Photo by Bob Doran
A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband. –Michel de Montaigne
Marriage is something I can’t seem to understand—like Sudoku, fluorescent colors coming back in style, and what Lance Armstrong hoped to accomplish in his interview with Oprah. Oh, I understand the concept “in theory”; it’s the reality of it that makes me want to repeatedly bang my head against a wall.
Now, I’m not married; I’ve never been married; I doubt I’ll ever marry. I’ve been in love, sure, but I’ve never met anyone I believed I could spend the rest of my life with. That’s A LOT of years. To be with ONE person. FOREVER. Until I DIE.
The closest I’ve ever come to marriage is with a few girlfriends of mine. I used to tell them, “If I could find the male version of you, I’d get married.” And I meant it, because these girlfriends were like my sisters, and we spent mucho time together without ever wanting to strangle one other. I thought we’d be friends always.
The fact that we’re not contributes to why I view marriage the way I do—I was as close to these girls as two people can be, minus the sex, always believed they’d be in my life, but now they’re not. Poof, gone. I’ve since learned it’s an unrealistic expectation to think two people can change together over 20, 30, 40 years to the point where they still enjoy each other’s company. For example, I adore my son, but I sure as hell don’t want to live with him for the next twenty-five years.
What astonishes me is how many folks still take the plunge. Even knowing the horrible odds involved. Let’s take having children out of the equation for a moment. What compels a man to want to get married? Especially when men are such admitted commitmentphobes. Regular sex? We all know once you’re married sex becomes as frequent as something intelligent coming out of Kim Kardashian’s mouth. Societal acceptance? Peer pressure? All you need to do is talk to your married friends to find out how miserable they are. Comfort? Security? Maid/house cleaner/babysitter? Okay, so the maid/house cleaner/babysitter would probably tempt me, too.
Love? Don’t be ridiculous. Men are way more practical than that.
For me, a future husband would need to score in 3 categories:
1. We need to have similar core beliefs and values. I’m not saying he needs to be a Democrat, but if he kicks dogs when he walks by them, or shoplifts, litters, consumes fried pork rinds while guzzling Mountain Dew, and then thinks burping the alphabet is a talent, then NO.
2. We need to get along and have fun together—be able to hang out for hours on end, especially while sober. He doesn’t need to be my best friend. That’s what a girlfriend is for, or a gay male friend. My husband should be my husband. God knows, he doesn’t need the pressure to be my “best girlfriend” also. “Husband” already has enough obligations to it.
If he’s sitting on the sofa all night, playing video games and chatting with his online buddies, then no, thank you. One son who does that is enough.
3. We need to have sexual chemistry. I recently read this thread where men were bitching about their wives never giving them blowjobs. One man actually said while he and his wife were dating, she never went down on him once, but he thought once they were married, she’d start. After I unstuck the fork from my eye, I literally wanted to crawl into the thread, find the guy and shake the stupid out of him.
If I’m going to be sentenced to sex with ONE person for the rest of my existence (and I’m having a panic attack simply writing those words), then we sure as hell better rock each other’s world, because once I see him hurl, poop, or cut his toenails in bed (and inevitably I will if we’re living together), my sexual desire for him is going to go down–so it better go down from a 10 to a 7, instead of from a 7 to a 4. If desire goes down to a 4, that ain’t gonna get us through the next 30 years.
I don’t think these three things should be that difficult to find. And yet, finding them in one man has eluded me. Certainly I’ve had at least two of them while involved in a relationship, but NEVER all three. Which explains why I’m not married.
For those who are married, help me out here. Are my three needs unreasonable? If not, why is it so hard to find? Or am I just cursed? Do you think most people settle? Is the “institution” of marriage becoming an antiquated notion?
As Groucho Marx said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?
All these answers are by children.
1. You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
>Alan, age 10
2. No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
>Kirsten, age 10
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
1. Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
>Camille, age 10
2. No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
>Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)
HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
1. You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
>Derrick, age 8
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
1. Both don’t want any more kids.
>Lori, age 8
WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
1. Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
>Lynnette, age 8
2. On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
>Martin, age 10
WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?
1. I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
>Craig, age 9
WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
1. When they’re rich.
>Pam, age 7
2. The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
>Curt, age 7
3. The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
>Howard, age 8
IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
1. I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing; I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.
>Theodore, age 8
2. It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
>Anita, age 9
HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?
1. There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
>Kelvin, age 8
And the Favorite is……..
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
1. Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
>Ricky, age 10