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Marriage: A Word

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 210
I have an unconventional relationship with my grandfather. He is a soulful man, 80-years-young, and I love discussing things like religion and love—even sex—with him.

One night I told him about my boyfriend, whom I have been together with for nearly three and a half years. Justin and I are high school sweethearts, and every day he makes me a better person. My grandfather considered this, and told me, “When you marry him, you’ll be with him forever. Pease’s marry for love.”

Marriage has always carried a heavy connotation in my mind. I had never really thought about “marriage” as a word—but that’s just what it is. Marriage: a noun—an idea. When you marry someone, you are committing your life to that person. (Not 55 hours, Britney.) Marriage is, much like other rites in life, a responsibility. Marriage isn’t a childhood toy you can toss away after you get bored with it. It requires serious consideration. If you want to think of it plainly, marriage is a legal contract. There is more work involved than “happily ever after” (although that is certainly one of the perks).

On the other hand, marriage is a victim of commoditization. Since when has a ceremony become more important than the very definition of marriage—the celebration of two person’s love? Television is bombarded by wedding shows where the most important part of the day is not the act of marriage, but how much the dress cost, where the ceremony takes place, how many people show up, what color the flowers are, and so on. Bridezillas spend the TV show wailing about how everything went wrong, but did it really? You were bonded to the person you love, today. Doesn’t that count for something?

I don’t care much for the religious undertones in the word marriage. Words don’t belong to certain groups of people, and so there is no reason for the religious to “triumph” the non-religious in the gay marriage debate. If a man wants to marry a man, so be it. These men exhibit the very same qualifications that straight couples do for marriage—love, commitment, and compromise. Religion has no place in a social or legal institution like marriage.

Marriage is just a word. And whether or not you abide by social norms by participating in a flowery ceremony doesn’t matter. Marriage is just as readily affirmed by a drive-through priest in Las Vegas (as my close friend Laura learned in August), or by a city official in a town court, or simply by spending your life with the one you love.

Marriage is an idea, and should be shared between two people in love, forever.
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Comment by Britt

Joined: 5/20/2009
Posts: 35
You raise some really poignant and interesting points here. I like your idea that marriage is more than just the ceremony, but a commitment. It's very true. And I'm glad you believe in marriage as an act of love rather than religion. My only problem with your idea is that I feel you've romanticized marriage a bit much. I don't think that's anything too bad, certainly you should hope marriage will be a very good thing, but I'd keep in mind that you ARE committing yourself to a (hopefully since this is what you expressed) life-long relationship with another person. It's like giving your life away to see the same person everyday until you die. I don't think it's always a "happily ever after" just because there's no such thing as everlasting happiness. That aside, keep rocking those deep thoughts.
Posted: Saturday, February 19, 2011 6:56:49 PM
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Comment by bugcandy

Joined: 11/5/2008
Posts: 286
Great essay, Michelle. While you made the finalist round, you can't're our intern. :)

Your boss,

Presient & CEO,
Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011 4:53:09 PM
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