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What Marriage is Not

What Marriage is Not 
by Elizabeth Munroz

These are my opinions based upon 65 years experience and more than one legal marriage. My happiest and longest relationship is not blessed by a piece of paper or a representative of any religious affiliation.

Marriage is not living happily ever after. Happiness comes from within and can be experienced by anyone married or not.

Marriage is not sustained by romantic love, as that can fluctuate naturally and often disappoints those who expect it to remain steady or constantly increase.

Marital bliss is not based upon who takes out the garbage or washes the dishes. Household maintenance is necessary in everyone's life to whatever extent they choose. Negotiating these chores by agreement is great but there always comes a time when one needs to take out the trash at midnight in a snow storm. If the person whose "job" that is happens to be sick or not home, the other person can do it with resentment or love, or just common sense the job must be done.

Marriage is not uncomplicated.

Marriage is not resentment free.

Marriage is not disagreement free, or turmoil free or argument or angst free.

Marriage is not static. Like any aspect of life, the relationship constantly changes. Expect to deal with it.

Marriage is not a clear contract with all the rules written in stone. People's interests change as they mature.

Couples need to negotiate how they live with one another when those changes occur.

Marriage is not about honesty. It's not always best to tell the truth. "Your hair looks awful!" "I hate that you shaved off your mustache!" "Honey, I had a one night stand while you were away last year." "Dearest, I did too, and I will tell you all the details, whatever you want to know."

Marriage is not where each person can be expected to live by the "rules". There's always the chance the beloved will find interest in another no matter how perfectly in love the couple may be.

Marriage is not about reading articles on how to improve the marriage, unless both agree to read and learn from and renegotiate based upon the information provided.

Marriage is not about completely understanding everything about the spouse. That is not possible no matter how hard you try. Even they do not understand everything about themselves. And if at any point they think they do (or you think it) things change. "I will never take a job away from here, we will never move away. I love it here. This place is my soul!" Never say never.

Marriage is not meant as a right to own another person or control another person's thoughts, beliefs or behaviors. Everybody knows this without me saying so. Right?

Marriage does not give the right to punish or get even with the other based upon one spouses standards of expectation. Ditto, as above.

Marriage is not based on unspoken understandings. As romantic as that sounds and as much as some couples may claim it is so, clear communication needs to occur regularly because people change their minds or have new information the other one does not have. It's like repairing and rebuilding a car engine together. You cannot read each other's minds to do the job, especially if you are on opposite sides of the car.

Marriage is not a God Given Gift only available to and sanctified by Christians or American politics. (sorry folks)

Marriage is not made holy by a representative from any religious affiliation, though one may obtain a piece of paper claiming it so.

Marriage is not made civil by any legal representative from any government agency, though one may obtain a piece of paper claiming it so.

Marriage is not just for a male and female of a certain age. This comment is based upon observation, cultural mores, and societal fickleness, and is subject to attempts to change by people elected into the role of lawmakers. Example: Jerry Lee Lewis

Marriage is not just for people of the opposite sex.

Marriage is not just for two people only.

Marriage is not based upon sexual unity.

Marriage is not constrained by the mores of society. If I want to marry my cat, I am marrying my cat without say so of others. (No, I am not married to my cat.)

Marriage is not based upon what the stories in books, movies and on TV portray.

Marriage is not whatever it is we all expect it to be. The reality of trying to live up to an agreed upon nebulous idea put forth by media, family, friends and our local culture is the epitome of incubated failure.

We will find out what marriage is by living under the label of it and each creating what their own marriage is. "Honey, we should always have holidays at my parents." "You're right, I can't stand mine." "Dearest, I like it when you wear leather." "I hate to wear leather. You do it!"

I have more opinions on what I have experienced of what marriage is not, but I have a doctor's appointment and must desist.

Would love to know what you think. Just click "comments" and go to it.

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