We want to be together for life - but we think marriage is weird. Help?
September 22, 2009 7:21 AM Subscribe
To wed or not to wed: that is [sort of] the question.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (82 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
This will be kind of long. I thank you all in advance.
I've been with my SO for nearly four years. I love her immensely and am absolutely sure I want to spend the rest of my life with her. She feels, or so I believe, the same way. The issue? We're pretentious 20-somethings who consider ourselves Lyotard-ian, anti-social narrative, fuck the man sort of people. i.e. - if we love each other and are committed to each other, what's the point of the whole marriage thing, other than the tax break and the wedding gifts?
Part of the issue, as you might imagine, is my family. I was raised a fundamental Christian, which I have since rejected, though my family remains so. They really do like my SO and care about her, and yet when we visit my family we have to sleep in separate rooms, my nephew can't call her an aunt, my family will only refer to her as 'the girl I'm dating' (even though it's far beyond dating), etc. I constantly have to side-step the fact that my SO and I (who live on the opposite side of the country as my family) live together, even though I am sure my parents suspect as much (though we can never speak of it). My family will never recognize my SO as a true member of the family until we are legally wed. It really doesn't matter, in the end, if it's a Christian wedding or not - I suspect my parents would be pleased enough if we simply stood before a judge. We, of course, think this is quite strange - why should some silly ceremony and/or some legal documents be necessary to 'justify' our relationship?
Her parents are much less concerned about the issue - though her grandparents continually ask her when we are going to get married (often with the subtext of 'we're not going to be around much longer and we want to be at your wedding'). We are trying to straddle the fine line between our own philosophical/moral ideologies and our desire to appease our parents/grandparents.
For us, going through the marriage motions feels quite false. It feels as though we are giving into some silly custom because our own love for and commitment to one another, though professed to one another in private, is somehow lacking. The idea of marriage makes us feel not only weak but hypocritical to our own world views. It sounds, admittedly, a bit ridiculous - but in a certain sense we have a sort of Sartre/De Beauvoir fantasy of being able to love each other unconditionally without all the social niceties (and in fact we are concerned that such niceties might, in a sense, undermine our commitment to one another).
So my questions are:
1) are we just being ridiculous 20-somethings trying to be way too cool for school thinking we are "too intelligent" or "above" marriage, traditionally conceived, as a cultural institution?
2) even if we are justified in our skepticism of marriage, should we go through the motions in order to make our lives - at least with my family - pragmatically easier?
We recognize our youth and self-righteousness in all of this. Anecdotes, advice, personal insights, philosophical points very welcome.
Thanks in advance Hive Mind!