So I posted a pretty awful story on my Facebook yesterday. You can read it here.
But that's not really what this blog is about. Well, not totally.
So, in the comments, a friend of mine wrote something about how he didn't have a problem with gay couples having the same rights, as long as it wasn't called a marriage. This is actually something I've heard more than once - not at all just from him - and it's something that always perturbed me. It seemed like an issue of semantics more than anything.
But you can't really simplify it that much. You can't, because marriage is a highly personal thing.
I could write the dictionary definition of marriage. I could give you the history of it. I could go on and on about it. I could overload you with facts about it, I could write pages on religion and marriage. I could talk about the belief of many that marriage is an antiquated notion that just allows the government a piece of your love.
But I'm not going to.
How I will start is this: I believe that this country, more than most others, has a very picturesque view of marriage. Girls play brides as toddlers, we talk about getting married, we fantasize about our wedding days. We decide who our bridesmaids will be in high school, sometimes. We hold it up as this amazing, life changing, miraculously romantic event that will turn our lives into roses and flowers and never-ending love and fireworks.
We do ourselves a vast disservice.
We have terribly high divorce rates in this country. And I honestly believe that a huge part of that is the fact that we assume marriage is going to be some amazing event that will make us all whole. That we've found the person we're meant to be with forever, and nothing can change that.
But a lot can change that. In the years you're with someone, you are going to change and grow as a person. Think about it. I'm not even close to the same person at 28 that I was at 25. And 25 year old Star and 20 year old Star were certainly not the same either. Technically, it's the same person. But I had different priorities, different thoughts, different assumptions, different ideals. And five, ten, twenty years from now, I will look back on the me of today and probably say the exact same thing.
It's normal. But when you're in a relationship, one of two things happens. You either grow together, or you grow apart. And, honestly, it's probably easier to grow apart.
Yup, that's the big, giant secret of marriage. Marriage is work. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, it's a lot of compromise and not necessarily doing what you want, and sometimes being really pissed off at the other person. It's realizing that that adorable quirk that he has that was so adorable is actually really fucking annoying. It's running the way you want to spend that tax refund by someone else, it's making your dinner in two portions because you will die without mushrooms but he will vomit if he even sees one, it's making someone else as important as you are, and, sometimes, putting them first even when you don't want to. Honestly? It's easier to be single. Less sacrifice, too.
But I sound pessimistic and cynical, don't I?
Well, I'm not. After a marriage that, believe me, was spectacularly bad at the end, I'm planning to do it allllllll over again. I'm doing it all over again even knowing how hard it is, knowing how much parts of it suck, knowing that I'm taking a huge gamble that statistics say has a higher chance of failing than succeeding.
I'm doing it because of what marriage has become to me. My connotative definition of it.
Marriage is right when you're so pissed off at the person that you seriously want to just throw a brick at them because they're being SO DAMN STUPID and WHY CAN'T THEY JUST UNDERSTAND the REALLY OBVIOUS POINT you're trying to make and they're infuriating you so much that you can't even put it into coherent words - but you still don't think about calling it quits, because you love them and know that eventually, they'll realize how dumb they are. (Or, ok, you *might* be overreacting. A tiny, tiny bit. Maybe.)
Marriage is right when they're talking about something that you really have no interest in - in fact, it bores you about as much as, say, reading Dentistry Today, and, also, they're using so much jargon that you maybe understand every other word anyways - yet, you honestly make an effort to pay attention and note some of it, because you can see that gleam in their eyes and tell how totally important it is to them. And you know that this is them sharing something with you that, to them, is really special.
Marriage is right when you have the option of going out on a Saturday night but you really just want to stay home and play video games or watch a movie with them.
Marriage is right when you can be the person you truly are in front of them, with no stupid pretenses. When they can make you feel just as sexy when you're in jeans and a t-shirt with bad hair as when you're in stilettos and a hot outfit. When they buy you a present that you know damn well they thought was ridiculous and unnecessary, yet, because you wanted it, you got it. When they really, truly listen to your dreams and don't discourage them - although they may not give you the perfect, rose-colored glasses view of them, they believe that you can do it despite the adversity. When you know that if something horrible and tragic happened, you could be there for them. When you know that you don't get to take only your own opinion to make important steps, and you know theirs will sometimes be totally different, and yet you're ok with that. When you can look beyond the white dress and veil and know that after the honeymoon period, you will, absolutely, hit horrible, rocky patches at some point and that one (but probably both) of you will act in a way that is just not cool at all and there will be times that everything is terribly hard and frustrating but, even knowing all those things, you can't think of anyone else you'd rather weather all of that with - well, then, that's the right kind of feelings for a successful marriage.
None of that has to do with sexuality at all. It has to do with love, commitment, unselfishness, and a willingness to work. I firmly believe that straight OR gay people can have a successful marriage, just like straight OR gay people can probably royally screw a marriage up. And I'm aware that my definition and yours, or your pastor's, or your friend's, or your family's, are probably totally different. But *your* definition is only my business if I have an interest in marrying you. (And I don't, I'm off the market, lol.) The only people who should have the inherent right to decide whether to turn their relationship into a marriage are the people in it. Those are the only important ones in the equation.