Where Logic Meets Love

Checking In On "What Marriage Means to Me"

Monday, March 26, 2012

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I don't have a What Marriage Means to Me post for today, but I do have a few more that should be coming down the pike soon! I thought this would be a good time to check in and reflect on the series so far.

Anyone can contribute, so please, please get in touch if you're interested in participating. The interpretation of the theme is up to you. So far we've had married individuals talk about why they decided to get married, how their view of marriage moved from idealism to realism over time, the effect that big life events have on a marriage, and lessons learned over 13 years of marriage. We've also had single individuals discuss why they want to get married and why marriage seems like a better idea now than it used to.

If the "What Marriage Means to Me" prompt is too broad for you, here are some potential questions to get you thinking:

If you're married...
  • Why did you and your partner decide to get married?
  • How did getting married change your relationship, if at all?
  • Did you choose to have a legal marriage, a sacramental marriage, or both? Why did you make that choice?
  • What about marriage has surprised you?
  • How has your "definition" of marriage changed from when you were first married (or from before you got married)?
  • What lessons have you learned so far in your marriage?
  • How do you see your relationship as different from unmarried couples, if at all?
  • How is your marriage different from other marriages you know?

If you're in a long-term unmarried partnership...
  • Do you want to get married? Why or why not?
  • How do you think your relationship would change, if at all, if you got married?
  • How do other people in your life view your partnership? Do you think that would be different if you were married?
  • How would you "define" marriage?
  • How do you see your relationship as different from married couples, if at all?
  • If there are structural or cultural barriers that prevent you from marrying your partner, what would it mean to you to have those dismantled?

If you're single...
  • Do you want to get married? Why or why not?
  • Has your desire to get married or not get married changed over time?
  • If you have a desire to be married someday, what do you think primarily drives that desire? (e.g., religion, family, friends, culture, individual wants)
  • What do you see as an "ideal" marriage? Who are your models for a good marriage?
  • How is your life different from your married friends (positive or negative)?
  • How do you think your life would be different if you were married? How would it be the same?

These are just what I came up with off the top of my head, so please see them as inspiration and not limits!

Finally, I'd love if you'd take a minute and share your thoughts on the series with me in comments or via e-mail. Have you read all, some, or none of the posts? Do you like or dislike the series? Are there any specific perspectives you'd like to see? I know that I would personally be interested in hearing from someone who had an arranged marriage, from someone whose family disapproved of their marriage, from someone in a long-term polyamorous relationship (like this one), and from someone who has chosen not to marry (in a partnership or not).

The idea for the series was actually sparked by a conversation with a friend of mine who has promised to write a post for it. I am excited that his post will add both a male perspective and the perspective of someone in a same-sex relationship.

One more note: I'm changing up my posting schedule. I will (hopefully) continue to have What Marriage Means to Me posts every Monday, and then I will share my own posts on Wednesday and Friday mornings. I'm trying to be more purposeful about keeping Sunday as a day of rest, and spending several hours on Sundays writing a post isn't conducive to that. I may still have occasional posts on days other than Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (e.g., Three Books on Thursday will still be the first Thursday of every month).

Please get in touch and share your thoughts on the marriage series or anything else! I love hearing from you!

10 comments:

  1. I love this series. I'm engaged and love reading about why people got married. I'll participate more in the comments now (I know how much comments mean to me!)

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear you're enjoying it! I'm sure the contributors would appreciate getting more comments, and of course you are also welcome to contribute a post if you'd like!

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  2. As a single girl who has several bad relationships in my past, this is a lot to think about. I've loved a man who said he didn't believe in marriage. This hurt my heart and ended our relationship. I felt like it was a cop-out and like this person would never tell the world that I was the one and only woman in his life forever.

    His argument, however, was hard to battle with logic. It was upsetting that I didn't feel like I could just say "I just want you to WANT to marry me, just because!"

    He insisted, as many do, that it was based on an outdated tradition, that it means nothing but hassle and pomp & circumstance now, etc. But wanted to feel like I was worth those things. I wanted to feel like I was worth the hassle and the pomp n' circumstance. I had to ask, am I wrong?

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    1. You're not wrong. And you've hit on one of the many reasons I created this series. There is no one single definition of marriage; I believe it means whatever a couple wants it to mean. I don't believe that a man can truthfully say to a woman, "Your definition of marriage is wrong" any more than a straight couple can say that to a gay couple. If that kind of a commitment has meaning to two people, whether for spiritual or emotional or legal reasons, then that meaning is true for those people.

      I think that if two people in a relationship have different definitions of marriage or desires for marriage, then it's important to work that out in a way that respects both individuals' views on the matter. There is no one right answer to the question of whether you should get married or what marriage means to a relationship. And so your feelings on the subject should always be respected by anyone who's worth being with, even if he doesn't agree. That's my two cents.

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    2. man. it's weeks later and I'm still so hung up on this post. I'd love it if we could have a conversation about it.
      What DOES marriage mean to me? BRAIN HURT.

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    3. Shoot me an e-mail and let's Skype sometime.

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  3. I've enjoyed the series, especially when the story is from someone who is single or in a non-traditional relationship, or who has had a strikingly different experience than I have. (Sidenote: LOVED the article about the polyamorous relationship!) I've thought about writing but I don't know what I'd write yet. :) I'll think about it!
    -Missy

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    1. Great! I'd love to have you contribute :) I am also enjoying seeing the variety of perspectives and hope to continue to be able to bring unique views to the series.

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  4. I'm not sure I have anything to add (yet) that would be that different from some of the other posts. However it did remind me of two posts a friend of mine wrote recently about marriage which I thought were pretty great if you're interested in reading:

    You will always marry the wrong person: http://learninginthegripofgrace.com/?p=568
    Your job is to fall in love with who they become: http://learninginthegripofgrace.com/?p=570

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Your thoughts matter, so join in the conversation! Disagreements are welcome, but please stay respectful and open-minded with your comments.

I reply to almost all comments, so check back here soon!

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