Forgive me in advance for the title question which is a few words shy of being a metaphor. But lets think about this for a bit.
Marriage is an institution, one of which you get a certificate for before commencement unlike a course in school which you actually have to earn your way to a certificate. Also, with marriage (conventional sense) you could have a wedding beforehand where several people would witness the union between you and your spouse. The same people will not be in the house with you as you live your lives, not that it’s their responsibility to, but it’s a rather odd reality that 90% of those who attend your wedding will not be there for you/give a hoot afterwards.
Maybe I should have asked this instead “Is marriage the only social arrangement where 2 people can have a constructive relationship?”
We have relationships with our siblings, parents & relatives. But we never had ceremonies to ‘authenticate’ these relationships, so why is marriage any different? Why do we feel the need to overly formalise, by means of elaborate ceremonies & legalities, the relationships we have with one we love?
Does a big wedding and signatures on a piece of paper called a marriage certificate make you feel better about yourself? Does it make you better placed to be a husband or wife? Does it make you feel you’ve ‘done the right thing’?
If the answer is yes, why the divorce, domestic violence, infidelity et cetera? Like I said with my other post on sex and marriage, I also feel that human beings should not conflate relationships (or the contingency of their value) with marriage.
Marriage, in my view, is at best the institutionalisation of a relationship – another power-play. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying marriage is wrong or that people shouldn’t get married – as far as I’m concerned that’s a choice between 2 consenting adults. The point I am trying to make with this lengthy post is that the ethos of marriage has been extolled unnecessarily and also that healthy relationships can exist without being branded as ‘marriage’.
But please do invite me for your wedding – I’d come for the cake 🙂