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1:59 p.m. - 2011-05-01
Popping the Question.

More wedding-y stuff. My friend, Ms?, who shall remain anonymous, is slowly circling in on serious thoughts about marriage. In this case it would absolutely be a marriage of choice. No familial obligations or expectations to satisfy. No "Marry me or we're through" ultimatums from her beloved. No birth control-failure progeny making an unexpected arrival. Not even a need to pool financial resources, she makes a damn fine living and takes care of herself very well. So then. If you don't need to get married, why do it? And what would such a marriage look like? What would change for them after jumping the broom? Aside from some tax goodies and making stuff like life insurance beneficiaries and medical proxies go more smoothly any benefit they'd get from being married would be wholly on them to recognize and enjoy.

Something that to me is both very complicated and yet dead simple. Complicated because, like for me and so many of us, Ms?'s growing up years were hard and nasty and the adults in her life made an unholy mess out of their relationships. So we've got the downside to marriage woven into our psyches. We live with the scars and the leftover garbage. We know how to screw it up, no prob. The hurts, the failure, all the painful shit that's swirled into our feelings about marriage like toxic M&Ms in our emotional McFlurry.

Yet it's simple. By plumping down and saying, "I choose you, Pikachu!" you've just answered a bazillion questions. In choosing to marry you give yourself and your mate a place to BE. You've made the ground zero from where all the other decisions go outward from. Choosing to be with each other takes a ton of complicated stuff off the table. Right, wrong. Good, bad. You're committed to making a go of it with just that one person and this streamlines things exponentially. In our society, especially among the men, there's this idiot sorrow in that getting married you've just closed the door on all this great stuff and you've missed out. Oh, the opportunities lost!

Bullshit.

Committing to making a life with someone frees you. You've just made the biggest decision and now have a framework to build on. You've set the foundation. There's something to measure against. You've taken the freefall out of the endless directions to go in and landed. And that's not a bad thing at all.

(Look, I'm speaking of why to get married here and not making a blanket statement that the Noah's Ark Two-by-Two is the only way to live a meaningful life. So off my case if you're ready to come in guns blazing over the joys of being single. We're all cool. I am speaking of my own thoughts and perhaps helping my friend clarify some things I know she's been thinking about A LOT. 'Kay? Right, then.)

You know what else is good about marrying? It's flattering. It's a shot to the ego you get to have over and over again. It says, "I love you enough to be with you forever. I like the 'me' I am with you. Being with you is precious to me and I am wanting to give it everything I've got. And I trust you feel the same way." It says, "I'm here with you. Not Tom, Dick, Harry, Larry, Curly or Moe, it's you. And I'm glad."

That's a pretty damn awesome thing to give to each other, no?

Is this abstract romantic stuff that oftentimes gets lost beneath the crud of reality? Of his toenail clippings on the bathroom floor and her spending the season ticket money on yet another goddamn pair of Jimmy Choo's? Sure. For my own self are there times I want to flee my house and take up a quiet life of solitude on a mountain in Tibet? Yup. Are there other times I'd happily open Mick's thick Irish skull with a bat and delightedly tumble his carcass into the compost bin? Yes, again.

But Life's like that about everything. There's days when you walk out to your car after work and have gleeful revenge fantasies about keying your boss's Porsche, slipping some Ex-Lax into the office coffee pot, and telling Client X that she makes the Wicked Witch of the West look like a saintly prom queen. Days when (if you've got them) you'd happily send your kids to school and move across the country while they're gone and leave no forwarding address. When a trip to the grocery is akin to visiting the sixth gate of Hell. And when looking at your bod in a full-length mirror gives you thoughts about Swamp Thing, shar peis, and whether an eating disorder would really be such a bad thing.

Yeah, and? There's just as many other days when you know you've done a great job, when clients and bosses sing your praises, when your kids climb into your lap and plant sticky kisses on your face, when you find something absolutely yummy for dinner and it's on sale to boot, and when you tip a happy salute to that babe in the mirror and know to your bones that you're gorgeous.

Marriage is the same damn thing. Times when you're out somewhere and holding hands as you navigate through a crowd feels so good! When you're cold and lonely and fighting off the flu and miraculously there's a warm mug of soup in front of you and someone's tucking a blanket around your shoulders. When you're facing something hard and sad and scary and it's such a comfort you're not facing it alone. When that commercial comes on TV and your guy does that dopey dance to the annoying jingle and it makes you laugh every time. When you're hesitant about trying something you've always wanted to try and he tells you to stop being such a wuss and go for it and is there cheering when you get your degree, cross the finish line, frame the picture you painted, when you've met that fear and doubt head-on and, by God, done it! And no one is prouder than he is.

Well, that's why you get married. That's what makes the toenails and the bills and the snoring and all the shit you learned about cruelty and fear and damage during your growing up years seem small and kind of dumb.

Leaps of faith are truly the only kind of leaps worth taking. Nothing is guaranteed, but isn't the payoff worth the risk?


I think so. I know so. I do, I do, I do. ~LA

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