Marriage: the necessary evil

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It happens in fairy tales.
You see it on TV and in movies.
Celebrities and famous people are doing it.
Your friends ask you when you're going to.
Your parents want you to.
The government says it's the building block of society.
It's strange if you have children and you're not.
You can't get tax breaks if you have children and you're not.
People who are not imagine what it's like to be.
People who are would rather not be.

Is marriage necessary?

Is it just a piece of paper or is it something that magically binds 2 people together for eternity?

Who came up with that idea anyway?

I think marriage might just be a necessary evil. Don't be shocked that I'm referring to marriage as "evil"; it's just a figure of speech. It means something that has undesirable qualities but is preferable to its absence.

Initially I tried listing down the desirable qualities followed by the undesirable ones, but when I reached the end of the list, I decided to merge the 2 lists because what's desirable can be seen as undesirable if I look at it from a different angle. Here's the list:

- To register and own a HDB flat in Singapore
- You can combine your income to buy what you can't afford to buy on your own, e.g. car, house
- You can try to borrow money from your spouse and in-laws
- To get tax breaks
- You can get alimony after getting a divorce
- To obtain someone's written commitment to take care of you and be with you
- You don't have to work because now you have someone to live off
- To convince a woman to have your children by committing to take care of her and the children in writing
- To obtain a man's written commitment to take care of the children should you have any of his (or to his knowledge...)
- So that you can start neglecting your looks and grow fat(er)
- So you can have a backup plan in case no other man/woman wants you
- So that your relatives and friends can stop asking you when you're going to get married
- To fulfill your role in society or religious calling (marriage is good for society, keeps people in check and supports the wedding and legal businesses)
- You can brag about your air stewardess / model wife or millionaire husband
- It's romantic
- Everybody's doing it
- To prove that there's nothing so "wrong" with you that you can't find someone to marry you
- You hate eating alone or watching movies alone
- You get a free maid plus free sex
- You can have sex without protection
- You get a free plumber, handyman, exterminator, electrician, etc (too bad you got to offer sex in return)

You may say that marriage offers things that cannot be obtained otherwise such as to have someone waiting at home for you, someone who will always be there for you, someone to share your life with, etc. However, all these can be obtained without marriage; marriage cannot guarantee these. If someone wants to be with you, he/she will be with you regardless of whether there's a signed piece of paper. If someone doesn't want to be with you, a piece of paper or religious blessings are not going to do anything for the relationship.

Despite all that I've written here, I think weddings are romantic and I even cry (tears of joy) at some weddings. I suppose there's a fairy tale idea around love, marriage proposals, weddings and happy-ever-after. Although we all know that reality is far from the fairy tale dream, it doesn't stop most of us from walking down that isle and signing our lives away. It's one of the risks in life that we take in the hope of fulfilling a dream.

8 comments:

David said...

Yu-Kym,

What you have written is very incomplete. Have you researched the role of marriage through history?

Marriage is the GOLD standard for relationships between men and women.

I must state here that I am a Christian. As such for many Christians, and some non-christians the following Bible verse presents the reason for marriage between a man and a women.

Genesis 2

Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.
22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
*********
I present this not to preach but to lay the foundation for an important tradition, that nearly every society, religion and people and codified the importance of marriage.

Beyond the social implications, those of us who are Religous know in our heart and soul, that marriage is a Sacred covenant between a man, women and our Creator. A bond that is stronger than any secular law.

I will trust this will provoke to think more deeply about marriages role in all societies.

I respect your opinion, and if you wish we can continue a discussion off-line.

David

Warren, Michigan
U.S.A.

Yu-Kym said...

Hi David, "Marriage is the GOLD standard for relationships between men and women" based on your religious beliefs. Beliefs are not facts. Of course believers believe these to be facts rather than beliefs.
I used to be a devout Catholic but am no longer (http://yu-kym.blogspot.com/2009/04/catholic-turned-atheist.html). I'm not debating whether your beliefs are right or wrong. I only want to state that I do not have the same beliefs.

Anonymous said...

everything in life will change one day. people change, emotions change, love change, hobbies change etc. how will a piece of paper helps to prevent the change of heart?

David said...

Anonymous,

Change is indeed a fact of life.

A piece of paper does not stop anything.

Consider that if one truly understands love between a man and a women. The concept of giving one another for life is not such a difficult concept to grasp.

When an individual is really looking only for Mr. or Ms. right now, love is very often mistaken for lust. Not the lust one sees acted on TV or movies, but the sexual desires typical of young growing people.

A marriage covanent is far more than a mere contract.

Mature love between a man and wife, goes beyond convenient sex. The friendship and bond between two people devoting thier lives to each, and to offspring is awesome.

David

David

Anonymous said...

Change is imminent in living. We have no direct control of our life but we have our choices in living. A piece of paper does not stop anything. Now, you need to know if you and your partner are both givers or takers, talkers or walkers?

David said...

Yu-Kym,

Here is a link you are sure to find interesting: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17619

It's true: all the taken men are best -

Excerpt:
Women: do you have a man? If you do, better beware. Chances are that some lone female has her eye on him.

A new study provides evidence for what many have long suspected: that single women are much keener on pursuing a man who's already taken than a singleton.

"The single women really, really liked the guy when he was taken," says Melissa Burkley of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, who conducted the "mate-poaching" study with her colleague Jessica Parker.

They asked 184 heterosexual students at the university to participate in a study on sexual attraction and told the volunteers that a computer program would match them with an ideal partner. Half the participants were single and half attached, with equal numbers of men and women in each group.
======================================

Let me know if you read the entire article.

David

Yu-Kym said...

I find this quote interesting: "I don't believe in marriage. I just don't think it's necessary in this day and age. I just think if you need to get married, then you're already distrusting the person. Why do you have to sign something to show your love? You just love, everyday." - Josie Maran (she's a Maybelline and Victoria Secrets model).

David, I'm not surprised at the findings from that study. It's human psychology to think something is good when somebody says it's good. In Singapore, when people see a long queue at a food shop, they will follow and queue too, thinking that the food must be good :P

Anonymous said...

Think of Marriage is a sort of societal glue that binds 2 person to a FAIR deal.
Human beings are social creatures - thus to live in such a habitat, we need some rules in order to predict our behaviour, right?
Otherwise if I take a fancy to some married girl (and vice versa), what is there to stop us from developing an initial respect for each other, to exploring the limits of our mutual / common interests?
I think Yu-Kym - like many young minds liberated from the cultural restrictions of our Asian forebears, are trying to adjust to the different pulls this entails.
Mainstream ideas propagated by the more popular western media, like a woman is no longer castigated if she explore her sexual compatibility/appetite/orientation, etc, are very enticing for a woman to embrace due to its empowerment it gives to woman. (I say ideas from ONLY their popular media because there are many western woman who do not embrace such values).
I have been corrected many times by Western women - there is no such thing as a Western idea! It is mostly ideas propagated by the newspapers, magazines, TV, public debates made popular by various sources coming from the USA.
I say marriage is fair because both parties are willingly subscribing to certain duties and obligations to look out for each other. Marriage requires a great deal of mutual respect, a lot of affection, a lot of self discipline and all 3 aspects of your mental make-up - your emotions, your intellect and your instincts, to preserve a harmonious marriage. These requirements are constantly tried & tested by the ideas bombarding us from our interaction with other members our our society.
Reference to Yu-Kym's other postings, she is exploring the pros and cons of these ideas. At the end of her exploration ( I hope she ignore some of the more lewd prepositions), Y-Kym will have to live with the results/consequences. Whether she will be better or worse is for nobody to judge.
Being strong willed is ok but preferring to be "on top" during an intimate encounter? Unless you are highly skilled in the physical AND psychological aspects of sexual intercourse, it might not led to a satisfying result/climax for both parties.