Saturday, July 17, 2010
I was looking at my husband last night...in the dark...right after we had fallen into bed. For a moment, I felt a question forming on my lips, "How would you define marriage?" I wanted to ask. I heard the immediate heavy breathing that finds him so quickly this time of year, and I stopped myself from asking. It's not a time for those philosophical discussions; the ones I love so much and that can last into the wee hours of the morning. It was a wee hour of the morning. He had been working, and I had been hanging out with him...actually I should say I was hanging out "by" him. But I laid for a while pondering how I define marriage. I fell asleep too quickly to come up with a good definition. But when I woke up this morning...I kept thinking about it.
A definition of marriage, according to Bing, is: a legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony, between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners.
Marriage is a noun. It is not something you do, it is a state of being. I find it interesting that in the above definition, the word "intend" is used. Brilliant. It is a marriage as long as there is intent. As soon as a member of the couple no longer intends to be a sexual partner or to shack up domestically, the marriage is beginning to break. We intend to be sexual partners...at a point in time when our three kids are not sleeping soundly at the other end of our room, and we also intend to re-establish our relationship as domestic partners. So I guess we are in a marriage, by random online definition standards.
The word "married" does not further my understanding of what our relationship is. According to Bing, married is an adjective and it means, having a spouse. Great. So yes, I guess I have one of those. I am indeed a married woman.
My personal definition is still formulating, and my desire for more time to hash it out with my spouse is still there. I will ask him in the next few days what his definition of marriage is, and I'll report back about his response. Maybe by then I'll have a definition that more fully explains what I think about it too. For now, I'll just intend to be his partner.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I recently read an article, Do All Men Cheat?, and I can't seem to shake my opinion about this one. I thought I would vent a little here in a warm-up to my book-writing session today.
Anyone who follows my blogs, or my life, knows that I have a somewhat unique marital arrangement. (more unique than most, I should say). We spend weeks and even months away from each other, and even when we are living in the same place, we spend quite a bit of our time apart. "That's a recipe for disaster..." I can hear the naysayers warning. "How can he get enough if you are not with him?", and "Not getting enough leads to trouble!!" I cannot seem to shake this part of the internal chatter spurred by the recent article. (written from the perspective of the mistress, mind you)
There seems to be a movement excusing men from extra-marital activities, arguing that they simply have an insatiable desire for women, and one wife cannot satisfy their needs. Monogamy is a construct of religion, but not the way that people would operate otherwise, I have heard people say. I completely and wholeheartedly disagree. Marriage is a social and religious construct, yes, but the effectiveness of its presence in society cannot be denied. My opinion about marriage is personal, but there is some science behind my defense of monogamy. Scientists have found that happily married women are the happiest kind of women there are. Health, both mental and physical, are improved when men and women are committed to a monogamous relationship, and length of life and quality of life are both bi-products of monogamy.
I have no problem with men who know that they cannot keep their zippers zipped and who find life too boring without the thirty-one flavors...there is a place for you in the world. My issue is with the men who agree to make a monogamous relationship work, and then cop out of their commitment because they want a younger and firmer flavor. It is not excusable man behavior, it is chicken. It takes real work to keep things interesting, and although men may have picked vanilla and sometimes don't feel like vanilla, it is more manly to dress it up with some flavorful toppings, and stick with what they promised to love.
My husband and I are human too, and we have our needs, most definitely, but we have both committed to one another, to this relationship and to our children, and miraculously we are disciplined enough to wait until we are back together. Simply put, it matters not where we get our appetite, just that we come home to eat...that is what we promised to do!