I'm getting tired of having to spoonfeed this to some of you people individually. As it turns out though, thankfully, I can edit the OP so at least read this. I am not arguing against love, relationships or commitment, or anything the like. Quite the opposite, I'm saying they're good enough on their own without the need for the legal paperwork, money-waste and label of marriage. I welcome any opinion whether I like it or not, but not when you're missing all of the actual points like a little boy splashing the rim and substitute your own. No one's forcing you to read the whole thread, but at least read the damn OP of the thread next time or don't bother. It's getting frustrating having to read through your condescending tones just to find out you just didn't pay attention.
Hey. I'm not sure if I made a thread before but I'd like to put some of my thoughts on marriage here and see what all of you guys think. I see many of you as much smarter than me, and I think I can learn some. This got a little long, and I don't know if I should post it as a blog instead, but since my objective is to get some sort of exchange/discussion going a thread is more fitting. This is my opinion only. I'm not going to talk about gay-marriage or things like that, we all already know enough about that. I want to talk about marriage itself.
My stance on marriage is not that everybody should be allowed to have one, including gays. My stance is that nobody should get married, including straight people. And I'm often confused as to why atheists, secular intelligent people, would want to engage in this antiquated, forcefully contrived and often religious social construct.
I've said this in one form or another before. People like to think about marriage as this magical bond between two people in love, but for the bigger part of its history marriage wasn't about love at all. We know that in the past ages marriage was only used as a form of sales-contract, a political relationship building tool between two parties, and a way for the rulers to keep tabs on their subjects, while making sure they don't run amok fucking and raping each other aimlessly. It was an easy social structure to introduce into a primitive society that would otherwise kill each other over women to rape (which they did, and still do regardless). As a religious construct, it has been solely used for the above mentioned purposes, plus turn women into property. We need only look at some religious men and their harem of wives, to see that in that marriage women have become nothing more than a commodity. In marriage, even today, women are often nothing more than merchandise. Why do you think religious men always emphasize the importance of staying pure and staying away from sex until marriage? Because some men have very small penises. And some men with small penises are willing to pay high prices for a certain commodity: virginity. They want sex with virgins, because the small-dicked man knows the virgin doesn't know any better, so he has a confidence boost. Same reason they marry old geezers to little children, under the ruse of "our prophet did it." It's all about keeping the business running. Tell girls not to fuck. Slut-shame them should they dare to have sex outside of marriage. Call them whores, sluts, whatever. Put peer-pressure on them. Because if they do, the market will run dry.
There are a some popular arguments for/about marriage that I'd like to take on.
- It's a public declaration of loyalty. / It shows commitment.
This is a common error. Marriage doesn't make someone any more loyal then s/he would've been anyway, and if it does it's either because of peer-pressure (look up countries with the lowest divorce rates) or simple disingenuity. If you are in a relationship (which is not open), then you should be able to stay loyal and make it clear you're committed all by yourself, without a ring on your finger to vouch for you. Saying marriage ads to the commitment and shows loyalty is really no different than, for example, saying the bible gives us strength and hope. We should be able to have those things by ourselves, and those who cling to it show only a lack of those traits in themselves; just as someone who can not be as loyal without marriage shows a lack of confidence in their loyalty to begin with.
Now there also many people who say that they want a marriage to make sure their partner is committed. To me, a person who says they cannot expect loyalty and commitment unless their partner agrees to marry them is a person who displays a severe lack of trust, confidence and faith in their partner. A crucial flaw which wouldn't work out too well for a relationship to begin with.
I'm quoting the next point from a post from another member, MikeLong, here. I originally wanted to answer you in that thread, but the lack of a reply button was getting on my nerves, sorry.
- If shit goes south, marriage makes us try harder to preserve the relationship, rather than simply cast it aside as just another failed relationship.
Again, I think this should go without having to be married. If the relationship is worth it you should put all effort in, but not because you think "Oh well, we're married now. And it's kinda too much work to get divorced anyway." If marriage is your only incentive to keep a relationship alive, it's not a relationship of love as it is a cold iron chain locking you together.
More importantly though, just because a relationship is over doesn't mean it's failed. We fall in love, and then often we get jaded, and it's over. But that doesn't mean it wasn't worthwhile, that it was a waste of time, or that it failed. We experience something nice, and then it's time to move on. What marriage does is hold you trapped, after you've had enough. And I believe that the idea of an ended relationship being a "failed" relationship is something, more often than not, pushed into our culture by clergy. They are mostly the ones we hear bitching about divorce rates in secular countries and how it's somehow directly related to the moral decline in that country. That's bullshit. The only thing a divorce means is that two people no longer want to be together. What does the reason matter? Clergy often pretend like it's because people turn gay and the men divorce their wives because they want to go to a gay bar and have wild gay sex out of wedlock (ironically the solution would be to allow same-sex marriage, but I digress). But even if it were so, so what? How would it make those two people any more happy if they were continuously trapped in a marriage? Even when, at first, only one of the two partners wants a divorce, to me it would be much more horrible to force the other person to stay married. I certainly wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't want me anymore. Platonic love doesn't end well for either party.
So what I'm rambling on about it that ending a relationship is not always a bad thing. Call me a cynic, but I believe that it's a good time even most of the time. Something sucks, you work at it. But at some point you have to stop and accept that it might just not be worth it to try and pick up all the pieces off of the floor so you can glue them together and hope it sticks for just a little while longer. At some point you just have to leave the pieces lie and move the fuck on.
- marriage is the sacred bond between a man and a woman
Obviously, this is an argument that comes from the theist camp. Now I'm not going to argue about how retarded it is to suggest that gays have any less of a right to a marriage, we already know that, but instead tell you why I think religion loves pairing different genders so much. It's because man + woman = baby. Baby = another unit in the army. That's it. Nothing profound to it. Sacred bond my ass. It's about growing numbers like a virus. Rulers in all ages understood that if you want to build a powerful nation, what you need are people. Many many people. As many as possible. Living conditions, quality of life - doesn't matter. If he can hold a weapon and become cannon-fodder he's good enough. Same reason religion values men more than women. They're physically stronger. Same reason clergy are against abortion, it kills potential units and dwindles their numbers. (It also kills off all the pussy in the age range they like.)
- We do it for the civil / legal / financial rights.
I actually don't know enough about this to be able to fairly comment, so I'd love some input. Obviously I still don't like it. I know people who have been together for years but have no intentions of getting married for any benefits, my own sister included, and they seem to lead happy lives. But are the benefits worth compromising your integrity?Is there no other way to achieve those rights? Would it be at all possible for us to change this? I'm aware that gays fight for marriage because they want the rights that come with it. Now I remember Strega saying in a different thread that if they made some other civil construct which would allow her, as a gay person, to have all the benefits of a usual marriage provides, she'd do it right away. Even if it wasn't called a marriage. Do you agree with this, or do you think that, if anything, both straight people and gays should get the exact same thing? In which case it cannot be a religious union, because all major religions are homophobic. And so...I'm tired.
That's it for now. I actually have much more to say, but I kinda already wrote more than usual and I'm getting bored and I'm sure I've bored most of you by now too. I might add some later. Cut me some slack!
Well, if you want to go the "everybody has a bias" route, then that calls into question all of science. Ms. Whitehead had a bias going into the study. She was of the opinion that the idea that the traditional family was better for children was nonsense and that she could show that children thrived just as well in other family situation. But then she ran into the statistics.
Well, if you want to go the "everybody has a bias" route, then that calls into question all of science
Not to be pedantic, but it calls into question all of psychology, not all of science. Bias doesn't really affect the boiling point of water. Altitude does, and other factors, but bias is irrelevant. The study of psychology requires subjective interpretation, so at best it is estimations rather than fact.
The study of how society is impacted by, say, divorce can never be accurate, simply because we cannot know which additional influences other than the ones being considered, may affect the study. It is virtually impossible to create a control group, without it being contaminated by other elements. Statistics are one of the most manipulable measurements, when it comes to human society, because they require interpretation..
Bias in the sense of letting one's belief in a hypothesis infect one's methodology and interpretation of results can infect the hard sciences as easily as the soft sciences.
True to be sure. But it's harder to do so in a subject where there are fewer external variables to fog everything you are trying to do.
"People like to think about marriage as this magical bond between two people in love..."
There's nothing magical about being in love. Have you been in love before kOrsan? How did you know that you were in love? You seem cynical in nature and I am not trying to be mean or attack you personally. Has someone violated you in a past relationship that left you feeling victimized?
I had many relationships before finally marrying at the ripe old age of 37. I was always the one to end these past relationships as it seemed like all my partners had some annoying flaw(s) I could not deal with on a permanent basis. Then I finally realized that there is no one person perfect for anyone else. Everyone has qualities in their own personality & character that is not flattering or attractive to others. The idea is that you must focus on the good and be willing to overlook the shortcomings. Once I realized that Miss Right was an illusion I began to have more realistic expectations in what a 'life partner' represents.
The vows of matrimony are not for everyone. The better or worse, sickness & health stuff. It is simply making an oral commitment to be there for the other person in thick and thin. When you meet someone who makes you feel absolutely at ease to be yourself then I believe you may be on the right track to finding a mate that you might want to grow old and gray with. I wish you the best in your journey to this end.
What is a friend? I will tell you.
It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with him. He seems to ask of you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. He does not want you to be better or worse. When you are with him you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, so long as it is genuinely you. He understands those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With him you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities and, in opening them up to him, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of his loyalty. He understands. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse him, neglect him, tolerate him. Best of all, you can keep still with him. It makes no matter. He likes you - he is like the fire that purges to the bone. He understands, he understands. You can weep with him, sin with him, laugh with him, pray with him. Through it all - and underneath - he sees, knows, and loves you. A friend? What is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.
C Raymand Beran
Ed you completely stumbled by my actual point, which means I must really suck at writing. I never said relationships or love is bad. I am merely, completely talking about the label of marriage here, not human relationships. I'm saying the label marriage adds nothing to them, just as slapping the word "extreme" on a candy-bar doesn't make it taste any better. But I still love candy bars. Your whole post sounds like you're trying to convince me of how human relationships are a good thing, despite me never saying anything to the contrary. Quite the opposite, I was arguing that a true, good relationship between two intelligent people who trust and love each other should not require any legal contracts to make it complete. Rest assured, I did not mean what you fear I meant.
Married atheist here. kOrsan, mabye it's just the way I'm reading your stuff, but you tend to come across somewhat salty at times. lol No worries though, you still made valid points.
I will say that I agreed with a lot of what you said. The history of marriage is quite different from why we do it today, marriage is not 100% as the theists will try and tell you, and is certainly not needed at all to be in a loving, long term committed relationship. There are legal benefits for marriage, but I can tell you that they didn't really enter into our decision. I will say that I would have been fine marriage or no marriage. A ring and piece of paper isn't going to change my love and devotion to her, so marriage was unnecessary to us living a long committed life with one another. The ceremony was nice, secular, and cheap. But then again I suppose you could do something similar without actual marriage being a part, but it was certainly a good time.
Rationally, there is no need for marriage. So our decision was made on the emotional end. Sure it's a symbol of our love, but like you said, that only matters if you care what others think. The important thing is knowing we love each other, so no real need for a 'symbol' there.
Taking my surname ended up being important to my wife though. My family loves her and has accepted and supported her from day one. Meanwhile, her own father never wanted anything to do with her, step father hated her,c was the only one in here family with her surname, and she was usually the ignored outcast within her own family. So to her, taking my name (I would have been fine with her keeping her name or even making her old surname her middle name) was a psychological positive. In her eyes, she became part of a family that really cares for her. Granted, the name didn't mater to me or my family, but it was important to her. Luckily, her relationship with her family has since improved in some areas.
While I didn't feel we had to get married, I'm glad we did, and would probably do most as we did if I had it to do all over. It's odd though, since I'm normally quite rational, yet my reasons here would be emotional ones. I will say that there is one part of marriage that I hate... That's the religious people I know constantly wondering when we're going to have kids. it's as if the reduce marriage to a contract diminishing the woman to a baby making factory. We do not presently want kids, nor have any such plans. Yet if you tell them this, they become confused and can no longer understand why you got married... Seriously, If that's how they view marriage, that's not very romantic, and I feel that marriages should be made harder to get.
This is my favorite post so far, thank you for sharing that. In the first half of your post you said exactly what I've been trying to say in my ramblings.
I'm the last proto-bird anyone would ever want to consult for marriage advice, I'm just here to support your discussion --
@Blaine - if by that, you mean a long list of things NOT to do, to sustain a happy marriage, then yeah, I suppose I do have that --
Actually I'd like to hear your perspective even more then. Most people only have the anecdotal "I did everything right therefore ____" kind of view.
My best advice would be, before you hitch up two horses to a wagon, make sure they match.