Isn’t it funny how being committed can mean two totally different things? (Actually I am constantly amused by the large number of English words that have totally different and often unrelated meanings!)
This past year has seen a fair share of weddings. The ceremonies that officiate a marriage. Ceremonies that are extremely important not only to the pair entering said union but, equally, to their families and closer friends. In fact, it seems to me, that often the ceremony is given far more importance than the marriage itself.
It isn’t difficult to see why. This society has been fixated with outer appearances, superficiality, for many a century now.
Then there’s the influence of religion. Rules and regulations that dictate the manner and means by which a marriage contract is entered into. Rules and regulations that are the basis for the wedding.
I shunned formal religion at a very young age and, while I strive to hold my place in society, its superficiality has never held much appeal for me. The foolish and shallow rules. The needs. Getting married, for example.
Let’s make a distinction here. There the whole getting married thing. The fancy dressed couple, the wedding, all the religious blah-blah, the celebration… Well, I could quite enjoy the celebration. Then, there’s the actual marriage. The core relationship, the union, the friendship and the love bond that a couple form.
That bond isn’t created by a wedding, which many, particularly of my culture, seem to think. Of course, this is a culture that sold of daughters before the tenth birthday and arranged the date of a couple’s wedding before said couple started teething. In some cases, they probably still do.
A couple could be “married”, could be bonded, should be bonded long before the wedding takes place. If you weren’t betroth, promised by each other to each other, before the wedding, why should you be after? This should seem an obvious statement. Yet, from my observings, such isn’t the case. People are more estranged in this society. More alone. And many seem to think that marriage will change that. Make them whole.
Not all, mind. But enough to cause me wonder.
I am a romantic sort, in a manner. I would care to believe in forever love. That doesn’t mean forever companion. To be one’s companion, especially in romance, one must share a similar direction with one’s partner. Sharing values and interests help as well. But, for sure, to have two people travelling in separate direction and still claiming to be married, well, that’s a lie not worth living. And that’s not to say there is no love left, it means simply that their travel together is at its end.
Marriage is not a commitment. It is a choice between two people (well, maybe more, but let’s not over complicate the issue; this is still a very primitive society) to share a leg of their life’s journey. And if that leg turns out to be til journey’s end, well, so much the better. A wedding does not guarantee, not obligate, those people to stay on the same track, to hold a promise to each other, bound til only death is allowed to part them. To marry is not to forsake your will. To marry is not to surrender your life.
To marry is to say, one to the other, that so much love do they hold, that they wish that, for now, and perhaps, for ever more, they will walk together, being their own person, living their own lives, but sharing that life. It is the highest level of friendship one can aim for. To my mind.