Driving to Seattle yesterday, Lokes and I had one of the most fascinating ‘conversations’. You see, I like to pluck uncomfortable topics out of thin air the size of rocks and then throw them at him. Just to kill time, yea?
In fact, we had two or three such debates and amazingly, none of them ended up messy. I even had him convinced I was right on TWO of the topics. Which is pretty crazy if you know our track record for irreconciliable differences.
So one of the ‘rocks’ I threw at him yesterday was “If we ever go our separate ways, would you get married again?”
His answer? A typical ‘no’. You’d think I should be relieved or even flattered.
Are you kidding? I was humiliated.
Taken aback by my obvious (and irrational) displeasure, he blinked, “Why not?! I thought you’d be happy that you’d be my last wife!”
This is SO about making me happy.
“Well, it says to me that our marriage is so horrible you never want to go through another again!”
“Come on, no! That’s not what I mean. Besides, IF ANYTHING EVER HAPPENS TO US (after six years, our friend has mastered the art of careful clausing), I’d have our kids to deal with. Why would I want to get married again?”
So it’s the kids.
“Well, it’s insulting that you won’t get married again because I think you think it’s just too much work. Besides, don’t you want someone to spend your old and withered (spiteful emphasis on things rotting and dropping off) years with?”
“I don’t see why I need to get married again. Doesn’t mean I don’t want a companion. I just don’t want to get married. Why are women so preoccupied with a piece of paper?”
“Because SOMETIMES (I’ve mastered it too), one party of the relationship needs to be reminded now and then that there are real world consequences for mistakes they make. In an ideal world, women will NOT need a piece of paper if the men would keep certain things to themselves.”
And then we launched into the age-old debate of how a healthy relationship does not need a binding agreement and legally enforced consequences. Who was for which? You’ll be surprised (or maybe not) to learn that Mr. Either Very Naive or Thinks All Women Are, is for the notion that ‘real’ loving relationships can withstand anything, and that if you need a piece of paper to ‘secure’ it, then your relationship isn’t ‘real’.
I, on the other hand, think that’s a bucket load of crap. It’s like playing game with men (and some women) where they never have to play fair because, well, there are no penalties for cheating. I for one think it takes all the fun out of it. It’s fine if everyone involved agrees with the concept but most of the time, one party takes it more seriously than the other.
Secondly, we live in a land that, most of the time, upholds rule of law, laws that apply to governments as well their peoples. Why? Because in truth, we are human and in our innate human-ness, we all have the capacity to be sneaky, dishonest and selfish (as much as we’d like to believe that we don’t all in the name of love). At the end of the day, relationships with only two major parties, particularly ‘romantic’ relationships, require a third party to help work out a resolution. It starts of with a couples therapist and most of the time, ends with the law (and unfortunately, lawyers). Why? Because we can’t bloody well govern ourselves, that’s why. It’s just not fair.
Like it or not, two human beings who agree to play a game with rules, these rules need to be spelt out. They need to know that there are consequences and compensations when one plays unfair.
To get married or not, to sign that piece of paper or not, it all boils down to one simple question: Do you want to start playing fair?
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt thus far, is that marriage isn’t for wimps, that’s for sure.
And I’m no wimp.