It’s only a piece of paper? No…..it isn’t ‘just paper.’


Ok, marriage.
Some love it.
Some are not so fond of it.
Some are deadly afraid of it.
Many do not understand it.
Many fail to take full responsibility in, and for, it.
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I wed for the first, and only time, at 48 years old. I have no children and no divorces. This is my first time. I am 59 years old at this sitting.

~ So, why am I writing this? ~

It’s because I believe you don’t need a piece of paper to prove you are married. Your actions and your language should be your proof. If they are not, then you are married because of the paper, providing you went through the motions, the ritual, the ceremony, but you are not acting as if you are married. There are no semantics here. Either you act like you are married and believe it or you do not. If you do neither, you are wasting everyone’s time.

When I married 11 years ago, I was 48 years old. I had never been married before, my fiancé had never been married before. We have no children and never have had children. Honestly, I would never consider having children with someone I was not, or am not, married to. That’s a whole different story. Don’t ask. I won’t go into it. Anyway, at 48 I had done pretty much everything that I wanted to do. That doesn’t mean that I had climbed Everest or was rich or had cured cancer, I was happy with what I had done in life, so, marriage seemed like the next check box on my list. Even though I wasn’t interested in anyone. I was doing fine and I was happy alone.

I’ve always gotten along with the fairer sex, however I have never given in to the idea that, because they are women, they are to be catered to or bowed down to. We are all created the same way, we all have the same function, that is to be human. What we do with our humanity is up to each individual. Some are determined to do the best for themselves, some for others. I am more of the latter than the former type of person. I must say, though, that I have the utmost respect for women. I consider all equal. I respect everyone first.

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So, most of us want to have someone around to share our lives with, some would rather remain alone. I have always wanted to have someone around to share with, but have not always considered myself a stable enough person to be able to handle that situation. Not because of my own feelings, but I really would rather not lead someone down a road that I may find that I cannot follow to the end. Of course, one would consider that any person would have enough sense to know whether they should or should not follow another blindly to a place neither have ever been to. Honestly, it’s good business sense, and we all know marriage is very similar to running a business. One depends on the other to do their part in keeping the marriage/business functional and beneficial for all involved. If you can’t handle such an arrangement, then no, you should avoid marriage. Absolutely.

In my family, my mother married at least five times, divorced four times, the fifth husband passed away while they were separated. My father has been married at least six times and remains married today and lives with his wife. My younger brother; divorced once, married twice. His wife still lives and they are not separated. My youngest brother has been married and divorced once. Hell of a track record, no? I have been married once and remain happily so.

Now, considering the facts in the last paragraph, I was very apprehensive, all of my life, to wed and as time passed and all of those failures came into being, I became increasingly reluctant to make the move, even though, I have only actually been involved with one woman I would, and did, consider spending my life with other than, and before I met and wed my wife. As I said, I have been and remain married only once.

Ok, so now I want to bring up commitment.
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Many times I have heard, “Why do I need a piece of paper to show that I’m married?”
I’m sorry, but that just sounds pathetically selfish.
Being married means you consider your mate more important than yourself. If you don’t, then marriage is not for you and will be a complete failure for you if you enter into it. You must consider your spouse as important as you consider yourself. In my opinion, more important. I do mine.

The piece of paper? Why not? A declaration. “I am this important to someone.” So then, if you are that important to someone, why not let all know? You don’t have to run down the street waving a marriage certificate. Frame it, put it in your office, the living room, entry hall. Someplace where it can be seen. It’s yours. Show it off.

The commitment thing.
I see so many people who have children out-of-wedlock. I am not here to judge that or them. That says to me that having a child is less of a commitment than being wed. I don’t get that. I can’t imagine being afraid to wed, or afraid of marriage, but willing to bring a child into the world. Babies are the ultimate commitment. In my head, committing to marriage is a much easier exercise than committing to a babie’s conception and birth. I would never commit to the baby first, although, had I been a much younger man, maybe 30 years younger, when I considered marrying, (remember I said I wed at 48 and am now 59) conceiving a baby would have been a much more motivating factor to marry. I do not have a child and I did not marry young.

My bottom line here is that, I, speaking strictly for myself, would never consider bringing a baby into this world without first marrying his/her mother. Most likely at least five years after, and no less than three years after, the wedding.

As far as the “paper” is concerned? I see it as a gift to my spouse. Something that tells her, from my heart and mind, that I declare to her and the world that I want to be a part of her life from this day forward. Whatever legal standing it holds is of no importance to me, although, having it recognized by the legal eyes, where ever that may be, is fine by me.

I guess, speaking for myself, the license closes the deal. When I stood at the altar and handed over my ring for her to wear, it closed the deal. That was my payment to her that said, “As long as you’ll have me, this is my receipt. I’m yours from this day forward.” The paper is necessary to uphold the balance of prejudice, justice and recognition.
Prejudice? That people would see that we act married and can produce accepted proof or designation.
Justice? That we are in fact entitled to state provided benefits and understandings.
Recognition? Ask for it and I will produce it.

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In closing, I will say that I don’t see our marriage license as a piece of paper. I see it as a gift. A declaration of love that puts me above the others. In all of our dating experiences, we trust many people. Some put us at risk, some elevate us to a level of clear thinking. And some show us that we are less important than those who can offer lessons in life that we can find nowhere else.

My wife is my best friend and guide and more than anything, my teacher. As long as that marriage license lies in the drawer in the desk, she has to be those things to me as I am to her what she relies on me to be. I can’t give her a gift that would mean more to me than a marriage license.

Take care of your wife and yourself,
Kelly J.

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