disconnected and meaningless.
  • *Molly*: This is the fear of why someone should stay married? I am totally confused now...
  • gummybears:

    why stay married? I’m sure for some that it comes from not even considering such a thing as divorce. even if this cut down impulsive marriages lets grow a number out say..... 15 percent. I say this number because you know, I meet people more often who are miserable I. their marriage and are staying because they fear being alone more than I meet people in marriages that are happy, healthy and growing as individuals. divorce rate here is 60 percent. add 15 we have 75 percent of couples should have never tied the knot. this tells me that the majority of people out there cannot maintain a lifelong binding arrangemnt. this also telss me that there are very few who can. so back to your question.... why get married? why indeed?

  • *Molly*:

    “this tells me that the majority of people out there cannot maintain a lifelong binding arrangemnt.”


    Can’t?? Or don’t want to??


    Back up one step GB...and look at things from outside the box. My question was why STAY married?...not why GET married. Big difference there too my friend... ;)  I think I need to take you back to the pub.

  • *Molly*: OMG...you just sparked a blog subject. :*0
  • gummybears: ok.... in my head there was no "divorce" option. yet here I am. I was bailed on twice so far. the first time I hang on to an unhealthy state for so long that it became my identity...but still hung on. she ended it. I didn’t.
    second time, the only thing that actually worked to "help" our relationship was for me and my ex to experience the loss, the lonliness, and the separation.
    ok so why stay married?
    really why? I remember the exact time that my marriage was going to end because change wasnt happening. so I spent the next three years doing what I could to help the situation. again, instead of sticking it out, she walked and filed for divorce.
    I met many people through my divorce group were stuck it out in a marriage just because they felt they had to. not because the relationship was enriching or full of love anymore. sit and speak with any of these old married people and scrach the surface and many will admit to the same thing: fear of being alone at that age. the divorcing people in the group this was a hot topic. being alone at an older age. many had no education, many had not held a job in twenty or thirty years. the women spent their time while married raising kids, not going to school or training. they were counting on the man’s retirement.
    fear, fear, fear is why most married people stay married.
    there is nothing as scary as facing the world with no money, no current job training, and no current job options. people jump off buildings because of these things.
  • Johnny Nicks: Gummy. Agree 100%. And I will extrapolate further by saying ‘fear’ is why most people stay in unsatisfactory relationships..and maybe even mildly satisfactory ones?
  • itachi: Reading it, i feel our indian marriages are so simple lol. Most even don’t have a marriage certificate.
  • *Molly*:

    GB....you wound up where you were, because SHE knew there was a such thing as a divorce. People sometimes quit trying....because they know they can fall back on divorce to give some type of peace of mind, so to speak. Not everyone....but most. If you and your ex were stranded on an island somewhere, just the two of you, then I’d be willing to bet that she would have tried a little hard to make the union work between the both of you. I could be wrong here. But it is something to consider ;)

  • Johnny Nicks: I assume she also knew there was such thing as homicide as well, so I suppose you should be grateful Gummy..
  • *Molly*: Ok, if she was on a desert island, but was feeling homicidal because she couldn’t find a compromise in the marriage, then I must backtrack and ask again, why get married? It’s not like some love God tied their feet together like 2 fighting roosters, and told them the best man wins!
  • Johnny Nicks: Molly I like you imagery :)
  • gummybears: Itachi - here matriages without a certificate are calledd common law. basically after six months of cohabitation the decrees that you are common law and subject to the divorce act of Canada. common law marriages make up about 30 percent of the "marriages" in Canada. they have been rising in recent years and have a higher stay together rate than a traditional marriage arrangement.
    this new trend is dispelling the idea that signing papers keeps people together longer.
    as an outsider looking in at Indian marriages, I can see an excessive amount of social and familial pressures on the couple. I know in business if you want to get your way the easiest and most effective way to do that is to use peer pressure to change someones mind about something. Indian marriages here.... do end in divorce. with a higher mortality rate to the women than us whitey marriages. here divorce is not as taboo as it is in India. also, they do t have the whole village, and less family directly watching over the marriage... so divorce rate is higher here for Indian marriages than they are in India.
  • gummybears: desert island?
    that’s an arranged marriage! lol! two people forced to be together....

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