My mom has been married four times. My dad was married three times. My oldest sister is going through a divorce, and another sister is getting married next month — for the second time. My boyfriend's parents are each on their second marriage. In my core friendship group in high school, every single one of our parents was separated, divorced, or going through a divorce.
Do you see a pattern here? I do.
The pattern, based on my lived experiences, is that marriage equals divorce. Now, obviously this isn't always the case, but statistically, marriage sucks. (Even my personal anecdotes show that.)
After seeing everything I've seen, I could never, ever want to get married, right? Wrong. I totally want to get married, even after all the marriages I've seen fall apart and all the problems I see within the institution of marriage itself. I'm not blind to the flaws in the system; I'm just optimistic.
Logically, I know that marriage is a tad archaic. Women are no longer property — nor should we have ever been — to be traded between their fathers and their husbands. I'm a Christian-ish, but I don't remember the last time I stepped foot in a church (sorry, God…and Dad). I don't want to get married because of that. I just think it would be a nice thing to do. Also, I'm really into weddings.
I know what you're thinking: Does this girl realize that a wedding and a marriage are not one in the same? Yes, I know, you should be focused on the actual marriage, not the wedding itself, and there are many stories about how damaging it can be to focus on the "big day" and not the big "rest of your life." Rushing into a wedding for the sake of a wedding can lead to one beautiful memory and a life in which you're forever unfulfilled and miserable. Of course, this is only an issue if you think of marriage as a huge, life-changing event.
And, honestly, I just don't see it that way.
My boyfriend and I have been together for four years and have lived together for two (we did one year long distance). Our relationship is pretty much that of an old married couple already. Say Josh and I get married. Would our relationship really change that much? I feel like it wouldn't. Then again, I've never been married, so what do I know?
In this day and age of living together and joint bank accounts, is marriage that far of a step forward? (Not that you asked, but I feel as though I should clarify: We have a joint bills account. We don't share our money outside of that. Although, my hair appointments count as bills, right?)
Josh is technically my de facto partner. That's how it works in Australia after you've been living together for more than 12 months. That means we are each other's next of kin. We have the same rights as a couple as anyone with a marriage certificate.
I think of marriage as a declaration of love. If that love doesn't last forever, so be it. I like the idea of having an amazing party with your loved ones to declare your feelings for another person — and eat great food. (Buffet style, obviously. FYI, there is nothing tacky about unlimited food. It is a beautiful thing. You're tacky.)
Some people may have four of those parties, with four different loves, and I think it's beautiful that you can feel that way about someone, even after having your heart broken. So, if you've been divorced and want to get married again, more power to you!
Might I take this opportunity to add that my mum is currently on her PB, as she would call it? Yes, this marriage is her Personal Best, and that is awesome. If you love someone and you want to have a huge ceremony to celebrate it or you want to elope or you want to do nothing at all, that is great! I have decided to be proud of the fact that I want to get married — how beautiful is the idea of professing your absolute and irreverent faith in your love for another human being and your desire to grow old with them?
Don't worry, I'm not saying that you should get married, I've just come to the conclusion that I think marriage is for me. If I get married and it doesn't work out, at least I had a kick-ass buffet, because that, my friends, is one love that I know will never die.