Friday, June 24, 2005

Hoe's thoughts on marriage...

I've been married for 14 years. That's not a record or anything, but it has outlasted most of my friends' marriages. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about all the ups and downs and good and bad times, but you know that in 14 years we've pretty much seen it all. What I will do here is explain my philosophy on marriage.

The reason I'm doing this is because I've been reading the website Daily Confession (link to the right somewhere) for some time now, and I've noticed a trend in how people think of marriage. There are many cheating confessions, and invariably the people who 'talk back' (I'm vicious_m, btw) condemn anyone who confesses to straying from their vows of 'faithfulness.' Just yesterday there was a confession from a woman who said she had been cheating on her husband because he refused to do anything to improve their sex life. Most of the 'talk backs' were along the lines of 'how can you forget your solemn vows?' or 'divorce him' or 'you're going to burn in hell' or 'talk to him or go to therapy' or 'get a dildo/vibrator' and so on. But this was my response:

"Let this be a lesson to all those 'no sex before marriage' types. Sex is a very important part of a marriage. If your partner refuses to participate in a better sex life then see what happens? You don't buy a car without test driving it. I wouldn't marry someone without knowing that we had great sex. There is more to being a faithful spouse than not having sex with other people. To be a faithful spouse you have to care about the other person's needs and honor all the OTHER vows you've made. This lady's husband isn't any more faithful to his vows of love, cherish, etc. than she is. There is rarely only one 'bad guy' in these situations."

I've italicized the part that is most important to me. I'm not advocating, defending, or encouraging cheating. But I am saying that people lose sight of the whole when they focus only on that one aspect of their vows. I don't know what vows everyone made when they married, but most marriage vows cover more than just sexual fidelity. There's usually something in there about staying together 'for better or worse.' When you say that you don't know what 'worse' might be. I guess over the years I've become more secure and less worried about what 'worse' means to me. At this point in my life I can think of worse things that could happen than infidelity.

Marriage is a partnership. And there are constant changes in the priorities and issues of a lifelong relationship. Sometimes marriage is more of an economical arrangement that ensures the security of a family. Sometimes it is more of a romantic connection between two people. It can be all of that together, but it's unrealistic for people to expect that it will always be everything. There will be disappointments and sadness. You can't escape that in life. There will be human weaknesses and errors. There should be forgiveness and remorse. Why do people think they make marriage vows anyway? It's to say that you choose to stay in this partnership no matter what may happen. (I know there are good reasons for divorce. I'm not saying there aren't. And I'm not dissing anyone who has divorced.) To put one particular vow over all the others is silly to me. And that's what people do with the 'faithfulness' vow. As I said in my talk-back to yesterday's confession, there is more to being a faithful spouse than just not having sex with other people.

The best pre-marital advice I ever got was that love doesn't keep a marriage together, commitment does. I know that with all my heart. If I wasn't such a stubborn old goat I probably would be telling a different story.

8 comments:

gina said...

I heartily agree. It's well known (if not accepted) that it takes 2 to make or break any marriage. Funny, I don't take you for a stubborn old goat, more a vivacious and spunky woman. :)

madman said...

Damn- You seem passionate about the subject. I've been married for 23 years and I just have two reasons for making it this long.The Sex ACT ain't done until she says its done-- AND fried food. I give her what she wants and she cooks what I want. OH--and no one else would have my tired old ass. Thanks for the poetic lyrics on the music blog--I was touched!

mr_g said...

I love your perspective...very on!

I've been married five years (in about a week). I waited until I was 35 to get married because I just wasn't ready until then.

After 2 yrs of marriage, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. There were many trials throughout these past three years, but that "better or worse" think has stuck in my head every time I'd ask myself why I'm still here. We've come a long way in that time...and she's cancer free, thank God...and I've learned a lot about dealing with the "worse" part. I think too many people marry before they're ready or for the wrong reasons. Getting divorced should be easy; getting married should be work! It would prepare people for what's to come...and I don't mean that in a sarcastic way...which is odd for me!

gina said...

Massachusetts right now is working on legislation to make it harder for people to get divorced. My cynic mindc wonders what that will do to the homicide rate...

Rae Ann said...

gina, the stubborn old goat thing means that I don't give up on things easily (even things that I probably should give up), and I'm sure you're right about the homicide rate.

madman, I'm sure your tired old ass is just fine. But that's how I feel these days too. My best years are probably past and Mr. got them.

mr g, as always you say things so much better than I do. Glad to hear your wife has beat cancer. That's definitely a 'worse' thing to have to deal with.

Nick Danger said...

What holds Mrs. Danger and I together is good pot, good sex, and the Christian model of marriage. The pot does wonders for our daily relations. When we get high we will stop arguing about all the unimportant stuff. Like most couples I have a stronger sex drive than my wife. Mrs Danger is aware of that and she does a great job of servicing me between me giving it to her proper. Also we fuck like porn stars. This brings me to the model of marriage provided by Christ and his church. Many are turned off by the absolute subservience of a wife to her husband. I can understand why. What many of those people are doing is only seeing at half the picture. A husband must make his wife’s well being and happiness more important than his own. This is no minor detail. It is a major undertaking that can never be fully achieved, only strived for. If a husband can be successful at placing his wife before himself in all aspects of his life THEN, she can become subservient to him. This is what Christians are talking about when they say that Christ gave himself up for her (her: referring to his church). A husband must give himself (and his toys and such) for his wife. Of coarse I am not able to forget myself completely and think only of Mrs. Danger just as she would never be totally subservient to my every whim. Still it is the direction we try to go together, in love.

Rae Ann said...

Mr Danger, our marriage is also based on that Christian model of that you describe. In fact, that was part of our ceremony. But I think of it less in terms of subservience but as a true partnership where each person has their particular role. I think of it in terms of a business. In a successful business partnership the people involved usually don't do the exact same jobs, but they each do what is best suited to them and their abilities, etc. It's the same in marriage. Mister is more equipped and better at providing for and supporting the family, while I'm more equipped and better at maintaining the home and caring for our children, etc. Another one of our vows was that our 'worldly goods' were equally shared. Again, that's an important part of any successful partnership. Equality shouldn't be 'seen' but should be 'felt.' I hope that makes sense the way I mean it. And certainly pot helps me not be so uptight and worried about things. Mister is naturally like that and doesn't need pot to get there.

Cal said...

Years late and a few dollars short... This if for anyone who stumbles across this article... This is total bull! Rarely 1 bad guy? I can agree with that, but saying that a man who refuses to change up things in the bedroom is being unfaithful is a little far. This is what I called forced shared responsibility or the "he didn't give me what I wanted therefore my negative actions are his fault" syndrome. Get over yourself. I don't care how unhappy someone is making you, cheating on them makes YOU the EXCLUSIVE bad guy here. Batman's actions may have made created villains like the Joker, but Batman isn't responsible for the crimes commited by him. Therefore a husband lack of sexual effort, isn't the same thing as dropping his wife off at the neighbor's house for sceduled sex sessions. Your actions are your own. That woman who cheated, she was wrong, her husband on the otherhand, wasn't even on trial.