I learned something about myself today. I do not believe in the sanctity of marriage.
Noting my single mother lifestyle, you may have already guessed this about me.
But I never really thought about it using these terms until today, when I read this singlemommyhood.com post about the right time to move in together. For many of my fellow readers, the right time is: After The Wedding. For some, clearly, a ring equals commitment. No ring? No commitment.
Ultimately, that's what the whole conversation boiled down to: commitment. And that is what it should boil down to, in my opinion, especially with children involved. But I simply can't agree with the assertion that marriage is the only way to get that commitment.
And so we're back to my point: I don't believe in the sanctity of marriage.
There are two reasons for this, the first being fairly obvious: I am not a religious person, and it is therefore impossible for me to view marriage as a holy union. The second reason goes along with the first. Without the God factor, marriage is a union of a man and a woman (at least until we get off our asses and legalize same-sex marriage), plus a piece of paper filed with the state.
That piece of paper, some would argue, makes the relationship more secure; more final. But does it, really? The divorce rate in this country would beg to differ.
But it makes you feel different, doesn't it? Marriage. I'll admit, I felt different after marrying my (now ex) husband - and we lived together for five years before getting married. But I didn't feel different upon filing the marriage certificate. I felt that way because I'd gone through the ceremony of publicly proclaiming my union. I could have had the marriage ceremony without filing that piece of paper. Would I have been any less married? Other than in a legal sense? Is the legality of the union what defines my relationship?
Now, lest you think I'm just a bitter divorcee, I am not saying I don't believe in marriage. I might even get married again someday. I just don't believe in its sanctity. Is a married couple's relationship stronger than a committed-but-not-married couple's relationship? More traditional, certainly; but more committed, more sacred? I'm not prepared to go that far.
So I'll say it one last time: I don't believe in the sanctity of marriage. I do, however, believe in the sanctity of relationships; of committed, monogamous love. Marriage certificate optional.