I Thee Wed


So. I have thoughts. Big ones.  Loud ones. Messy ones.  This week a lot of those thoughts are about marriage.

First, came my little shock about Al and Tipper Gore divorcing.  That was like, whoa. If those two crazy kids can’t make it, then what is marriage all about? Well, lucky for me, Rabbi Schmuley sauntered onto the scene (by way of 2006) and kindly informed me that marriage is vital, marriage is critical, the maintenance of a marriage should be paramount in a family, divorce is a societal scourge, and BOOBS are one of the most crucial elements to a successful marriage. Or some such bullshit. I stopped listening to the good rabbi right about the time he revealed himself to be a sexist twit who regards wives as sex machines for their husbands.  At least that’s what I got from him. But the one thing he said that makes sense is that healthy marriages are good things for everyone involved, which is why it’s so sad to see a marriage of long standing like Al and Tipper’s dissolve from some unseen ailment. And you wonder what you can do to prevent marital decay.

And then came Speidi.

Heidi Montag, a nice lady with misguided ideals of female beauty and enough money to execute said ideals upon herself, and her purported svengali of a husband are splitting up.  Maybe.  Or not. But she filed papers.  Though does she even need to file papers? Wasn’t there some sort of scandal about them not really being married at all?  Like it was a publicity stunt? And now this might be a publicity stunt? With lawyers. And tv cameras.

Wait, what?

Is this an American marriage? Is this divorce American style?  Is this how we portray marriage on television?  This is what we witness as an ideal of young romance or partnership or life-long commitment? Maybe.  If ratings are good.

Gross.

We all do marriage differently.  What works for me might not work for you. That’s ok.  It’s good. We all work it out, fumbling our way from day to day, until death do us part, if all goes according to plan.  It’s a partnership and we draw up the terms as we go with the understanding that it could all change in a blink. A child is born, an aging parent dies, a job is lost, a home is purchased, the days become years and we just do the best we can. We look to each other and gauge each other’s needs and adjust. Or try to. We ask for help. Or try to. We laugh, We cry. We trust.We love.

Because we didn’t walk into this for ratings.  We won’t walk away for attention. Marriage should not be a tool for personal gain. It should not be a trick for public display. It is a decision to say to another person “I choose you” and you keep making that choice day after day.

You might stop making the choice.  There are a million reasons it could happen. I think we all just hope we can keep choosing our spouse every day until there are no more days.

So, is it any wonder that I HATE the spectacle marriages of the Speidi ilk? That’s not what it’s all about.  It’s a made-for-tv version of marriage and it’s whorish in its demand for attention to feed it. It establishes that idea that drama is what makes a relationship valid, that conflict is necessary and that it’s all disposable. It’s a bad freaking example for anyone watching it.

A side note: how is it that we allow Speidi to pollute marriage this way but we don’t allow loving same sex couples to have legal marriages in most states? I know a lesbian couple who had a commitment ceremony in the same church where I was married, performed by the same minister, but mine is legal and theirs is not. We live in the same suburb now, have kids the same age, work in similar jobs but for some stupid reason that no one can adequately explain to me, I get all kinds of protections and recognition of my marriage – the same ones afforded to stupid Speidi, too – but they do not. WTF?  Seriously. WTF?

Al and Tipper did it pretty well for all those years. And they’re doing divorce pretty well too – quietly. With dignity.  Not groping for attention or affirmation. They’re doing it together the way they did their marriage. Their ending, from what I can see, is sad but not disgusting. Maybe they just ran out of days together before they ran out of days.

I think we can all stand to take moments to look at our marriages and think about what we want from tomorrow. Then work toward tomorrow in a way that honors our spouse, our children, and our hopes for a lifetime.

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14 comments for “I Thee Wed

  1. June 9, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Applause. Applause. Applause.

    There’s really nothing else to say.

  2. KLZ
    June 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Well, that’s the issue, isn’t it? It’s not people being gay that devalues marriage, it’s people being stupid.

    Stupid tax to speidi, $100,000.

  3. anthrogrrl
    June 9, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Reeeeaaally good post. I love the line, “I think we all just hope we can keep choosing our spouse every day until there are no more days.”

    Obviously, since I am getting married in less than 3 weeks, marriage is on my mind a lot lately, and even though I am not a church-goer, I still believe that there should be something sacred about the agreement you make with your partner to stick together through thick and thin. One of the worst things about reality shows and celebrity gossip, in my opinion, is that it provides a model for life that I fear warps our ideas about what “normal” should be. Life should be about our relationships with people we love, not constant drama, attention-mongering and scandals.

  4. Heligirl
    June 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Beautiful post. I’m so psyched I came across your site. We’ve got a lot of bloggy pals in common and I see why now. I love your writing style and your honest thoughts. Bravo. Reality TV drives me absolutely bats (except for Deadliest Catch since I actually know some of those guys and that makes it a little different for me). The way some of these shows use marriage for ratings further cheapens this institution in a way we Americans can’t afford to experience any further. I often wonder if their money grabbing, attention desiring ways lead to Jon and Kate’s nasty divorce. I could write pages on this. Thanks again!

  5. June 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    So so many lines of this post are brilliantly written – especially the one anthrogrrl highlighted. I love how you talk about current news items but in such a relate-able, real way.

  6. thenextmartha
    June 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Well I guess we’ll just have to pull for Tom Cruise and what’s her name now.

  7. June 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    My mom left my dad 30 years ago for another person and has been with that person ever since. That person? It’s a woman. So I give my mom a pass on the leaving my dad thing since she wasn’t all that into him considering he is a dude and all. 🙂 However, I bring this up because despite being together for 30 years, they can’t get married. In fact, they had to go to a lawyer to get papers written up so that they can make medical decisions for each other if need be AND most of the time if one of them is in the hospital, they feel more comfortable lying and saying they are sisters rather than dealing with the (perceived?) judgment from the hospital staff.

    It really gets my goat when people say that homosexuality threatens marriage when, in my experience, the homosexual couples have a stronger foundation than many marriages. Don’t even get me started on gays and parenting…the perceptions out there are so screwy that I can’t even fathom where people are coming from. All I know is that my home with my two moms was WAY more stable than the one with my dad and evil stepmom. When I think back to what my positive examples in life were, most of them came from the time spent with my moms. The lessons I learned from them make me a mother, human being, and (here’s a shocker for you) a better wife.

    Ok, I better cool down and spend some time cherishing my marriage. 🙂

    TTFN,
    Mommy C

  8. June 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I think you make excellent points with this post. I find that most people don’t want to keep trying once marriage (or relationships in general, really) get hard. After a year or so, once that constant euphoric feeling of “in love” (i.e. new relationship smell) kinda fades, people seem to give up.

    I think some people just don’t realize how much work is involved in living successfully with any human being, much less maintaining a healthy intimate physical & emotional relationship. Many people get married for the wrong reasons and many give up too easily.

  9. June 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I second the idea of the stupid tax.

  10. June 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Neither my husband nor I were big believers in marriage, nor are either of us even remotely religious, but when we decided to marry we knew it was a big fucking deal. A huge deal, not to be entered into lightly. And while no one knows a marriage unless they are part of it [really, Al & Tipper? What’s going on?], it does seem as if there are people who marry/divorce/marry/divorce on a whim.

    Even if you don’t agree with it, it shouldn’t be something you do because the cable went out. Or you want lots of presents.

  11. June 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Rebekah – just stumbled on your blog. Beautifully written – – poignant and funny to boot. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading more!! :0)

  12. June 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Marriage is hard, hard work. I blogged about it yesterday too.
    Thanks for this post; I agree that marriage has become a joke to MANY people in our society which is so freaking sad. I’m not sure how about 50% of people define “commitment” these days… Hmm?

  13. June 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Perfect. What more can I add?

    We dishonor marriage when we make it a stunt or a circus. Two devoted, loving adults who are also the same sex? Why are some people so scared of that? (I know the answer; I just don’t like it.)

  14. June 9, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Here’s what I think. Marriage takes work. ALL marriages take work. We don’t like our spouses every day. We love them every day but there are days we don’t like each other very much. Those are the days that make or break you. Divorce is stupid easy. In the 50’s you didn’t divorce, you lived with it, you worked with it and some turned their back on really bad things that they shouldn’t have e.g. adultery. Wives were expected to smile and nod and suck it up, turn the other cheek. Then came feminism and wives quit turning the other cheek so much and that was OK. That’s how it should have been. But at some point we went from divorces being something you did when things were truly unbearable to being something people do because it’s easy to do and it’s easy to quit. I don’t know what the answer is but that’s sure the way I see it.

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