Sep 15, 2010

Marriage in the 21st Century

I had a shocking revelation recently. I have some friends that I would consider being in an "open relationship". I don't know what exactly defines it, but I know there are sexual encounters with others outside of the couple and both parties are fine with it. Incidentally the couple consists of two men.

Well, these two men recently filled out some kind of paperwork towards a civil union or the best they can get in their state. Frankly, I was appalled. I was outraged at the fact that these two men who are not monogamous would have the nerve to go out and get married. It goes against everything I believe about marriage.

Whoa, there. Let's break it down. So, based on my statement I think the only people who should get married are those that conform to my belief about marriage. I am a monogamous person and that's what I would want out of marriage, so obviously everyone should want that, right? Right? RIGHT? Wrong. This thinking is no better than the preachings of those that believe marriage is only between a man and a woman. I assume these people would only engage in a relationship with the opposite sex, so this is what they want. Anything they don't want is therefore wrong, or immoral, or bad. I couldn't believe that I could be so selfish and so naive about marriage.

I don't really care what anyone does in a relationship. I may thing that certain actions will lead to less attractive results. But in the end, I only care about my relationship. One who is truly secure in his/her relationship won't define it by the relationships of others. I took marriage very personally, as many do. I understand now where conservatives and "marriage preservationists" are coming from. The difference is that I can see my view as narrow minded. I can appreciate that I am able to have the exact relationship I want and it isn't at the expense of my neighbors relationship.

How does marriage proceed in the 21st Century? First, I believe we have to destroy marriage. I believe people should still get married, but marriage is so different in the 21st century from ages ago that I believe we need to separate it from our preconceptions. Second, we need to create a replacement. Everyone should be allowed to be united with whomever he or she pleases. This is a government sanctioned civil union between two people. Any two people may enter the union regardless of gender. No judgement of the union may exist. The union is separate of religion or spirituality or any other office. A marriage may be reserved for a church, but not for any official government involvement. Third, since the union is created without judgment or preconception, the union should be dissolved cheaply and easily. Of course, the length of time of the union and other complexities may make the dissolution more difficult, but waiting periods and cause must be eliminated.

To enter this new century, this new era, a new vocabulary must be created. I will no longer refer to a marriage except for a specific sacred sacrament or status conveyed by a religion or spirituality. From now on two people who are legally bound are in a Union. The process of entering the Union is Unionization. Those who are in a Union are United. Those who are not in a Union are Non-United. There is no distinction between one who was formerly United and the Union has subsequently dissolved as between “divorced” and “married”. One who was in a Union that has been dissolved is now Non-United again.

Furthermore, we must create a process of legal unionization that is completely separate from churches, religion and spirituality. The legal process should only take place in the halls of court houses and offices of county clerks and similar places. The legal process should be completely separate and independent of the religious and spiritual processes. This may sound radical but it is the way marriages have operated for decades in Europe.

Only until we separate our religion and judgment from marriage and unions, then we have the freedom to create the exact relationship we want: a companion, romantic or not, to combine and preserve wealth, convey benefits upon and thus live a more healthy, happy existence. Isn't this what we all want?

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