Sometimes current events completely confound me because I can’t believe that in 2016 we even have to argue for some of this shit. Example, yesterday I was listening to radio and some guy was saying, “We have to be very CAREFUL with marriage equality because we are changing the face of what marriage really is.” And I can’t believe we even are having this conversation because it seems so simple to alter a few words in whatever legislation exists that may say ‘man and woman’ to ‘two people’.
Over half my friends are divorced – myself included – and they were all married to people of the opposite gender. Friends…I know exactly what that piece of paper is worth and it’s basically shit all. Partnerships happen in the heart before they ever happen in front of the nearest and dearest. I’m not going to stand here and pretend I know how to make a marriage work. I was married for 11 years and it didn’t work. But I have studied it’s demise, I have been the coroner to the death of my marriage and I can take you through the museum of it’s failures and tell you categorically what made it terminal in the first place. We just stopped choosing each other.
See, in the beginning of a relationship you choose that person all the time. Sometimes you choose them even when you know it’s probably not the smartest idea, like when you have to go to work early the next day but you stay up until 3am discussing the world because you just can’t get enough of them. You choose them every morning and you reaffirm that choice every night. And then for me, over time we just stopped doing that. I chose to go to bed instead of watching that movie with him. He chose to stay at work when I was miscarrying and asked him to come home. I chose to avoid lunch with him in favour of editing some photos. He chose to sit at his computer instead of having a conversation with me. Sometime over the last five years of our marriage instead of counting down how long until he came home, I began to count down how long until he went back. And I know he did the same.
Marriage – I think – is just waking up every morning and choosing that person. Again and again. Choosing them when they are laughing and making you feel good. Choosing them when they’re chewing too loud and you feel like you want to stab a fork in your ear to make it stop. Choosing them. And sometimes it’s not even the really good or the really bad you have to remember to choose them through. Because both those emotions are fraught with passion – even if it’s a bad passion. It’s the mundane. Someone flossing their teeth by your side for thirty years. Someone laying their head next to yours on the pillow every single night – for life, man. And you have to remember to choose them then too. And it’s hard work, this partnership thing. No one really knows if they’re going to make it. And you never ever will because a successful marriage only becomes one that lasted the distance when one of you dies and you’re still choosing each other that very morning.
What is marriage? Hell, if I know. It’s been constantly redefined through out history. This is just the next page. I do know that no one is innately better at it simply because their partner’s gender is the opposite of theirs. That just seems absurd and I can’t really believe we are having this as a debate. I can’t imagine how furious I would be if I needed someone to hold a plebiscite to tell me if I get to choose my partner or not because my marriage might redefine theirs. If marriage is all about the choosing then gay people have been practising marriage for just as long as heterosexuals, just without the paper. And while I may feel the paper isn’t that important, I have the privilege of deciding that for me, simply because I’m a woman who happens to be in love with a man. It seems bizarre that because of that twist of fate I can go ahead and stand in front of my family and say I’m going to keep choosing him for the rest of my life and someone else’s choice goes unacknowledged.
Sometimes the world just really confuses me.