Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Bertrand Russell once said, "Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives." (And yes, I know, two Bertrand Russell quotes in one week is a bit much. So sue me.)

I'm pretty sure we can all agree that this is why a lot of people marry. Not because they actively want to spend the rest of their lives with another person, but because they don't want to live alone. I was like this once. When I first met L., who is now my wife, I wasn't actively seeking someone to spend my life with. I just didn't want to be alone. She was willing to spend time with me, and later, willing to marry me. Thus, I didn't have to be alone.

Fortunately for me, circumstances dictated that it be quite a while before we could actually get married, and I had a lot of time to get to know L. better. I can't read her mind, but I can read her face. I don't always know what she's going to do, but I can be pretty sure about how she'll feel about something. She very emotionally driven, so that's what I read off her the best. I'm less emotionally driven (although they're mixed up in there, I assure you) and more thought driven, so she would probably say that she can tell what I'm thinking, and what I would think about a given situation. We suit each other well.

But back to the circumstances that required us to wait, and their consequences. I got to know my wife very well before we ever officially and legally committed to each other. (We were committed long before that, but they let us out of Arkham to get married.) But it's this getting to know each other stage that I want to talk about. It seems to me that most people don't take long enough to get to know one another before getting married anymore. And that's understandable. It really is. Our society frowns on participating in some of the more traditional marital activities unto you're actually married. That just goes to show how sick our society really is.

Anyway, I really wonder how much time people spend actually getting to know their potential spouses before tying the knot. Because a hell of a lot of evaluation should go into this decision. Just think about how vulnerable you make yourself when you get married.

First, there's the physical. You gotta sleep sometime. And if "the wife" is a little more unstable than you think then POW you just got stabbed, smacked in the head with an iron skillet or some other gruesome act of violence. I think my personal favorite was the hot iron in the crotch. That was one pissed off wife. And on the other side of the equation, well, there's a reason most domestic abuse cases involve battered women. I know that battered men are more common than people realize, but it's usually men doing the smacking, not getting smacked. And if you married one of these assholes, then you put yourself in a bad situation.

And if that wasn't enough, think about the financial situation. Once you open a joint account with your spouse at a bank, he (or she) can clean you out in a heartbeat. A spouse with a name on the account can empty the account. And then walk away. All perfectly legal. Not to mention, max out credit cards, run up other debts and basically screw you over financially.

Don't even get me started on your social standing. One word in the right gossip's ear about that "little problem", whatever that "little problem" may be, and everyone in the neighborhood and you're social circle will be snickering behind your back.

Heck, a creative spouse can even get you fired. "Here, honey, have a lemon poppyseed muffin before you go to work." An hour later, an anonymous tip to your boss about your "drug use" and bam! Out of a job. There are other ways that I could come up with, too, and I'm not all that creative.

So, with all these vulnerabilities built into the whole marriage relationship, I think you have to ask yourself, if you're married, "Would my spouse do that?" And if the answer is "I don't know." then you probably got married too fast. If you're planning on getting married, then I suggest you get to know your spouse well enough to answer that question with something other than "I don't know." before saying "I do."


Anonymous K. said...

You have to sleep sometime . . . the lesson learned by a guy I once worked with. He'd get drunk and stoned and hit his wife. He would then continue to drink until he passed out.

She would not.

Among the less painful things she did to him in his sleep was the time she drove a nail through his chest with her bare hand.

That was a marriage made in heaven, let me tell ya.

7:54 PM  

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"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain


Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu