Lot of people hear the word “marriage”, and think of weddings. Likening a wedding to a marriage is like saying that getting a blowjob on a roller coaster is the same as tearfully beating off in a hospital bed.
Marriage is not the ACT of being wed – it is everything that comes after. A wedding is an event. Marriage is a condition.
I have been married for thirteen years. I am domesticated.
[Show wedding ring]
As you see, I have been banded. So even if I’m returned to the wild, I can be identified. If I roam too far from my habitat, researchers will collect me and return me to my den.
There is a conception of marriage as a sexless grind of obligation and worry – a concoction of compromise and diminishment, spiced with acrimony and neglect.
I am not here to dispute this. In fact, I will go further:
Marriage is a kind of slaughterhouse where the blood of your initiative and drive and appeal will be drained from you the moment the meat hook of your vows pierces your ankles and the blade of consummation passes over your throat.
The balance of your life – that period spent waiting while you hang by your ankles, trussed by habit and custom and law, as the blood of your individuality and purpose drizzles congealing from your throat – this is marriage.
What swine are able to make good their escape from this abattoir report as they squint in the daylight that they are really so much happier, now. Really so much. And after these liberated pigs drink in this hard won freedom – they will wash the blood from their trotters, they will hit the gym, and they will try to attract a new mate.
By the way, I’m talking here about real marriage – I do not mean the “oh, snap. You got pregnant,” or the “we got married. It’s what people do,” or the “dear Oksana, I would be honored to pay your way from Ukraine to become my bride”. Not celebrity marriage, either – the Brad Co. and Angelina Corp. brand alliance or the Britney conspicuous international display of mental illness – I’m talking about REAL marriage.
And while it is true that marriage is the hanging of the self by a meat hook to be drained, in a REAL marriage, you then get taken down off the hook, and folded at the ankles, and rolled like a tube of toothpaste and squeezed until everything has left you. In a REAL marriage, you are extruded.
You are extruded like the Mold-O-Rama machine at the Field Museum. However, your molten fluids are not poured into a mold that is awesome, like a dinosaur or a tractor, they are poured into the mold of a featureless pear-shaped biped wearing sweats and a pair of Crocs, as if to say “You know what? Fuck it.” You emerge from your mold smooth as a Ken doll, and no matter what direction you head in, you are always in retreat.
This is not done TO you, though. In a real marriage, it is not your spouse constricting the life out of you. You are a party to your extrusion – you consent to it. You assist in it. You flatten yourself and curl into it.
Here’s why: your partner is hung from a meat hook right next to you, draining themselves into the same dish. And folding and squeezing the dregs of themselves onto your shared platter.
Here is the sad news, children: we all of us get extruded, but if you are alone in this life, your platter is that much smaller. And you must guard well your platter.
When you marry and are together extruded, this is the platter of your strength – and you will feed like Bedouins around a roasted goat, passing pieces from hand to hand, or Hawaiians scooping poi from a shared bowl.
This platter holds your supply – your lifetime’s supply – of resolve and tenacity and fortitude. Which you will need. Life being life, you will encounter death and defeat; you will know grief and perplexity; you will have loss and fear, mayhem and duress.
And when you do, you must go to the platter of strength, and dip in your fingers to eat what you need. If fortune smiles upon you, the supply of your strength will outlast the time you have left.
When your mother grows infirm and insane, you will feed; when your children are ill, you will feed; when your house is destroyed, you will feed. You will feed when the floodwaters rise and when lightning strikes. You will feed when death claims a neighbor and when the downturn swallows your job. When the pipes burst, when the truck clips your dog, when the prognosis is grim, you will feed.
THIS is REAL marriage. Food in time of greatest need.
So not only is marriage the best chance you’ve got in the trench warfare that is this life – long shot though it may be – marriage has the opposing idea of love nested inside it.
And the fact is, marriage – REAL marriage – cannot exist without love. Let’s face it: it is EASY to have love without marriage – easy and cheap. But you CANNOT have marriage without love.