Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Institution of Marriage Part Deux

FIRST DRAFT STILL/SUBJECT TO CHANGE OF OPINION AT ANY TIME

Responding to news of two heterosexual Canadian men who plan to marry to take advantage of Canada's tax benefits, Patrick of Patrick's Place postulated that marriage is supposed to be for love, devotion, and commitment, not for financial reasons.

Mrs. Linklater disagreed and postulated her first point:
If nobody had money. Nobody would be married.

The debate continues with Mrs. L listing the other reasons she believes that people have chosen marriage.

Once again she argues that the ideals of love, devotion, and commitment have nothing to do with the decision to enter the institution of marriage.

Historically, marriage was the only job available to an adult woman for centuries. All women were trained to be wives. And this continues in third world countries.

In western tradition, when a woman married she became her husband's property. Her property became his property too. He could rape her because sex was his right. He could beat her -- as long as the stick he used was no bigger than his thumb -- thus the rule of thumb.

As contracts go, marriage wouldn't hold up in a court of law. And it hasn't. Basically it has been an agreement by a woman to be a man's servant for the rest of her life. It took a few centuries, but women started to say, hey, wait a minute.

However, staying single was not easy. An unmarried woman must have something wrong with her. She was unattractive so nobody wanted her. Perhaps she wasn't a virgin and therefore defiled.

Becoming a governness, a nurse, or entering a life of service became her options if there was no family money to provide for her at home any longer while everyone waited to see if someone -- please -- anyone would marry her. One wrong move and she was considered a whore.

Essentially, until recently, women were for breeding and taking care of men.  Women on their own were an anathema and subject to great criticism.

Marriage by contrast, no matter how restrictive, became a safe refuge. And the most socially acceptable place for a woman to be.

So once again, given the history of marriage, Mrs. Linklater reiterates her firm belief that the reasons for getting married have had nothing to do with love, devotion, and commitment.  

Here are her top ten reasons from the last fifty years in no particular order:

NUMBER ONE: Financial -- He/she's got a pile of dough, can make a pile of dough, can print a pile of dough -- I can live with that

NUMBER TWO: Sexual -- Man this virgin thing sucks; I can't get past first base if I don't marry her. Sheesh.

NUMBER THREE: Child on the way -- I wish her dad would get that shotgun out of my ass.  Bet this baby isn't mine either.

NUMBER FOUR: Clock ticking -- I have ten more eggs left and and nobody on the horizon except this guy.

NUMBER FIVE: For breeding purposes -- With her height and my speed we could have a whole bunch of linebackers at Notre Dame

NUMBER SIX: For Tax Purposes -- Just think, money for a new boat!

NUMBER SEVEN: Escape -- if my stepfather comes into my room at night one more time I am leaving -- even though I don't have an education or a job, because my boyfriend said he'd marry me

NUMBER EIGHT: Arranged -- Darling, this is Chauncey Fauntleroy the Fourth -- I think he'd make a better date for the prom than Timmy Jones your boyfriend since first grade. And while we're at it, I forbid you to ever see Timmy again.

NUMBER NINE: I'm gay -- I can hide my orientation behind a marriage and nobody will ever know. I hope.

NUMBER TEN: Just Freaking Do It -- Well, Mom keeps bugging me about grandkids; I'm not getting any younger so I might as well ask my secretary if she's not busy. Heck, she keeps her desk neat.

BONUS!! NUMBER ELEVEN: I don't want to die alone.

POINT TWO:  Love is not the reason people get married. It is the reason they stay married.


Marriage as an institution has been compromised for hundreds of years. Its ideals have never meshed with its reality.

As women and men have become more equal financially, legally and in a host of other ways, the institution of marriage needs to be re-thunk so people will stop trying to escape from it.

Next time -- Mrs. Linklater's New Rules of Marriage




17 comments:

suzypwr said...

From what I understand, in general women get married when they find the right guy - men get married when they are ready, and marry the woman available at the time.

Let's not forget the MRS degree some women went to college to get, lol. It took me forever to understand that statement, I have to admit!

xoxo

gaboatman said...

Mrs. L
I couldn't possibly whisper a word of this entry to Paulette.  She would not know you for the lovable cynic that I do!  See, she thinks we married for love.  Maybe you could rewrite this and leave out the tax advantages of marriage?  Oh, and while you're at it, could you drop the line about the pile of dough, too?  No, wait, she doesn't have any more money than I do. Thats not it!  Okay, I'll get back to you on this.
Sam

jevanslink said...

Jackie Kennedy once said -- the first time you marry for love;  the second for money; the third for companionship.  I think Jack Kennedy married her because she could be a political asset to him.  Mrs. L

mosie1944 said...

I had never thought of these things, but I have to say you've hit it on the nose!  Thanks for helping me see things I had not considered before.

mosie1944 said...

I had never thought of these things, but I have to say you've hit it on the nose!  Thanks for helping me see things I had not considered before.

judithheartsong said...

great post. judi

judithheartsong said...

great post. judi

shaz19743 said...

This entry explains a lot more of what was behind your original post .....and every reason you give to get married is true and valid in that there are millions who have taken the plunge for one of those 12 reasons albeit more common place in the past than present day ....but in accepting all those reasons i cant discount that a percentage are genuinely down to love ...even if it means that love has become an exception to the rule instead of the main reason .
To say that NO woman marries for love would suggest that all married women marry because they are to weak to survive alone and i know some pretty feisty gut busting ball kicking married women i can tell ya hehe x

shaz19743 said...

This entry explains a lot more of what was behind your original post .....and every reason you give to get married is true and valid in that there are millions who have taken the plunge for one of those 12 reasons albeit more common place in the past than present day ....but in accepting all those reasons i cant discount that a percentage are genuinely down to love ...even if it means that love has become an exception to the rule instead of the main reason .
To say that NO woman marries for love would suggest that all married women marry because they are to weak to survive alone and i know some pretty feisty gut busting ball kicking married women i can tell ya hehe x

belfastcowboy75 said...

"Mawwiage is what bwings us here, to-day. Mawwiage, that dweam within a dweam...have you the wing?"

How can The Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride be wrong?

belfastcowboy75 said...

"Mawwiage is what bwings us here, to-day. Mawwiage, that dweam within a dweam...have you the wing?"

How can The Impressive Clergyman from The Princess Bride be wrong?

grassriver said...

I totally agree with everything you said. I also think the competition for finding a man is the reason women hate each other - we're bred to see each other as the enemy. It's disgusting.
XOXO...Kelli
p.s. LOL @ Paul's comment.

grassriver said...

I totally agree with everything you said. I also think the competition for finding a man is the reason women hate each other - we're bred to see each other as the enemy. It's disgusting.
XOXO...Kelli
p.s. LOL @ Paul's comment.

screaminremo303 said...

I just got married for the sex.

When does it start???

screaminremo303 said...

I just got married for the sex.

When does it start???

cyndygee said...

Yeah, you're right, and now I'm pretty pissed off . . .  I'm not staying married for the wrong reason!  Oh wait, I'm NOT married . . .  and I'm not a NUN, . . ..  and you know what that means!  GGEEESSHH, I'd better start planning a wedding!

cyndygee said...

Yeah, you're right, and now I'm pretty pissed off . . .  I'm not staying married for the wrong reason!  Oh wait, I'm NOT married . . .  and I'm not a NUN, . . ..  and you know what that means!  GGEEESSHH, I'd better start planning a wedding!