Deciding Not to Get Married
Marriage is what you make it – for me, at least. Some people are very traditional with how they see marriage. And it’s what they want. But I believe the only people who get to decide what marriage is are those two people in the marriage. They get to make the rules for their marriage and I think a lot of problems that people have, have to do with traditional rules of marriage and the pressure for it to be a certain way. A man is supposed to do this, a woman is supposed to do that. Or, even if it’s same gender marriage, one has to be the male and one has to be the female, whatever that means. (laughs) I think that causes a whole lot of problems. People follow those traditional rules instead of trying to figure out, or trying to understand who the other person is and work with that.
I was always just really looking at these relationships. I saw physical abuse. Disparity between gender and work. There was a “we’re in this together” mentality that I didn’t see enough of to want to do it. Or it was all Disney, you know. Princesses and diamond rings. But many of the women I saw who had diamond rings and their husbands bought them this and that, and they had the best car – their husbands were cheating on those women. And I thought, so, keep your diamond ring. A lot of women would accept that, though – thinking, I got a diamond ring and I get to drive a fancy car. And all that has to do with economics. They don’t want to be hustling out there, trying to make it. I just felt that, for a long time, that marriages were messed up. From the things I saw I thought, this is some kind of slavery. (laughs) And it felt to me that people who weren’t legally married in that institution seemed happier. Much more at peace with who they were, and are.
I have never been interested in having something sanctioned by the state that I think is personal. I understand the economic reasons for it. I understand… for example, there’s this Supreme Court case with this same sex couple who had been together 40 years, and they had a civil union. Anyway, when her partner died she inherited all this stuff but there was like a million dollar estate tax charged by the government. See when you’re married, you don’t get taxed. So I understand why people want to get married for that reason, but I’ve always seen marriage as something different. Not an economically based thing, but a personal thing that is about me and this other person. And our family.
And I think growing up also, I saw a lot of marriages that were sanctioned by the state and the church, but that I feel were horrible. I’m not as judgmental now the older I’ve gotten, but I’ve seen some things that really didn’t work. People were so taken with, we gotta go to the courthouse and get married or we’ve got to go to the church and get married. If my partner and I decide to do it, it will probably be a big party.
And for me, I’ve been getting clear and thinking about why I didn’t want to get re-married. Because even before I got divorced, what I told myself was, I didn’t know if I would legally get married again but I wouldn’t withhold love. I wouldn’t be like, I don’t want to be with anyone. I felt like I would always be with someone.
I wasn’t done with love. I was done with marriage. Because you can be married and it can be shit. Or you can not be married and it can be great. To me, it ain’t really about the marriage. In my opinion, the marriage is not going to make or break anything. If anything, marriage can make things harder because you have that attachment to the outcome. It becomes about, we gotta show the world we can overcome. Well, I’ve been miserable as fuck. So paper or not, I just want to make sure I have a good relationship. And if I can’t have that, maybe it’s shortsighted but, deuces. Sorry. I’m not gon’ be miserable for the rest of my goddamned life. (laughs)
And I’m not really attached to any religion and I feel like religion plays a huge part in that too. I remember when I was thinking about leaving my husband and I talked to my aunts and different people and they were like, just hold on…And that’s so heavy. The weight of the world, the weight of Jesus on my shoulders! And then it’s like, Jesus sees me crying at night. Jesus sees me miserable as fuck. That was really heavy on me.
But when you continue to be with somebody, you learn more about them. And as you learn more about them as the years go on, you start questioning some things. And there were just some things that I was learning that… I had to ask myself, do I want to be tied to this for the rest of my life? Because I also believe that when you say I do, you should really try to make it be forever. I mean, divorce is expensive. (laughs) It’s expensive, it’s stressful, and I would rather not deal with it.
If we come to the point where we feel that we can no longer make this work, I really want to be able to split amicably and easily. I don’t want to have to sit here and divvy up what belongs to you, what belongs to me, how much money you got to send me… I don’t want to be bothered with any of that. I don’t want to have to go the courts and let them say, ok, let them dissolve their marriage. Why should they be the ones to tell me my relationship is over?
Darn it, if I feel like my relationship is over… and that’s another thing – with that, it puts the government in your business. It’s a legally binding agreement, is what it is. And if at any point you want to sever that legally binding agreement, you got to go see the man. I’m okay on that. I’d rather deal with my own shit in house. So with that, it was like, why do we need to get married then? We can just remain together and that’s just what it is? Why do I have to have a piece of paper to say that I love you?
Now of course everyone doesn’t subscribe to this, clearly. His grandmother still says, I wish you all would get married but I’m not going to say anything. (laughs) Also his cousin isn’t married. They had plans to get married – they announced the engagement and everything – but for whatever reason, they still ain’t tied the knot. And I think its more so her than him. She’s strong willed like that. I think one day she just decided, you know what – I’m good the way this is and I think we’re going to stay right here for a little while. Now his other cousin, once she got herself a man and had a baby, she hurried up and tied the knot. She had other people in her ear, though. Folks saying, they already not doing it right. I think that influenced her decision to go ahead and do it. So they did it, and I hope they’re happy. They seem to be. And I’m not about to get married for the sake of somebody else, either. Just because everyone is all up in your face having kids and tying the knot, I’m good on that. Just because we say I do doesn’t make us happy.