Sunday, April 19, 2009

Problems With Marriage

I'm thinking by now that my parents have probably given up hope that my brother or myself will be married anytime soon - it's clear from my dating history that I'm in no hurry to settle down, and my brother has been looking but he's pretty sure he'll marry late himself.

We were sitting in the study room (yes, we have a study room in the house I grew up in - it used to be the balcony, actually, but we never really actually used it as a balcony, so we converted it into a room separated from the master bedroom by a glass door and curtain), I on my little laptop, and my brother on the family desktop, and he was chatting with his best friend.

I'm not sure what brought it up, but they were discussing marriage, and she was sure she was going to be single forever, and I quipped, "there's nothing wrong with that, anyway. Marriage as a historical institution isn't exactly the greatest."

My brother needed clarification, so I explained the basics - marriage was originally an economic institution, built to exchange women as property, in exchange for some actual property. The point of marriage was to control her womb, and thus, control the means of producing labour for the farm / household / whathave you. My history is fuzzy, but it was only in the 16th century that the idea of love for marriage came up, and it still didn't take in public consciousness until well into the 19th and/or 20th century.

Bro listened to this for a while, then with a sad-face, said, "that's so depressing."

(After a bit more of this he decided he didn't want to talk to me anymore.)

I've decided that getting married is pretty low on my priority list. Aside from the fact that it is a hetero-supremacist institution in many parts of the world (Malaysia doesn't allow gay marriage), it's also still an institution that becomes a tool for social control - having pressure to conform to an image I don't want to participate in will be very annoying.

Of course marriage has its good points - the legal benefits of being recognized as someone's spouse, for example. I also like weddings - I think they're amazing affairs, weddings, since it gives everyone an excuse to come and partake of the joy in a couple coming together and joining their legal statuses. Two people declaring their unabashed love for each other! How wonderful! Why the hell shouldn't they, after all?

But in order to participate in that, I actually have to get entangled with someone else. This may not be a problem if I find someone I really really dig being around. But I'm a solitary creature in general, and it's a bit daunting now, after three failed relationships which sort of crashed and burned my faith in my judgement, to think about getting involved with someone else who may or may not have different desires, goals, and principles than me.

And then there is working on relationships and being at peace with one another and all that great stuff which I would like to look forward to, but I don't really have that many role models to look to.

It would be nice to have a wedding someday.

But I'd rather just save up for my first child.

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