Saturday, January 29, 2011

What is Marriage?

I’m sure Wikipedia has the long, convoluted, partially correct answer, but since four years of college and another four years of trying to decipher Google’s Terms of Service have damaged my brain, I am now incapable of understanding definitions beyond “Duh”.

Sometimes I get the impression that marriage is a legally binding agreement that allows individuals to demand that their partners, who have future plans of hiding from obligation in the Swiss Alps, listen to the now classic song “Financial Support” by Kevin Federline. Those who actually have partners who cooperate fully may alternatively use their documents to gain express access to their rights and benefits and to those of their children, financial or otherwise, from legal institutions.

That inaccurate definition is the result of two decades of watching friends and family hit their heads against marriage contracts that have the physical attributes of paper but the internal qualities of concrete. I’m certain that if I said that in one of my six theology classes in college, I would have never been given my diploma.

Quite recently, this simplistic perspective has expanded a bit thanks to Vilma Santos. In one of her movies she complains to her partner that the reason why he is compelled by his parents to provide for their needs first rather than hers is because his parents bank on the fact that they aren’t married. That implies that if they were married, she would have had the right to demand that she and their kids be the first in his list of concerns.

I pretty much put my ear against closed doors or watch quarreling neighbors with a popcorn bucket in one arm. I remember one woman very close to home echo a similar line, “Why do you always go home to your parents when they call for you? Don’t they know we’re married?”

Actually, the couples I know fight in very public places where they prefer to spill their guts and all the gory details of their disastrous unions. What I gather from them pretty much verifies the truth behind Vilma’s lines.

So that means I can now turn to my husband and demand that aside from surrendering his wallet, assets and die cast car collection to me, he is now required to prioritize my demands because we have a marriage contract. Sweet.


  1. Huh, what a coincidence. We were just discussing marriage in gender relations class last week and our teacher asked us point blank what our reasons were for wanting to get married someday. Of course all the people in class answered:

    Then our teacher said, but why? Can't you stil love each other without marriage?

    Then we thought it over again and said:

    Teacher: Still can have that without marriage.

    Teacher: That too.

    Teacher: Oh so marriage is just a way to keep two people in an institution then?

    Class: Uh...

    Needless to say, it opened our eyes to marriage as really more of a romantic notion and social construct.


  2. ehehehe. I was really trying to avoid saying that outright Mary. I'm really concerned that one day my old school will disown me. wahahaha

    to be honest, the way marriage works for me now? it really is a very convenient way to get my kids the legal benefits they need to live comfortably... eepz


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