There is a new challenge on Facebook called the “Love Your Spouse Challenge”, it’s cute, a little cheesy (ok, a lot) but most of y’all need to stop tripping.
I already know I am going to lose a lot of “friends” or followers on social media for this post. For some reason, people take other folks opinions personally, I get that. But I am challenging you to not allow my opinions carry that much weight. Don’t value my opinion so much it makes you not want to be my friend.
But this is not really a blog about that challenge at all, although it partially inspired it. I am really not vested in that challenge because it has nothing to do with me. I see other singles asking “what about us” – cut that out single folk. But this challenge came at a time I had been discussing marriage with my friends, married and single. Surprisingly, in a lot of the discussion, my married friends agreed with me. I think marriage has been approached completely wrong. But what do I know, I’m single right?
*You know what, this is going to be two-parter, because I have a lot to say about marriage and how women who are not married, either by choice or “happenstsance”, are viewed as less valuable. I hear it often, how self-sufficient women with high standards and no need to compromise are reduced in value by both men and women in response to her singleness with responses like “that’s why you can’t get a man”.
I can hear it now, “you’re not married so you’re not qualified to speak on marriage”. Be that as it may, I am going to share my thoughts anyway. Some of you all are going to swear because I am not married, I am bitter, that’s cool; some of you will swear I am in denial and just haven’t done the work it takes to be married, that’s cool too; some of you will say it is because I can’t keep a man (which I can’t wait to address in the next blog), and that’s real cool. I can get down with all of your deflection. I also know for the most part, a lot of people won’t like this blog. Consider the fact it’s coming from me, but more importantly, consider what you know goes down behind closed doors, consider your own private thoughts. IJS
I know people who have been married for ages, I mean my parents are hitting 49 years in December, and all of my siblings have been married to their respective spouses for YEARS, and I’m the only one not married (and that can be a whole ‘nother blog in itself). But can I be honest, I still don’t want to pattern my marriage off of any of them. I want to define my own marriage. I am the one with middle child syndrome anyway. 😆
I will, however, concede this may be because I’ve been single so long and “set in my ways”, or maybe it is because I have finally “found” myself (because I sure was lost), finally love myself, and I am actually happy with life, even enjoy being single, and frankly, I love having options. I will admit this attitude can be something of a quandary when in fact I desire to be married, but I have little patience for the process. Maybe the root of it is because I view marriage so completely different, it is hard to find someone that has let go of antiquated archetypes that limit my further evolution as a woman. I refuse to be put in a time capsule when it comes to traditional marriage and give up the identity I fought so long to find. Call me selfish, I don’t care. Those who know me well know I am not and have never been a conformist, but I can be honest and say my views on life and marriage in particular are still evolving, and there are some traditional ideas and roles I still admittedly embrace while I struggle to find the harmony with my views. I don’t necessarily believe in the strict biblical ideology of marriage, in the sense God “himself” created marriage as a sacred institution in the Garden that is unto death. That is not to say that it doesn’t work that way. I know this is where I am going to lose most of you.
I value highly those who stay together because they are committed for life, and will not sacrifice that commitment despite the fact they no longer desire to be married to that person, it’s their duty. Let the record show, I love to see successful marriages, power couples, people who rise together and stay together. That’s what I want, because let’s face it, when I get married, at this age, I have no plans on finding someone to partner with again. I love those couples who defy the odds, who defy stereotypes. For instance, I love that Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon genuinely seem happy after 32 years of marriage; I love how Will and Jada and Mo’Nique and Sidney Hicks give ZERO when it comes to the scrutiny of their marriages. I love that! I wholeheartedly believe there are many happy, “in love” couples that have navigated this marriage journey and have grown individually as people, and caused them to grow as a unit; there are people married for years that genuinely love being married to their spouses. Also, I believe some people were destined for long marriages because they chose the right mate. But I also know there are many… MANY that feel stuck and want out; many that believe they wear sold a bill of goods and still haven’t reaped the advantages.
With all that said, here are some my thoughts on what marriage is/is not, remember these are just MY opinions, not truth:
- Most of y’all wish you had a do-over and will never admit it
- Very few marriages are to be envied. I’ll stay single if I have to do the amount of compromising some of you do
- There is NO blueprint for marriage, what works for one doesn’t have to work for another
- Marriage is NOT an institution established in Eden. Hell, back in the ancient bible days all a dude had to do if he raped a female child was marry her; fathers sold their daughters like property
- Too many think marriage is about two people becoming one, I think that is part of the problem
- Marriage is a legal institution, not religious one, if it were not so, you wouldn’t need a license
- Love really has little to do with marriage
- There is not just one person made for you, if that were the case we would have no divorce rate
- It should be legally mandated to have to renew marriage licenses every 5, 10, 15 years, LBVS
- Most people stay married out of guilt and DUTY and I think that is sad
- The truest test of a marriage is NOT combining your finances, folks need to keep money separate and decide who is responsible for what
- Marriage doesn’t have to be for “always and forever”, and that’s okay
- Money SHOULD be one of the main deciding factors in your choice to marry anyone
- It is okay to dissolve a marriage if one person grows apart, or both grow and realize they have different goals and life paths OR if they realize they made a mistake
- It is idiotic to stay in a marriage if you are unhappy; it is not selfish to want to be happy
- Open marriages are not just about having multiple sex partners, some of you all are in open marriages and don’t even know it
- I like my last name, I’ve always had it, and I am not sure I want to drop it. Not taking a man’s name doesn’t mean I am not committed to him or don’t love him
- Marriage does not mean you suddenly have ownership over another person and can control their decisions and thinking and beliefs
- Marriage should always come with a benefit to you, always. This doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you smart. Marriage should be a partnership with mutual goals, otherwise stay single
- Some say marriage is a covenant, I say it’s a contract (well both), with guidelines and expectations
I am pro-marriage, just anti-anything or anyone that tries to define what marriage should look like for others. This whole romanticized notion of marriage has many of us jacked up. I am not afraid of commitment either, but I refuse to be unhappy. I can’t wait to find that someone that is like-minded and doesn’t want to sacrifice individuality for the sake of being “one”; someone that makes me better and I him; someone that is not trying to rule over me, but reign with me. A partner for life, or until…
Until next time,