Germaine Greer recently announced to the world that marriage is an outmoded institution. Germaine is one of my feminist heroes but sometimes I disagree with her. Perhaps what she meant to say was that by now marriage SHOULD have become outmoded. Wishful thinking!
I'm also a fan of, bless 'im, Jeremy Irons who recently made a ludicrous statement on equal marriage. It was something to do with English inheritance laws; that if same sex marriage was legal, then a father and son would be able to marry and avoid paying inheritance tax. Sometimes fame makes people a little crazy.
Most people would agree that marriage is far from outmoded, though statistics do tell us that the number of people actually getting married has reduced significantly in the past fifty years which has coincided with a sharp rise and then drop in the divorce rate.
Marriage is less prevalent among low income earners and an obvious reason for this may be the prohibitive cost of a wedding celebration (especially if you are a regular divorcee) and the fact that, in this country, it is of no financial benefit to actually get married.
In Australia, the decline of Christian religions may contribute to the drop in numbers and may also be linked to a change in social attitudes.
I am not a big fan of Prime Minister Julia Gillard but I do admire the way she has used her brain to achieve some big successes. She is in a defacto relationship and is an atheist too and has become a role model for working class women, being from a working class background with a very strong and much maligned working class accent.
Now, of course, money is no object to Ms.Gillard but why get married and spoil an all round good thing? Although, one might argue, that for all intensive purposes, Ms. Gillard is in fact married; married to the Labor Party and her hairdresser; a match made in metaphorical heaven as her ever improving coiffure demonstrates.
May be she refuses to support marriage equality because she doesn't actually believe in marriage itself. Perhaps, like Germaine, she thinks marriage is an outmoded, archaic form of enslavement.
Marriage in so very many different forms has served so very many different purposes and it all depends on your definition.
Marriage has been grafted into my psyche as an integral part of our society, culture and religion. It is neither necessary or unnecessary. Marriage just is and until it disappears from our culture altogether, people of all sexual orientations will want to get married so, now that our society has moved beyond outmoded rigid concepts, why exempt whole sections of society?
Something often overlooked is that most of the time, marriage also involves the adoption of the other's family, whether it be children, exes or extended family. The adoption of 'others' is important because therein lies the essence of marriage as community. Someone once joked that there are never just two of you in a marriage but also everyone who has influenced you and loved or hated you throughout your whole life, including those collected while you were married!
The living of marriage can be really difficult but at its best can be a merging in love, growth and unified goals. It doesn't mean you lose your individuality which is why the biggest challenge to relationships arises from an inability to compromise. Neither does it mean, in this country at least, that you become enslaved to your partner.
Marriage is simply a life-long relationship with your best friend and their friends and family and your friends and family and the whole community!
It took me thirty six years to soften my attitude toward David's parents and to start calling them Mum and Dad. A lot of water has flowed under that bridge and I guess now they really are my mum and dad too.
It's taken us all our married lives to almost understand what it means to be married and it wouldn't surprise me if some, on their death beds say as they look into their partner's eyes, 'Oh, so that's what it's all about!'
We're now definitely reaping the benefits. Actually, there have been benefits all along. Sure, much of the time we drive each other bonkers. Bonkers seems to be a big part of it but the negatives are acceptable too because now, there is an incredibly solid base to go from. Pretty sure if you asked him he'd say the same thing using different words with more about food. Here's a picture of David making his food face.
This is a rewrite of a previous post in which I wrote a lot about God and sacrament but that only means something to those who have religion.
Some choose to remain single and not get married. Going solo suits a lot of people but the fact remains they do have a choice. At any point, as long as the right person comes along, they can choose to get married but imagine how it must feel to be shut out of that community of marriage. One would feel excluded, unwanted and unloved by the community. I believe that everyone has a right to be accepted and loved in community.
It doesn't always work out for couples. The fact is there are no guarantees in life. Sometimes people become violent and abusive and though we've all lost our cool and said things in anger, violence is never acceptable.
Marriage and community are inextricably linked. All members of a community share in a marriage and the state of that union has an ongoing ripple effect within it.