‘Once upon a time’ we married to maintain political power, then to avoid war, then to ensure proper inheritance rites and then because it was socially the right thing to do, not forgetting that marriage was also for those who fell madly in love with one another. Now here, in the new millennium, we’re supposed to marry for love, or are we?
There have been and still are many reasons for marriage and for what? Look around, we are not the only species on this planet that breathe, have internal organs like a heart, a brain, and act on instincts, and feel, are we? We are not the only species capable of loving, caring or mating. There are other animals in this kingdom if you hadn’t noticed. I’ll first take the monkeys and the apes (also known as humanoids) as examples, as they are our closest ancestors. The only difference between us and them is that we’re smarter and we are supposed to be able to reason yet aren’t we, the foolish ones, who believe in this notion of marriage. You don’t see monkeys or apes who love one another walking down an aisle and saying ‘I do!’ in fact you don’t see any other animal doing that, except us.
We can still love, mate and care as a species without the need for a formal, socially recognised contract, can’t we? Just look at the other species that surround us. “So why, should we marry? Who invented such a ridiculous partnership?” I ask you.
Growing up, I have been myself as well as seen family, friends and most significantly the media, influence both young girls and boys, you and me, with the notion that one must marry. The media, “Oh my God!”. They are peasants, idealising everything, for example the wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William, I say, “Who cares and if you do, why do you care?” Because of the media’s ‘sincere’ care and love for the royal couple and yourself (and of course their paychecks) they provide you with full coverage of their fairytale marriage. Their coverage shows and conveys to you what you would see and want to see, which are marriages and weddings as being, heavenly. “Let no one ever say that marriages are made in Heaven; the gods would not commit so great an injustice!” (Queen Marguerite of Valois, wife of Henry IV of France). Don’t be fooled, their coverage is just a money making exercise.
Then there are the women’s magazines, Woman’s Day; Dolly; Cosmopolitan. Have you seen them? Yuck, it is so disgustingly over the top and fake with images of newlywed couples happy, smiling and kissing, in wedded bliss or mad infatuation. Don’t you see? The media is brainwashing you to believe in this marital bliss and that marriage in our lives must be an inevitability, but its not! “Hold on! Why is marriage perceived as blissful and harmonious? Is it because the media has influenced us? Or, is it the pressure from our parents, neighbours, friends in fact the whole world that proposes that marriage is the greatest thing that has ever happened to them in their lives?”
As a little child your family and your parents mean everything to you, that’s natural and you’re highly influenced by their attitudes to life. They would be feeding you their ‘honesty’ and you would be as any child would be gullible and accepting. You would see your married parents arguing, and then they would see you and would give a quick little smile. The next day you would see them fighting and they would see you and pretend that nothing ever happened. This would happen day after day and they would keep on reassuring you that ‘everything is alright’. Until, it’s your turn to take the vows. You grow up and are my age and realise how dreadful marriage is and that they should have divorced, or better than that they should have never married in the first place.
Yes call me a cynic! But then, when at the age, close to marriage, when your parents are trying to get rid of you, they become weirdly annoying and strange! They coerce you into believing that marriage is wonderous, virtuous and the right and only thing to do. Firstly, they try to come into your personal lives and show you how blissful matrimony can be. Then they start showing off to others how great there married lives are, only to fool you in believing this filmy fantasy. But, if this doesn’t work they start persistently nagging, which ends up working and you finally concede. How do I know? Just look at the statistics, most of us are married in Australia, out of 21 million there are around 11 million people married (remembering that around 20% of Australia population comprises of children aged under 15 years of age).
And then there are the marriage and relationship gurus. Have you heard of Anthony Robbins? Of course you have he is a multimillionaire self help author and a ‘life coach’. He is a renowned speaker and motivator who, though unashamedly teaches relationship courses has been married twice. He is the one who needs help. What does this man’s marriage tell you, ‘who is supposed to be an expert, a guru, of this marriage stuff’? Let me tell you, marriage destroys relationships and kills love. So I’ll give you some advice, don’t marry! “Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.” (Oscar Wilde)
Oprah, is another more successful philanthropist and billionaire, who I would believe to be because of the experiences she has had in life, especially within her relationships, and how she has learned from these experiences and made the wise choice of deciding to be unmarried and remain in a de-facto relationship. She has had many love affairs in which she had been happy until, the word marriage arose. She proves my point that “One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.” (Oscar Wilde)!!!
Latest research by John Sewell has found that, “Romance dies two years, six months and 25 days into marriage” as headlined in the Women’s Weekly magazine. There’s the proof of marital bliss!
Let’s look at the bare and brutal statistics. There is around a 43% divorce rate in Australia whereas America and the UK have a divorce rate around 55% and 60% respectively. Though, in Australia around 30% of couples are still married for their children and another 20% are married for financial reasons and perhaps the rest because they fear themselves, alone and single. The lucky last, 7% of marriages have a Cinderella fairytale ending. ‘Hey, so don’t lose hope on being, that perfect couple, because you can do it!’