I had mixed feeling about writing this particular blog, but I felt obligated to, so here goes. As some of you may be aware, my girlfriend Megan and I are now officially engaged, and we plan on being married shortly. This may come as a surprise, seeing as I’ve been vocal here on the site before about how opposed I am to the institution of marriage. Before I’m written off as a hypocrite, then, I hope everyone will at least take the time to read this post. First of all, not to sound like I’m backtracking, but I’d like the distinction to be made that I’m not and have never been opposed to all marriages, all the time. That’s not the case. I have said in the past, and I still maintain, that there are about a million bad reasons for getting married, and about half a dozen good or valid ones. Among the invalid or foolish reasons I would include the following: because society dictates that’s what’s supposed to happen, because the woman has become pregnant and one or both parents doesn’t want the child born out of wedlock, because either the bride or the groom think it’s going to solve problems with the relationship, because of pressure from friends or relatives, or because either the bride, the groom, or both just don’t have anything better to do with themselves some weekend. I could go on and on…and on. But it won’t take me long to list what I would consider to be the right reasons. They are: first and foremost, if the two people are committed to each other and love each other, AND they both feel that marriage is the ultimate form of trust, commitment, and expression of that love. I might not necessarily agree with the sentiment, as it is my belief that if all the feelings are there, the marriage itself is then rendered unnecessary, but be that as it may, the point I’m trying to make is that if the two people are marrying for each other, which is to say, not because society, friends, or family are pressuring them to, I’m a lot more willing to accept it. After all, a marriage is supposed to be between the two people who are being wed, and not about some nagging mother, or grandmother, or whoever else it might be, forcing some poor son, or daughter, or whoever, into it. Marriage should be the decision of the two people who are marrying. Period. End of story.
One of the other biggest reasons is for healthcare, and guess what? That’s why we’re doing it. I recently got a slightly better job, as I mentioned here on the blog, and in addition to another couple of bucks an hour, there’s healthcare and dental offered. That’s nice; it’s been a while since I had either, and I could sure use a checkup and a tooth cleaning. But it’s been even longer since Megan has had those things, and she deserves them. Obama’s sweeping reforms won’t be happening any time soon, I’m fairly certain, and, like so many others in the country, Megan was finding it hard to come up with the money to get healthcare on her own. Private companies are absurdly expensive, even for the most basic of plans; that’s just the unfortunate reality of the situation. But my job offered a plan that would cover myself and a dependent, and that could include Meg…but only if she were my spouse, and not my domestic partner. So we were faced with a choice. If Meg was to be able to get healthcare through my job, as I was, we would have to be married. I can’t pretend to be happy that’s the way this country, and this society, operates. I just finished saying how marriage should be free of outside pressures and influences from anyone, and that goes double for the federal government. But we live in a society where marriage is encouraged, where it’s regarded as the ideal, and things like this are a prime example of how that’s reinforced. Is it not enough that Meg and I were living together, monogamous, loving each other, and committed to each other? It was for us, but not for this insurance company. A spouse gets healthcare, but not a boyfriend or girlfriend.
So we’re going through with it. I was reluctant at first, but to be honest, I’m a bit excited now. Do I feel like I compromised my principles? Yeah, maybe, a little bit. But I’m not naive enough (or maybe motivated enough) to try to change the system. That takes generations, and many people and voices working together, if society was to try and get marriage abolished…and not many people feel anywhere near as strongly opposed to it as I do. I guess maybe I’m just a lazy person, or maybe there’s just certain convictions I’m willing to stand up for more strongly than others. You have to pick your battles, and this just didn’t seem to be one that I could win. And I want Meg to have healthcare. I do. I love her, and I’m happy to do this for her. And then there is, of course, all the romantic crap that goes along with it too…till death do you part, you’re the only one for me, etc, etc. I hope her family and mine forgive us, because we’re not doing it in a church, or a synagogue. The event will have no religious significance, and there will be no one in attendance but us and the impartial witness we’re required to have. A judge will do it. There will be no pomp, no ceremony, and when it’s done, we’ll be man and wife, and there will be healthcare for all. I like to think that when it came to the most important things in my life, I did them my own way, on my own terms, and my marriage will be among them. All of that being said, even if we are doing it for pragmatic reasons, I’m honored to be Meg’s husband, and I will try to be the best partner to her that I can, which is not to say I haven’t been doing that anyway. I’m losing a bet with my sister that we made more than twenty years ago: we bet twenty bucks that I’d be married by the time I was thirty. I said I wouldn’t be, she said I would. I’m still about eighteen months away from thirty; so close, and yet so far. But you have to compromise about some things, sometimes. It’s all about priorities. It’s all about what, and who, is most important.