In the Blog

Why do we always have to think marriage?

September 11th, 2008     by Jessica Yee     Comments

As more time and events transpire with my partner, I find myself battling with mainstream ideology on what long-term commitment is all about. I’ve shared some of the similar musings of other feminist writers on being vocal about it, and while I’m not sure that mine are exactly the same, I do know that I personally don’t believe in inviting the government into my private affairs by way of “marriage”, and as a Native woman, I know I don’t need to do that in order to solidify or celebrate my partnership. (We honour unions in our longhouse as something you become twice as responsible to the community for with two people coming together, so it’s actually not just about you, it’s about what you are giving back. Oh and you don’t have to sign a paper to prove that.)

I’m all for people doing what they think is best for themselves, and I truly believe in choice in every sense of the word, but I can’t help but see these “yeah, I know the system sucks but I did it any way” occurrences everywhere that I don’t know how to feel about, especially as a life-long rebel and stick-it-to-the-man-er.

Case in point. My partner and I finally got out to see a movie together (something we rarely get to do) and what do we see on the screen before the show starts:

“Want to enhance your relationship? Then go to www.thinkmarriage.org!”

I turn to my partner with a “Wtf?”, who knows that I’m going to reach in my purse and grab my blackberry to see what this is all about.

While I’m sure the folks who put this website together meant well, I’ll just point out one of the many parts that I was immediately offended by on the homepage:

All of us face a clear challenge: in our state, as in the rest of the U.S., the divorce rate hovers near 50%, and more of our children are being born to unmarried mothers as the marriage rate continues to decline. While sitcoms and water cooler teasing may have you thinking differently, study after study shows that married couples are happier, healthier, wealthier, and enjoy better sex lives than singles or cohabiting couples.

But no pressure to get married though, right?

I guess that without looking at it as an institution, marriage is seen as the “ultimate commitment” and something you do if you “really love the person”. But it is an institution, and what I don’t understand from a pro-choice perspective is why there is this intense advocacy for all relationships to end up in marriage, and why we can’t just celebrate the choices people make, single or not?

Oh and you are a bad person if you have kids alone?

Even though I have all sorts of problems with Sex and the City, I think Carrie got it right when she said:

…and if I don’t ever get married or have a baby, what? I get bubkus? Think about it, if you are single after graduation there isn’t one occasion where people celebrate you. I am talking about the single gal. Hallmark doesn’t make a “Congratulations you didn’t marry the wrong guy” card. And where’s the flatware for going on vacation alone? I’m thrilled to give you gifts to celebrate your life, I just think it stinks that single people are left out of it.

Tags: in my opinion...

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