My co-worker's recent engagement, and her subsequent flurry of activity and expenditure to move toward a February wedding date has had me thinking (and biting my tongue while at work).
So, fasten your seat belts - I'm about to opine. I know, I know... what a shock.
I don't believe in marriage. Having worn the tarnished badge of marriage once, I've earned the right to say that without compunction. I don't believe two people are any more committed to each other because of a religious rite to which a church gives credence and/or a document that a government declares legal.
Why is there a need for religious ceremony? If one is to believe that "what god has joined together, let no man put asunder," then that god has already managed to bring two together as one, has issued the bond, and it's a done deal. Anything beyond that is excess. It doesn't require a guy in a satin bathrobe, waving the sign of the cross over their heads to seal it (or any other dogma-style ritual you care to insert there).
That a government would financially penalize (tax) a couple for signing a document (that said government has declared worthy on its own terms) is a travesty. That alone makes me dig my heels in on the subject. What Fat Cat in a silk suit (that doesn't even know me or my chosen mate) has the right to a) approve of our commitment to each other, and b) then turn around and tell us we have to pay for such a union? Sorry, this gypsy don't buy that.
Some FC (and the initials here, in my mind anyway, often change to far more unladylike words than Fat Cat) at some point decided that once two people have signed a legal document of union (yeah, ain't that romantic), that the encumbrances visited by one become the encumbrances of the two - meaning that property becomes equally divisible no matter who paid the mortgage(s). Well, guess who makes money off of that - especially when it comes down to divorce? Uh huh... the Scum-sucking Bottom Feeders (lawyers) and the Blood-thirsty Leeches (lenders). It also means that if one of the two runs up astronomical debt, both of the two are equally and entirely responsible for it.
My "Legal Marriage" lasted less than eight years, and the signed documents did nothing to stop me from saying, "I'm miserable. You're apathetic. I want out. I'm leaving." My Committed Relationship, which was not based on a signed document, lasted nine years through all kinds of hills and valleys, and I'm certain would have continued endlessly. The lack of paper didn't stop either of us from saying or believing, "I am by your side for always."
Over the years, John and I occasionally touched on the subject of the possibility of marriage (mostly for no other reason than to please our mothers), but we both felt that we were right where we wanted to be in terms of a commitment to each other. Last year, when John found out just how sick he was, he cried and said, "I'll marry you if you want me to. All I have to give you is my name." I choked in reply, "Oh Hunny, I already have your name. It's written on my heart, and I will love you until the day that I die." Truthfully, any new guy standing in line for my heart will have to understand that - that kind of love doesn't go away simply because one finds new love. If anything, it gives the new love deeper meaning - the deeper the well, the sweeter the water.
I'm glad John and I never married - in fact, I'm proud of it. We showed the world what true commitment and unconditional love are about, and we did it without ceremony or legal entanglement. Had I married John, simply by virtue of being his wife, I would be in millions of dollars (yes, really) of healthcare debt right now, and that, after a year that was already financially crippling. (You can bet your butt there's a healthcare rant coming to this blog soon.) John's truck (aka Birddog) was his most treasured possession. He chose to sign it over to me when he could have given it to anyone, as I'd suggested he had the freedom to do. It was his truck, solely in his name. It wouldn't have bothered me if he'd had given it to someone else. That he did choose me is more touching than I can say, and the gods know I love the ol' Birddog as much as John did, maybe more, because it's played such an integral part in my Gypsy Revival. John's gift of the truck was worth far more to me than any gold band he could have put on my finger... his name on my heart, more than untold riches.
So, no, I don't believe in marriage. (But, ya'll don't let that stop ya... g'head... I'll come n' dance.) I do, with all my heart, believe in commitment and unconditional love.
Shakespeare said it best in Sonnet CXVI...
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.