I really wanted to use the word ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’, but unfortunately, it’s a specific term describing a specific political movement which went against the proposal to discontinue the Church of England as the State Church of Ireland and Wales.
Try as I may to flex my writer’s prowess, I can’t make that term relevant to what I’m thinking I want to write about. And that’s a pity, cus I really wanted to use that word in context, but oh well.
Instead, I’ve coined my own nonsense in the interest of relevance. The institution in my term refers to the institution of marriage. By a baffling twist of double negatives, the anti-diss bit means that my mind-set is against the dissing of marriage- rather unexpectedly.
It’s not a major revelation that an individual’s personal situation can influence their outlook on something.
For example, a child of devout Catholics likely harbors a different view regarding organized religion than a child raised to approach devotion with an atheistic, intellectual bent.
My perspective toward marriage derives from being a child of divorced parents, one of whom stayed single, the other who entered, almost immediately, into another dysfunctional though long-lasting union.
My adult experiences have had the ‘other side of the coin’ slant to them as well. A pie-graph of my past relationships would depict a visual wedge of married men, as well as divorced, disenfranchised, and custody-battered veterans incapable of attachment.
Given both the verbal and observational information, it would be kind of easy to see marriage as ‘AVeryBadThing’, a tool for manipulation, power and misery, not to mention a good means of preserving the status quo, an illusion to provide fools with a sense of safey and security, and another means of creating categories and divisions for people. (How many of us have observed a husband or wife eliminating the single friends from their spouse’s roster in order to preserve that perception of safety?)
There’s a lot of negatives possible in the marriage equation. And personally, I have never benefitted much from the positive aspects, so they can seem as alien as foreign soil.
However: I really don’t like it when I’m watching a comedian on t.v., or listening to a radio show, and they say something negative and cynical about the state of marriage.
There is something so base and unimaginative about an outlook that calculates the quality of a mystery based on the visible parts.
And love- long lasting love, is a mystery. The institution which symbolizes that love is likely as flawed as the beings that design and utilize it, but we continue to run willy-nilly toward the precipice of legally expressing that union for reasons that cannot be explained (though easily hijacked) by moral convention, economic need, or a deep strain of species specific masochism.
Much like religion, the institution of marriage is the best and the worst of human endeavor. It symbolizes something deeply vulnerable to cynicism and cultural undermining. Like religion, the interpretation and execution of a marital union can go horrifically, irrevocably wrong.
Marriage is basically as strong and true and good intentioned as its participants. I think it can bolster loyalty and forgiveness by providing a framework where two people, hanging on by a thread, actually have a thread to hang onto.
And while i don’t desire 99.9% of the marriages I’ve witnessed as a personal destiny, a little part of me wants a marriage that I haven’t seen before: My own ideal of a loving and committed relationship.
Maybe it wasn’t so strange that my past didn’t offer up that vision, because it certainly didn’t offer up the partner to that vision- and it’s hard to design a beneficial give-and-take all on your own.
So I’ve kind of made a choice to reject the cynicism that so easily surrounds the institution of love. It’s kind of cute, actually, that people- no matter how wise and informed and apprised of the statistics- will still make that leap, over and over to love and to cherish; to honor and obey.
Wouldn’t it be cool if no one ever knew failure or weakness? Wouldn’t it be cool if willingness to promise life-long devotion was always rewarded with a warm and loving outcome?
I think that would be really cool. So when it comes to married and hopeful friends, all I really have to say is, “Congratulations. May you bring each other joy.”