Marriage – truth or fiction?

The definition of marriage, if we had to put a picture to it, usually looks like the ending to a romantic film or a Disney cartoon. Music playing, birds singing, everyone is so happy and no matter what happened in the story, everything worked out better than imagined. All you need is love, right?

This is the exact image I had in my mind growing up, even though my parents, who were married, did not have a marriage like that. Financial issues, differences of opinion, the silent treatment, the fights. Now that I look back, I cannot understand how I never linked the 2 scenarios and saw the discrepancies. Reality and fiction were 2 worlds apart when it came to marriage. Also, I felt marriage is something that happened to other people, it won’t ever happen to me. I studied and realized how our world perceptions, social constructionism and patriarchal society made up this fantasy of being married which is almost like a goal you have to accomplish. You will level up in this life once you are married.

To give you a small peek into how my idea of ‘marriage’ was formed, I need to dig deep into my memories starting from the time my mother always said ‘Whatever you do, never get married.’ She had a very negative view on marriage and this made me feel it was a taboo thing to talk about, never mind considering doing eventually. It was a concept that society created to fool us into thinking we can live with one human being until we die, and the best part is; you would be happy every single day. If you are not, then you made the biggest mistake of your life. You didn’t listen to your mother, you are a failure cause you believed marriage can be magical and it is insane to count on one man to make you happy forever.

I was surrounded with people getting divorced growing up. Friends of my mother and father got divorced. I thought it was the norm. Later, after my father passed away, I would come to realize, my parents stayed together because of me and my sister. When I became an adult myself, and my friends started to get married, I began to think that my mother’s words rang true; ‘Whatever you do, do not get married’. Not because of people getting divorced, but because of their ignorance and how far away their reality of marriage was from the ‘happy ever after’ image I had in my head of what a marriage should look and be like. My mom was SO right. DO NOT GET MARRIED, EVER!

I had a very tumultuous relationship of 6 years on and off with a man and I thought we would eventually get married. After that toxic relationship ran its course, I had little to no faith in the idea of the ‘perfect’ partner. After that love story ended, I met my future husband in a turmoil of events. I met my partner, who came out of nowhere and who I had no interest, from the moment I met him. Strange how the universe can maneuver people to cross each other’s paths.

Love is a strange thing. When we look for it and beg for it, it is nowhere to be found. Once we give up on love and we try to move on without it, it appears and hits you right in the face. While you are fast asleep.

I got to meet my future husband in the context of him being my friends’ love affair. This is how the love of my life stepped into my story; he was not someone I wanted to love, he was someone I frowned upon. The boom! It just came out of nowhere. I fell for him even though there were many reasons for it not to work. We made it work, every single day. Our relationship had a rocky start. But we made it through very bad circumstances. The largest part of our relationship was when he was in South Africa and I was in the East. We went for months not being able to be together, and after a year of that, we got married in a quarantine facility on Zoom. Again, after we got married, I left for the Middle East. We were again for months without each-other. Only recently, were we finally able to live together like a husband and wife should.

My whole perspective of marriage has changed drastically. I don’t have the perfect man like we see in the movies, I don’t have the perfect love story or the perfect marriage. If we strive for perfection, we get scared of making mistakes and to growing together and learning from each other and ourselves. I made a life long commitment based on a basic feeling: love. The reason I knew this ‘love’ was different is that it never changed. I remember sitting in Poetry class one day and we discussed Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. It was mentioned that this whole poem was about true love being; unfixed, unchanged. Time cannot alter it, it does not break or get shaken. It stays the same. Through sickness, through hard times, through fights and distress. Through aging and temptation. This is how it felt to me – no matter what happened, my love for him was the same throughout, it never subsided, it never changed. And I am grateful that that love is reciprocated.

Marriage is in my mind, still a very socially constructed concept; that once a ring is slid onto a finger, it is unbreakable and there is just happiness all the way. I disagree. I feel even though I had not gotten married, I would have felt the same about my partner. We ‘had’ to get married in a sense to be able to live together in the Middle East because of religious reasons. This was how our path was paved for us. We built this concept of marriage as being the end goal, the climax of your life where you ‘made it’. I think the main idea is that we were not made to be alone. We want to be understood, we want to be loved and accepted for who we are in our physical and emotional nakedness.

Marriage is a concept that is supposedly be able to provide us with this wholeness and unconditional love. Once we are married, we will be happy, finally. Well, a ring is not going to make you feel whole, happy or loved, scratch that idea. Big, expensive weddings with strangers you call friends and family, the color of the napkins, the fancy venue with fairy lights and the shiny wedding dress will not contribute to your marriage, in no way. We are living in a reality where we cannot accept that the truth of a marriage, cannot live up to the expectation of our image of marriage. And then because we are so unhappy with ourselves, the disappointment becomes unbearable. And then we find the solution: divorce.

I am open to any thoughts about this topic. I always find it so interesting to hear other people’s opinions and views about marriage. Each human being is so different, can you imagine how different each marriage is? Yet, we try to mould it into this idea we have constructed for ourselves. I read so many posts and articles related to this concept and I find it fascinating that we encourage people to be individuals and to acknowledge that we are all different and to embrace that. But for marriage, there is one right and so many wrongs. For me, marriage is a fiction novel, based upon a true story.

Was John Lennon correct in saying that ‘All we need is love?’

Published by chanterasmus

Hey there! Welcome to my blog - a place where I can share my innermost feelings, thoughts and experiences and hopefully it might catch your attention. I am a world traveller and a lover of the mind; with a full time husband and a thirst for life. May you find some comfort and interests in my posts and feel free to comment and I will try to get to each one of you ;) Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Marriage – truth or fiction?

  1. The way you mentioned how many of us either had divorced parents, or parents who had a less than Disney marriage and yet we still tend to hold this idealized vision of marriage is super cool. Like, “helloooo people! what are we thinking?” (In a lovely way 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you! It is as though we can never distinguish between the two concepts. I guess that unrealistic presentation of marriage is a dream we all hope to have. We need some sort of idealization to live up to 😅 #goals
      And then we wonder why so many married people are so unhappy. Such is life, right?

      Liked by 1 person

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