Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Regret Getting Married

As I've recently written, I've been married three years now. In fact, my anniversary is on the 28th. There is no question: I love my husband. He is absolutely my favorite person in the world; my best friend, my life partner, my daily inspiration. I have been with him for 9 years and everyday I am thankful for my amazing, egalitarian, supportive, and laugh-til-I-cry relationship with him.

So it's probably surprising that this whole blog is about why I regret getting married.

People in my personal life have heard this many times now but every time someone new hears me talk about this subject, it is tricky. I can kiiiiind of come across as the killer of matrimonial-dreams, but that is not my intention. What I really mean is that, I'm not really sure what I gained by having a big wedding.

You see, when Mr. Nerdy Feminist and I tied the knot, we were pretty young and I really think we got swept up in what it meant to be married. While we had a very feminist wedding in terms of structure and wording, there were still many traditional aspects of it which ran our bill up pretty high. It was a really nice day, but in retrospect, we didn't need any of it.

We already had made a lifetime commitment amongst ourselves without the pomp and circumstance of a wedding. We didn't need that moment to solidify our bond. As nice as it was to stand before everyone we knew and affirm this commitment, again, it wasn't something I truly needed. We have discussed many times how we could have been perfectly happy being that couple that just always stayed together, marriage or not. Legal status just hasn't been that advantageous for us. Or--at least not worth the money we pumped into a big wedding. In fact, we fall into the "marriage penalty" income where combining our taxes has hurt, not helped, us.

But of course in this whole case I am absolutely dripping with privilege. Because my particular relationship pairing is deemed appropriate by various religions and governments, I had the option to even get married. So for me to sit over here and pooh-pooh that option is undoubtedly infuriating for individuals who happened to be in love with someone of their same gender. I am truly compassionate to the unfairness here. (And this is not to even mention asexual people, the polyamorous, or people who prefer singledom, all of whom are marginalized for not necessarily fitting traditional relationship norms and lifestyle expectations.)

What I wish for above all things is for every couple to get to make choices about the future of their relationship based upon their own wishes. For me this means that ALL couples should have the right to wed or not, regardless of what anyone else thinks they should do. As I mentioned with my post on last names, a real choice includes (1) being fully informed and (2) having free will. The fact of the matter is that so many couples are denied the basic right to have the relationship they desire because they are not legally permitted to get married. But it is also true that some couples get married just because it is "what you do."

Our society pressures young heterosexual couples into "making it official" and downplays the importance of relationships which are not legal marriages. Of course all of this has roots in religious institutions and misogynistic laws (which viewed women as the property of men.) It is true that in recent years society has become more accepting of things like sex outside of marriage and cohabitation. However, my hope is that as we can also accept that marriage should be a right afforded to all but a pressure put upon none.

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