My parents have just divorced, sold the family home, and gone their separate ways. As the eldest child I have sat in the middle, counselling both sides, holding everything together, and generally been listened to and ignored by people who think they have it all under control. Here are a few things I have learned from this experience.
1. Marriage Is Not About Love
As my father has moved swiftly into a new relationship there has been a lot of talk about remarriage. This need to be married, to have a marriage that works. Nowhere has anybody mentioned Love. Not once have I heard “I have fallen madly in love”, instead it has been “I want to remarry”. Is this the institution that Christianity has been trying to protect from “the gays”? When my gay friends talk about marriage, they speak of it as a conclusion not a premise. They say “I love this person so much I want to spend the rest of my life with them, therefore we want to get married.” All I have heard in this situation is “I want to be married therefore we shall marry.” What is so sacred about a marriage for marriage sake?
2. Walk In The Light… Except When That Might Cause You Difficulty
In Christianity there is an idea about walking in the light, living in truth. But when it comes crunch time there are other apparently more important considerations, such as “what will people think?” The impact of a new marriage on people’s perceptions, is it too soon? What kind of fallout will there be? It seems there is no consideration of whether those concerns might be founded, and thus whether it might be prudent to wait, simply that the truth must be concealed for the sake of all involved. What does that say of integrity? Am I to conclude that the truth is not always the best policy?
3. The Law is the Law Except When It Is Inconvenient
In New Zealand Law there is a mandatory 2-year separation period before divorce papers may be signed. I have been endlessly hassled over my anti-authoritarian inclinations, beliefs around unjust laws swept aside under the assertions of Law as being crucial to a civilised society. But when in this case it was inconvenient to moving on into a new marriage, the 2 year period was foregone and the Magistrate lied to, and divorce papers signed the day they left the family home. None of the reasons for this mandatory period were given proper consideration, it obviously seemed ok to simply do what was convenient instead of following any due process. The same due process I have been hounded to follow my entire adult life.
4. Marriage Is About Aligned Beliefs
To follow on from what marriage is not about (Love), it seems that what it is about is aligning with somebody who will not challenge you. Somebody who will reinforce everything you believe, even if that means you never grow as a person. Put your blinkers on, rationalise everything, and find someone who can justify things the same way you do so that married life is simple and you are never challenged, nor ever have to face your demons, your shadow, or your part in the demise of your previous marriage. This Christian institution of a whole with no moving parts that must be protected at all costs from the sinners. It bears pointing out that “marriage” is not a Christian word. It is a Latin word meaning “to join” just as the marriage of two metals is an alloy. So when the Christian lobby fights to “protect the sanctity of marriage” they are claiming the exclusive right to join two things. I have friends who are welders who might beg to differ.
5. Marriage Is Basically Bullshit
All power to those who still believe, who hold the idealistic premise of true love, soul mates, a functional union of two souls, two people into something greater than themselves. But it is worthless. It is a unit of economic policy. It is a union in the eyes of the courts. It is a certificate. Congratulations, you didn’t win anything but here is your certificate of participation. It isn’t worth anything, but here you are anyway, snaps for Al.