What Is Marriage?

Lately I have been perplexed by the concept of marriage, now second-guessing the institution and what purpose it serves in society. As I have understood it marriage is a bond that is shared commonly between a man and a woman (although even that fundamental rule has changed since the turn of the 21st century). Marriage is the link between two people which is sometimes bonded in the name of love, another increasingly indecipherable concept to me. In marriage two people unite to form a common entity, in which individual freedoms and sometimes romantic concepts or self-promotional interests are sacrificed for the forging of the unity. Ideally the sacrifices made are mutual. Independence as was known by either spouse before marriage was initiated ceases to exist, as both husband and wife become codependent on each another, and in the ideal scenario counterbalancing one another emotionally, socially, and even spiritually, especially when the marriage crosses religious boundaries. The couple unites chiefly for the purpose of having children and raising families. Despite socioeconomic, psychological, or emotional obstacles that a married couple faces, they must both persist and overcome the difficulties that meet them, no matter how drastic. In idyllic situations, divorce will not occur since both husband and wife have fully committed to the institution of marriage as well as to their family. However, that last canon is no longer valid, as many marriages currently end in divorce. According to a 2002 study the divorce rate in the United States was 10 percent. In another study it was determined that 45.8 percent of new marriages ended in divorce, while in Armenia by stark contrast the figure was 6 percent. In other, more traditional cultures where the hearth and family must not be jeopardized divorce is uncommon, Armenian culture being no exception. Yet the probability of the breakdown of marriage is significant.

How do two people know when the right time has come for marriage? In many world cultures, again Armenian being included in that number, it is acceptable for the arrangement to be made by immediate family members, rather by the fathers or senior male familial representatives of the candidate spouses. But in the Western or modern world we can safely assume that the steps towards marriage are initiated by two people who wish to share a lifelong bond, and not by external influences. Sometimes convenience plays a greater role in the intention of marriage than love.

Nevertheless, if two people do not find common ideological ground, not to mention commonality on spiritual and emotional planes, the concept of marriage is moot. The reason why marriage fails arguably is because the understandings are not comprehended at the time of contemplation of unity, which conceptually could lead to infidelity. Divorce threatens when the intentions of commitment to the marriage are not clearly defined from the onset, casting silent ambiguity into the darkness to weaken the bond of chastity at the heed of speculation. Yet is there the possibility for such miscomprehension to be one sided, for one spouse to have doubts about the relationship while the other is faithfully certain, perchance blinded by love? Unquestionably it exists.

Marriage can only be consummated when the mutual understanding and acceptance of the institution is founded. Love is not a relevant factor in the desire to marry and preserve the bonds, rather it is convenience and commitment that make the marriage last. Without comprehension of the ideal and the willingness to sacrifice self-independence, marriage cannot be preserved and families should not be formed.


1 Comment

Filed under All Tings, Prose

One response to “What Is Marriage?

  1. nessuna

    Osho on love and marriage.

    Who knows about what is going to happen tomorrow? The woman you love or the man you love — either movement is possible: you may come closer, you may become distant. You may become again strangers or you may become so one with each other that even to say that you are two will not be right; of course there are two bodies but the heart is one, and the song of the heart is one, and the ecstasy surrounds you both like a cloud. You disappear in that ecstasy: you are not you, I am not I. Love becomes so total, love is so great and overwhelming, that you cannot remain yourself; you have to drown yourself and disappear.

    In that disappearance who is going to be attached, and with whom? Everything is. When love blossoms in its totality, everything simply is. The fear of tomorrow does not arise; hence there is no question of attachment, clinging, marriage, of any kind of contract, bondage.

    What are your marriages except business contracts? “We commit to each other before a magistrate” — you are insulting love! You are following law, which is the lowest thing in existence and the ugliest. When you bring love to the court you are committing a crime that cannot be forgiven. You make a commitment before a magistrate in a court that “We want to be married and we will remain married. It is our promise, given to the law: we will not separate and we will not deceive each other.” Do you think this is not a great insult of love? Are not you putting law above love?

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