Sunday, July 8, 2012

Divorcing Strangers

One of the more boring ways I would define a relationship is a glimpse into what married life will be like with a person, allowing a person the discretion to objectively weigh the pros and cons, ultimately coming to the decision of whether to marry the person or move on. Yeah, I get it, religion says this and culture says that about sex and marriage, but for me to care any less about what those two things have to say would require me to delve into the impossible, simply because they don’t define a relationship this way. Instead, they would have you believe that going willy-nilly into life-long commitments is the right thing to do, and I could not disagree more. Contrary to some of my actions, I love relationships, I take them very seriously; religion, however, does not, some even abolishing the relationship completely. Naturally, I want the best for my marriage and, in my honest opinion, the first step on that path is to disregard anything that any culture or religion says, because they may mean well, but I’ve never once been convinced that they have my best interests in mind, and that’s what troubles me.

My ultimate question, I guess, is how well can you know somebody if you don’t live with and/or fuck them?

To be blunt, if you haven’t lived with someone, then you aren’t prepared to marry them and it’s silly to think otherwise. I know what you’re thinking, ‘what more could I find out about this person I love dearly?’, but trust me, there’s more! A relationship which spans over two different households has many blind spots. I’ve always suffered with the belief that every person holds themselves a little differently in different situations, so if that’s true - which it is - and if a relationship truly is just a social-convention used to help you get from square one to the point of sliding that ring on your partner’s finger like I explained earlier, then what are you going to learn from just dating a person you only see for a few days each week? I mean, even if you think I’m wrong, everybody is a little different when they’re out of there comfort zones, you can’t argue with that, right? It’s proven: women apply make-up, men style their hair. When I’m at home? Can’t say I’ve ever waxed my hair for a hard day in front of Seinfeld. I’ve never splashed CK on my freshly-shaved face so that I can go mend the back fence or clip the trees. I’ve never worn a two hundred dollar jacket so that I can go take a whiz in it. I mean, I’m home right now and no woman is doing her she-bopping to a boy in a red fleece, tracksuit-pants and tatted-thermal-socks, especially one whom had a nugget of melted peanut-butter hanging off the side of his lip three seconds ago, but people still find me attractive– the public-me anyway. Understand where I’m going with this?

I suppose you could argue that every relationship is unique with its little nuances and eccentricities, but there’s no substitution to this element of a relationship. It’s not like a learner’s permit, where you can just accumulate hours over time and dust off your hands once you’re done – it’s a practice-marriage, a pre-marital relationship which should eventually become an all-the-time sort of deal, just like marriage is going to be. Don’t think that just because you’ve slept at each other’s houses a few times or spent a few weeks away together that you’ve taken an adequate glimpse into what the rest of your life will be like with this person. They may be a little looser and you’ve more than likely learnt a little more about the way they live, but they are still outside of their comfort-zones; take my word for it, she doesn’t only own G-string underwear. I often treat any relationship like I would some new furniture in my house. For the first month or so, that new table in the room will always scream out at me. I’ll treat it with extra special care, making sure that it doesn’t get damaged and lose that immaculate-sheen, but then once those first couple of months pass, it just becomes a part of the room like everything else did, another item that I can’t really imagine was ever not sitting there in the first place; I’m comfortable with it now. Now, apply this same logic to a relationship, but make it about two years. Two years, people. Two years; in the same house, the same room and the same bed, not a week in some hotel room and definitely not sleeping on either side of a wall, and maybe, j u s t maybe, you can then start thinking objectively about what it will be like to spend, ideally speaking, seventy plus years with this person, day in and day out.

Then there’s sex, the catalyst behind any ‘marry first, get to know you later’ value system. Deep breath. Whenever I used to weigh up the prospect of dating a devout Catholic girl, the first and biggest item that went into the ‘cons’ column was the no intercourse thing. The fact that I used to think that no sex only referred to sexual activity just goes to show how laughably na├»ve I used to be about how religious people think. The thing is that the religious definition for ‘sex’ is a lot different to the actual definition. To my mind, ‘sex’ is just an abbreviation of ‘sexual intercourse’; when you have sex, you have sexual intercourse. To religion though, the word is that plus a bunch of activities which have been known to lead to sex, like sleeping near the person, being under the same covers, being out of the house when the street lights come on, stupid shit like that (while oddly enough neglecting to prohibit things like alcohol, massages and playful-tickling, you know, the things that actually end in the removal of each other’s clothing). This is obviously where living together got all tangled up in the ‘no-sex-before-marriage’ thing, since living together, I guess, is really just a long sleepover in the parental-mind, which I suppose morphed ‘no-sex’ into ‘no-sleeping’. Now obviously, if you haven’t shaken the sheets already, living together with a partner for six months at the very most is going to lead to intercourse at some point, on top of which appliances have you not done it yet is probably the much better question. Understandably, here’s why gods everywhere have some issue with whom you’re sharing a bed with before you marry.

While we’re on sex (like my mind all the time!), people have often tried convincing me that this whole ‘thing’ is only a very small part of a relationship and that I needn’t worry myself with such silly nonsense, and I think that those people are morons! Frankly, I reckon that they just need somebody who can fuck the tight-lacing off of their corseted-minds! Obviously, sex shouldn’t be your main priority, but I’d keep it in my top five at the very least. Think about it, one way or another, you’re going to be having sex in your life; like I said, we aren’t somehow above nature here, just because we share the world with prudes doesn’t somehow mean that we have reformed our biological-urges. So, locking yourself into that marital-contract is essentially saying that you’d prefer that sex you’ll be having regardless to be with one person and one person only, ‘til death do us part, sickness and in health. In light of that, wouldn’t you at least want to make sure that this is good perennial sex we’re talking about? Affairs happen because people want something that they can’t get from their marriage; usually it’s a sex thing. You might be okay with bad sex for…I don’t know, a decade, but could you make it through two more decades of just lacklustre love-making, or, god forbid, none at all? Because if you can, then maybe this religion thing is for you, but if not, I’d steer clear. I know, people like to pretend that they don’t have sex and pretend that it’s no big deal to them because they’re too worried about what others might think, but like it or not, it’s a big deal – they must know somewhere in their minds that love can only carry a person so far through a purely emotional relationship that lacks a healthy physical component. Another thing certainly worth considering in my mind is your partner’s sexual habits, to be more specific, are they a rapist or not? What if it turns out that the guy is sexually abusive, and it just never came up before the wedding night because it never literally came up? If I were a woman, I’d rather dump my values, than be stuck with a rapist whom I’m with ‘til death do us part.

Evidently, sex, to me, is not unlike living with somebody. Making love before your marriage is just another source of insight into what marriage will be like with the other person. I mean, think about it, nobody just buys a car, so give it a right and proper test drive, c’mon! We aren’t ten years old here; we can make our own decisions about our own privates!

If you had asked me two years ago, I hadn’t even broken the six month barrier with somebody; so naturally, I was terrified of marriage (and probably still am). How could I not be? I had no focus. An eighty year commitment to one person is a big jump from my personal record of half a year. Weighted on top of that is the fact that my folks and most of my friend’s folks are all divorced. Contrary to what other nosy parents have claimed, my mum and dad’s divorce felt pretty smooth to me, my best friend’s parents’ divorce, however, was a travelling train-wreck. A house of five was divided into four separate houses. People got punched; others got melodramatically-suicidal - shit got hairy. I tell you, there’s nothing like walking home after a night out and not having the heart to tell a friend that you can see a police-car parked outside their house in the distance. Five people’s lives were radically changed, all because two people grew apart. These people weren’t religious either, in fact, they weren’t the type to rush into marriage, but my point in mentioning them is to illustrate how damaging a divorce can be. Like it or not, rushing into marriage isn’t the best way to avoid shit like this, actually, I’m almost sure that the longevity of even the healthiest marriages is marred the moment you enter into it blindly.

satan jesus

In Roman Catholicism, it goes “yada yada yada…from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” It’s basically the church’s way of getting you to say ‘This is it! I’ll die before I divorce.’ But people are divorcing regardless of their vows and no body’s happy about it, especially the church, but ironically, the church are the first ones to shoot you down whenever you try to gather the adequate information required to make a calculated decision to marry. Hmm, that’s a tough one!   Marry   a   stranger…but   don’t   divorce? Hmmmm. (Be back in a year to decipher this mind-puzzle.) And then you’ve got the parents who act like they don’t want their kids to marry, and to stay married, at that. They make all of these restrictions, but then wonder why there kids aren’t ready yet. You would think half of them would somehow learn from their own stupid experiences, but they never do, continuing to teach the same broken-logic to their children that put their father into a different home. Most of them, I think, just don’t see the correlation between doing marriage ‘right by God’ and divorce. It just seems to me that by doing one godly act, we are forced into an ungodly one later on down the track; it’s cultural and religious entrapment. Personally, I’d prefer to get all of the ungodly shit out of the way as young as possible, rather than my elderly years, but that’s just me. You probably think I’m just trying to be funny by over-simplifying religious and cultural practices, but it’s the truth - as a Catholic, I would have to stand by that one golden rule: Marry a stranger, but don’t divorce them. It’s quite possibly the smartest way to live your life if your main goal is to not have a healthy marriage with the person you adore and to cause pain to your future children. It’s dumb!

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