This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of one of my dearest friends. It was a beautiful ceremony filled with friends and family, I had a great time drinking and dancing with old friends. It really was a grand time. That being said, I still don’t understand marriage. The concept has bothered me for most of my adult life. This is not to say that I would ever stop two or more constenting adults from getting married, I just don’t think it is for me.
This particular wedding raised two red flags for me. The first was the idea of servitude. The ceremony was heavy on being a servant of your spouse (and God, but this is not the time to get theological). My hairs on the back of my libertarian neck stand up with any talk of lifelong servitude, even if it is voluntary. I understand a partnership, but being a servent implies a master, and to me this is brutally archaic and the antithetical to the ideas of individual freedom. Besides that, it is nothing more than wishful thinking, lifelong marriage is an outdated idea that made sense when the average life expectancy was 40 years and two parents were necessary to raise children to self-sufficiency. In today’s society the idea of lifelong love and marriage is at best childish, and at worst fatal to the development of the individual.
The second point of contemplation for me was a request from the pastor of this ceremony, a request that the witnesses to the ceremony vow to assist the marriage. I am not sure how common this is, but I have seen it several times now, especially in protestant ceremonies. This mindset treats the marriage as an end, instead of a means to an end. It isn’t happiness that is important, or satisfaction, security or any number of personal pursuit… no, it is the marriage that should stay together with the assistance of the witnesses even if both partners are unhappy. It is so common to hear someone speak of wanting a husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc instead of saying that they want happiness or satisfaction. Instead of working to be self-sufficient many social institutions impart the ideas of happiness through others (as opposed to self happiness), this applies to marriage, the church and the government. When it comes down to it, my rejection of marriage has the same reasoning behind it as my rejection of religion and government… I am a sovereign being and I refuse to sacrifice that.
I should reiterate that I would never stop someone from getting married, I just hope that if my friends do wed it is well thought out instead of a pursuit of some outdated societal norm.