Our system of modern marriage is a land-holding and child-rearing agreement that favors the state at every turn.
It is a kind of slavery to an idealization of feelings – a snapshot of a moment – a lovely, passionate moment, perhaps – but a moment, nonetheless, that passes and changes – but is nailed onto the face of a partner, so that they are legally bound to imitate it “forever,” under penalty of great financial loss and personal humiliation.
What are the options? How about a fluid discussion? An agreement about what two people actually would like – realistically – to do, give to and be for each other. One that entertained actual notions of human philosophy, psychology, and the realities of our very tribal – and not very monogamous nature over a lifetime?
Imagine forming your own relationships without church-and-state ownership, intervention or dictate..
The reality is: People change over time. Romance comes and goes, ebbs and flows. Friendship needs tending and support. People go through life passages that do not easily mirror each other. And real love is not so psychologically fragile that it needs to constantly monitor and control the behavior of others so that we feel psychologically secure. We need a tribe to match our interests. But marriage limits the tribe by restricting strong friendships outside of the primary couple.
Some couples are generous with each other through long periods and expect each other to have individual lives, interests and groups of friends. But the marriage contract easily acts as an impediment to normal development of a supportive network and community, by locking two people into a tightly bound set of financial binds, reflecting too much of each other’s unmet needs, in a kind of echo chamber of anxiety and small jealousies and insecurities. All because someone told them that they’re “supposed” to be “soul mates” who satisfy every waking urge in each other.
This is a kind of trap.
Marriage is the way the state manages your psyche, your life choices and wallet.
I would like to offer a solution: Cancel state and religious marriage. Define your own relationships. If you’re going to “marry,” do so for reasons that you understand well; that your affections for each other are named and understood; that you’re not binding yourself with unrealistic and psychologically constricting promises to hold to the dictates of church or state.
Understand that the most important things in life are: food, water, shelter, clothing, love (and love is not ownership or management), and raising the next generation – and that any healthy relationship is one that is based in a desire to grow, to learn, to experience – and to communicate processes and changes. Dogma is the opposite of love; but dogma is what we sign up for when we sign on the dotted line of church and State.
There is no reason all of above can’t be done better than we’re doing it now in this church-government slave camp.
Liam Scheff is author of Official Stories, a reverse textbook to all the fibs you were taught in school; his current project and next book is “The Oil Alarm” all about the collapse we’re just beginning to soak up, coast to coast.