Year of questions: Would you get married again?

I’m more curious to hear how other people who’ve gone through divorce feel about it, but since I get asked this question fairly regularly I figured I’d give it a shot.

There are obviously some variables, mainly consisting of meeting the right person. It’s not something I feel very optimistic about or even necessarily want (normal for someone in my situation I think) so it’s sort of hard to imagine getting married again.

But there’s a much deeper concern I have with marriage as an institution. I think the reality is that even if you are working a relationship in the healthiest way possible (and who’s doing that?!) it puts some pretty serious pressures on two people (or 3 or 4 if polyamory is more your speed).

All of the things that go into a healthy relationship and have to happen for that relationship to stay healthy, seem to function better in people I know who are not married. I think it’s because cultural norms around marriage do have a static quality to them, though certainly not everyone who’s married is restricted by this. But this idea that you’ll love someone forever and ever and you’ll sign this document that says you’ll support them no matter what……well what if they make a decision to be a crappy person down the line? What if he turns out not only to be a jerk but addicted to pills as well and stealing to support his habit? Or she unilaterally decides to re-mortgage the house, blow the money on a trip to Costa Rica and then returns asking for forgiveness?

It seems to me that a good, healthy relationship comes with constant re-evaluation and honesty, and all we can do is keep working at that and saying how it is for us in our lives. The institution of marriage as practiced by most people I see / hear / read about seems to be concerned with reassurance, as if we can decide how things are and never have to change them again. I can see marriage working as a concept, but it seems like it comes with more baggage than it’s worth.


3 thoughts on “Year of questions: Would you get married again?”

  1. ‘What if they decide to be a crappy person down the line’…that would suck, but it does happen, and it happens because those are people who don’t have respect for their spouse or for their relationship. It doesn’t just happen that you wake up next to an asshole one day…you’ve woken up next to an asshole every day – did you think you were going to be able to change them? Or maybe one day you DO wake up next to an asshole all of a sudden…they’re not talking to you about whats different today? Why they’re suddenly an asshole? If you can’t communicate with your spouse, you’ve got trouble. This was my marriage. I thought he’d change. I thought maybe I needed to be different or try harder. Turns out, I was just married to an asshole, and I should have paid better attention before I got married.
    After my divorce I never thought I’d get married again. Ever. I was still of the mindset that my marriage had been somewhat ‘normal’ and there was no part of that hot mess I would ever want to repeat.

    Despite swearing off marriage FOREVER, once I met and started seeing my current husband I suddenly had an entirely different view on what marriage could be. Being around him made me feel good about myself. I felt happy and secure and able to be my total and complete self with him. That’s when it dawned on me that THIS is what marriage is supposed to be. Its supposed to be two people who can be brutally honest with each other, who respect each other and push each other to grow and evolve.
    This, for me, is love. True and unwavering love. Yes, there are days I want to scream at him, there are days we disagree, there are times we both feel unsupported and vulnerable. We know nothing is ever perfect…but at the end of the day, even on the worst day, there isn’t any place we’d rather be than right next to each other. I think a lot of people get married hoping what they have turns into this…But starting a life with the expectation of someone changing to be what you want them to be is unfair. Granted, people change, but they need to change for themselves, not for their spouse.

  2. You couldn’t be more right. I thought my ex-wife was willing or able to change / become better, but she had no incentive. She didn’t want to become a better person for herself or wasn’t willing to do the work, so nothing I did would make a difference.

    The problem I have with marriage is not that it doesn’t work, but that the ideas people have about it are so messed up that it creates pressures that are almost insurmountable for the majority of people. I would not want to marry someone who idealized the institution (and IMHO that’s a ton of people) because they miss the whole point. Reminds me of how in college I had a coach who had many successful national championship athletes, and he always said “It’s nothing special, do what you did to get here.” People seem to suddenly forget that when they’re talking about marriage, as if adding a white picket fence, paperwork, and a fancy event is going to make the slightest difference.

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