I've never had a whole lot of repsect for marriage as an institution. I do think that both parents should be actively involved in the lives of their kids, and that parents' problems shouldn't become a wedge between one parent and a child, but I know of way too many people whose lives were made worse by treating marriage as a status marker in keeping with the rest of society instead of really seiously considering their emotional motivations and the true nature of their relationships. Socially and economically rewarding marriage excarcerbates this the harms of this thoughtlessness.
2 examples, my mother married in her early twenties, entirely so that she would be able to leave her childhood household in a socially acceptable way (living alone as a woman in the early 60s in the deep south wasn't acceptable to her manipulative and abusive family). The relationship she landed in was with another abuser, and it took him putting out cigarettes on her in front of his family to get her the support she needed to leave him without being disowned. Her next marriage was with my Atheist dad, performed by a judge, and, after they divorced, I still was raised by both parents whom have loved and supported me incredibly well, while remaining friends in spite of the vitriol and betrayal that had initially surrounded their split (none of which I learned about until I was grown.)
2nd example, I currently know of a friend of a friend who has been manipulated into staying in a marriage of duress. She dated a woman in high school, and her parents and family freaked and pressured her out of exploring her sexuality any more. she operated under the delusion she was straight for the past 15 years. Now she's married to and has a kid with man she loves platonically who presumably loves her. But she's realized that she'll never develop any romantic feelings for him after developing a close platonic friendship with another lesbian and unlocking the wrong-headedness of the manipulation she was subjected to as a teenager. Her husband is less concerned with helping the woman he "loved" enough to marry and have a kid with live the life she was meant to as he is concerned about the effects that he has been told dissolving their marriage will have on their child. So now he's basically holding their child ransom to keep her from divorcing her, by claiming that if they divorce or seperate, he'll sue her for custody. She knows, considering jurisprudence around GLBT Americans in custody proceedings, that she has a good chance of losing that battle if it goes to court. And that is a married couple people expect to raise a well-adjusted kid?
Marriage is not some objectively magical agreement that will make 2 people capable of living a meaningful life together as partners. The sooner we learn that and stop incentivising marriage economically and socially, the better off we'll all be. Gay, straight, whatever.
posted 2 years, 4 months ago
view in context