Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Marriage Industrial Complex: Toward a New Paradigm

As a single 39-year-old woman living in New York City, at times I have had to deal with the societal stigma of remaining “Unmarried.” I feel that I handle it well in that I have learned to accept that being single is not a curse. I enjoy much more freedom than most of my friends who are married. I have had the time to become truly self-actualized. I know who I am and am clear about what I require as an individual to be happy and to remain sane. I did not know many of these things when I was 29 or 30. I did not know many of the things that I now know about myself a year ago.

This process of unfolding and of self- discovery could not have taken place; in my opinion in the realm of matrimony, as it currently exists. For me, marriage has in the past and for the most part continues to be a union based on ownership and the death of the individual, in favor of a collective identity, which is based upon an image or archetype that does not represent the truth of who the individuals happen to be or who the individual wishes to become. In marriage, the man for example, often becomes a symbol of strength and the dutiful provider. The woman is more often than not, is reduced to the role of mother and caretaker and both somehow not only lose the sacred spark that once flowed between them, but many of their personal dreams and aspirations go unsupported.

Now of course all marriages are not like this and all of us know at least one couple ,who for us represents the perfect union of “selves.” They are the couple that seems to be able to remain true to themselves and their relationship. They both have fulfilling careers and manage the arduous task of raising children seemingly effortlessly. They travel the world together, she sings he plays piano and there is not a hint that one is sacrificing their personal happiness or identity for the sake of the other. All is not perfect their world, of course, but they make it work beautifully like a well-performed duet with each one singing their part in perfect harmony. But this is not the case for most people I know.

For many, marriage has been a wake-up call and a struggle. I have witnessed people that I know, become less of who they were once married. Once vibrant and outgoing, they now are a mere shadow of thier former selves. I have also witnessed friends and family members endure physical, emotional and psychological abuse for the sake of the “union.” I have witnessed people stay in bad marriages because they were worried about what “others” would think if they divorced. Much fanfare, energy and money went into producing a fantastic wedding. Less went into the maintenance and support of the marriage. In my opinion this does not have to be.

For me, the reason why so many marriages end in divorce and end up destroying people’s lives (Many friends have proclaimed to me: “If I knew what marriage was really like, I would have never gotten married,”Or once divorced, say that they will never marry again: “It’s just not worth the trouble or the heartache.”) has to do with the unrealistic and archaic expectations that are placed upon people who get married. The current paradigm that exists simply does not match the reality and demands of modern day living. As a society we need re-examine and overhaul the current system and create a new paradigm that reflects the reality of who people are today. Women are feircely self suffcient and independent and no longer need to get married so that they can be protected under the law, and men no longer need to marry and have a house full of children so that can have help working the land. Those were some of the practical reasons that people got married centuries ago.

For me, modern times require that marriage exist as a sacrament between two individuals who agree to support each other in becoming better people. In that instance, people have to know a bit about themselves and what they really want. People have to ask each other questions to make sure that they are on the same page emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. More often than not, this is not the case. Comedian Chris Rock put it rather crudely: “If you are a Born Again Christian and your husband is a crack head, it ain’t gonna work.” The deeper message is if the essence of who you are is diametrically opposed to that of your partner it cannot work, but couples who barely have a clue about who they are and want they want rush to the alter everyday and sign up to participate in what has become an industrial complex, a business that is feuled by issuing tickets to enter instant "Holy Matrimony".

I say let’s create something that will help marriages serve individuals and families better than they are currently serving us. It benefits society when there are healthy and happy marriages. It creates strong families and stronger foundations and allows individuals to prosper. In support of this, why not offer free premarital classes where successful couples volunteer to share the secrets of their marriage's success? Also, make it mandatory that folks get at least 6 months of pre-marital counseling before they are eligible to apply for a marriage license. Provide a required reading list. One book that I happen to own is called 500 Hundred Questions You Should Ask Before You Get Married. It seems absurd but there are many things people neglect to ask each other like “Do you believe in Abortion” or “What role will religion play in the lives of our children.” These are all important questions that people need to ask each other. Ensure that couples take a financial management course. I have seen more marriages go down the drain because one person had a spending addiction or a gambling addiction that the partner was unaware existed.

I have a friend who is a Sexologist. He created a basic questionnaire called a "Joining Questionaire" that he would give to couples and ask them to complete. Most could not. They knew that if they asked themselves the hard questions now that they might not make it to the alter.

One thing I know is this: If I ever find someone who I would consider spending my life with I would require that we spend some serious time doing “The Work” and asking ourselves the hard questions upfront. I have watched too many of my friends experience a great deal of heartache and pain because their good intentions toward one another and their deep love for each other simply was not enough!

A good marriage is much more than chance or a twist of fate. Like most things in life, a successful marriage requires learned skills that require hard work and both an individual and collective comittment to growth and evolution.

73 comments:

Jojopah Maria Nsoroma said...

Dear Aisha:
Thank you for your clarity and insight regarding this important but "must be evolved" institution so important to humankind. This blog seems to be the beginning of a book. Go for it! This type of common sense needs to be very accessible to young men and women. Your voice is strong, clear, and hopefilled. I love it!
Blessings, Jojopah Maria

lordhaifa said...

Wednesday 12 April, 06-
Alaafia Abure Aisha,
We honour your perspectives and express gratitude for your generosity in sharing same with 'humanity.'
-One minor critique, please:
Those who use WEBTV use the tv as a monitor, which already has a black background, resulting your site totally illegible. Might you consider another page colour?
Ase-O!
lordhaifa & tia esther

IxchelMoonGoddess said...

Hey Aish,
Nice to see this forum sis! Lots of love!

You know 98.7 kiss fm did a show about marriage last week or so. None of the callers touched on the history of marriage. They didn't talk about how European marriage came out of the church wanting to accumulate wealth.They didn't talk about marriage as a busissiness or cival arrangement between two FAMILIES.
They left out many details about the financial part of marriage and focused on "Romantic" marriage.

Since we are (most of us) not of Roman decent maybe we need to rethink this following of this blind romantic love jones.

What of other countries and the tradition of "arranged marriages"?

What of marriage outside of patriarchy?
As you see, I have more questions than answers...

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online buy ambien bangkok - how to order ambien online

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online buy tramadol online paypal - tramadol withdrawal weight gain

Anonymous said...

generic viagra order viagra tesco - buy viagra kuching

Anonymous said...

generic viagra how to order viagra in us - generic viagra when available

Anonymous said...

viagra online without prescription viagra online to buy - cheap generic viagra online review

Anonymous said...

generic viagra buy viagra online yahoo answers - cheap viagra reviews

Anonymous said...

buy generic viagra ordering viagra online in us - cheap viagra mastercard

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online buy tramadol cod fedex - tramadol effects

Anonymous said...

buy soma buy somatropin thailand - soma bras on sale

Anonymous said...

buy soma online prescription drug soma used - generic soma d 31

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma san diego facebook - buy soma online pharmacy

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma 250 - generic soma 250

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma muscle relaxer overdose - soma muscle relaxer

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma vicodin - buy soma airbag

Anonymous said...

soma without prescription hotels near soma san diego - soma triathlon discount code

Anonymous said...

soma muscle relaxant soma drug online - buy somatropin 100 iu

Anonymous said...

buy soma online cost of soma without insurance - buy soma online cod fedex

Anonymous said...

soma drug muscle relaxer comparable soma - soma prescription cost

Anonymous said...

soma medication soma generic fedex no prescription - soma neuronal

Anonymous said...

tramadol 100 mg tramadol 50 mg how many to take - tramadol hcl 100mg

Anonymous said...

generic cialis buy cialis online malaysia - buy cialis singapore

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol cod online tramadol 50mg over counter - tramadol online pharmacy

Anonymous said...

cialis online canada generic cialis dangers - cialis 600

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online legal buy tramadol online united states - buy tramadol online with credit card

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol overnight cod tramadol for high - can you high tramadol

Anonymous said...

order alprazolam no prescription xanax positive drug screen - alprazolam 0.5 mg side effects

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy tramadol hydrochloride - tramadol withdrawal chest pain

Anonymous said...

legal buy tramadol online can someone overdose tramadol - tramadol iv

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy tramadol online with cod - buy tramadol online echeck

Anonymous said...

generic xanax xanax side effects tired - medications used xanax withdrawal

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy tramadol online usa cheap - tramadol hcl ultram 50 mg

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax bars coke - xanax xr dosage

Anonymous said...

xanax online smoking xanax high - 2mg xanax get you high

Anonymous said...

generic xanax xanax on drug screen - online pharmacy reviews xanax

Anonymous said...

buy carisoprodol carisoprodol like soma - much carisoprodol soma

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg carisoprodol 350 mg interactions - carisoprodol pronunciation

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online price for cialis 20mg - cialis price with prescription

Anonymous said...

buy xanax street price of 2 mg xanax - xanax does it show on drug test'

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online cheap cialis drug - cialis daily dose generic

Anonymous said...

cialis online cialis 2.5 mg price - is cialis daily any good

Anonymous said...

xanax online much 2mg xanax bar - buy xanax australia

Anonymous said...

xanax online green xanax pills mg - 2mg klonopin 2mg xanax

Anonymous said...

xanax online where to get xanax pills - xanax effects what part of the brain

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online buy cialis online pay with paypal - buy cialis online generic

Anonymous said...

cialis 10mg generic cialis buy - order generic cialis online

Anonymous said...

how to buy cialis online reviews of generic cialis - generic cialis us safe

Anonymous said...

cialis online cialis online bestellen - cheap cialis online pharmacy

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online boompanjang blogspot buy tramadol online - buy tramadol online illegal

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol 50mg how many to take - tramadol controlled substance

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol for dogs dosage per pound - buy tramadol online visa

Anonymous said...

http://landvoicelearning.com/#57594 can you buy tramadol over the counter in the usa - buy tramadol overnight delivery

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol hcl 50 mg recreational use - order cheap tramadol online

Anonymous said...

learn how to buy tramdadol buy tramadol online usa - buy tramadol online overnight usa

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol legal to buy online - tramadol online no prescription overnight

Anonymous said...

http://landvoicelearning.com/#44827 buy tramadol online usa cheap - buy tramadol no prescription online

Anonymous said...

tramadol online no prescription tramadol hcl 50 high - tramadol withdrawal opiate

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy tramadol usa - tramadol 50 mg get you high

Anonymous said...

order klonopin no prescription what is better for anxiety klonopin or xanax - klonopin side effects leg pain

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy tramadol now online - information on tramadol 50mg tablets

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol saturday delivery tramadol hcl xl 150 mg - buy tramadol without a script

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol t7 - tramadol joint swelling

Anonymous said...

http://www.integrativeonc.org/adminsio/buyklonopinonline/#9183 klonopin withdrawal muscle pain - klonopin recreational use effects

Anonymous said...

klonopin without prescription long does 2mg klonopin take kick - klonopin dosage pediatric

Anonymous said...

klonopin clonazepam klonopin recreational side effects - taking klonopin and alcohol

Anonymous said...

generic carisoprodol carisoprodol webmd - carisoprodol no prescription needed

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg carisoprodol drug - much carisoprodol soma

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg carisoprodol soma same - carisoprodol c-iv

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol without prescription carisoprodol mechanism - carisoprodol aspirin

Anonymous said...

http://southcarolinaaccidentattorney.com/#60124 does carisoprodol 350 mg contain aspirin - carisoprodol manufacturers

Anonymous said...

http://southcarolinaaccidentattorney.com/#61879 carisoprodol 350 mg uses - carisoprodol online no prescription cod