Love is the answer, marriage isn’t.
What most parents, ministers and already married people won’t tell you is that marriage has an opt-in button. Don’t push it.
My marriage stats are zero for zero, which in my mind is far better than zero for three like many people in my circle. Put a little positive spin on my spinsterhood and I can even say that by not being married, I’ve placed myself in the upper 10 percentile.
Will You Not Marry Me?
Some people get married because they want to and others because they have to. My birth control has been bullet proof, so I haven’t fallen into the later category. And even if the conservatives call me a ho or prostitute, or if they support a world that pays me 70 cents on the dollar, I’ll always make enough to pay for my birth control pills whether they’re covered by insurance or not.
Christians get married to follow God’s wishes for us to marry, mate and procreate under the institution of marriage.
“Marriage is a fine institution. I’m just not ready for an institution.” ~ Mae West
Too many people get married because they don’t want to go it alone or can’t stand themselves enough to be alone after a breakup. The sad thing is they become serial daters or marriage junkies who are always hitched but still unhappy.
Don’t jump to the conclusion that I’m a man-hating old biddy. I love life. I love men and I love waking up next to a man who brings me pleasure and coffee. I had such an arrangement for 14 years.
Which is why I know for a fact that having someone in our lives to share our highs and lows with is pure ecstasy. Being with the right person makes you a better person. However, that person doesn’t have to be your spouse to complete any arbitrary equation.
Enter Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham who are both my role models of a healthy, long term-relationship. My prior role models are married and bicker continuously.
Now that I’ve laid the foundation that I agree that love is the answer, let me tell you why marriage, for me, isn’t.
1. I Drank the Kool-aid and Spit it Out.
- For those 20 or 30 somethings that don’t remember Home Economics class, we were taught cooking, sewing and how to plan our wedding all before the 10th grade. I loved the class though I sucked at cooking and sewing, but boy did I love looking at those wedding magazines and picking out my dress, cake, flowers and all the other fairy tale stories we were brainwashed with growing up. I made a grand little wedding album and budget and then tossed it away never to be executed.
2. One Wed Wonders Aren’t so Wonderful.
- I’ve always asked couples that married right the first time, what their secret was. I even started a blog called One Wed Wonders because of my fascination with those who reached their Golden Wedding Anniversary still hitched. What I learned was most lived in separate parts of the household and tolerated each other at best. Many were swingers and credited that lifestyle with saving their marriage. The best answers for their longevity together were pretty weak. So I discontinued the blog and questioning because one wed wonders weren’t any smarter than the rest of us just more resilient or using an open marriage as a crutch.
3. There’s Something Wrong with Me.
- Try to fix up any never-been-married person over the age of 40 and you’ll get interrogated. What’s the story? What kind of leprosy do they have? For me it’s the leprosy of non-conformity, which makes trying to fit into the Betty Crocker box of being a perfect wife challenging. There’s no amount of icing you can spread over my flaky, Dharma-like personality to mask that I’m a dreamer, a Pisces – the illusive fish that can’t be caught.
4. Other People’s Children Are Evil.
- My biological clock must have gotten broken along with my hymen. I never had the urge for kids, but I tried like mad to help raise several for 14 years. They were good kids despite kicking me in the mouth when trying to read them bedtime stories, telling me my boyfriend’s other girlfriend was on the phone every time it rang, and walking in on their daddy when I was playing “Come to Mamma” one too many times. Other people’s children are little Gremlins that don’t deserve to see the light of day.
5. Tastes Like Chicken.
- I asked a friend why she didn’t leave her husband that she complained about often and she said, it would just be the same shit, different man, if she moved on. It got me thinking; there truly are a lot of commonalities in husbands and wives.
- There certainly is a lot of rotating going on in the swap and shop of divorcees, but in the end, you end up with a new dish that tastes like chicken. I left my 14-year relationship shortly after catching that bouquet mentioned in the caption and rode off into the sunset with someone I knew I would marry. My love quest didn’t end at the alter as planned, but come to think of it, he did taste like chicken.
6. I Don’t Like It On My Knees.
- When I was 16, I saw my mom on her knees asking my father not to leave her for another woman. I never wanted to see another woman, particularly myself, in that position again unless it was to give thanks or assume Ustrasana or Marjaryasana (Camel or Cat pose).
7. I Want to Be Alone.
- I like to come and go as I please. I like not having to put the toilet seat down or ask for the TV to be turned down or off. I like taking out the trash, changing my oil, and taking care of my needs and those of whom I love. I like my own company—a lot.
8. Always the Bimbo, Never the Bride.
- This could be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I’m courted but never escorted down the aisle. I’m the girlfriend, the live-in, the good time, the life of the party—but never the bride.
9. I Don’t Need a Man to Make Me Honest.
- I was a Brownie. I am a Christian. I don’t need a man to marry me to make me an honest woman. I need a man to honor me to make me a happy woman. Let’s don’t get the cart before the husband. There is no shame in “living in sin.”
10. I Want it All.
- I’d rather love someone with my whole heart and never have him as my lover or husband just like Yu Shu Lien for Master Li Mu Bai, in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, than give myself completely to someone who is not fully available to me emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I hear too many marriages are lived by absentee ballot or love by proxy.
Here’s a translation for any men who are reading this and scratching their ….
“Show me I’m number one in your life or leave me the f*#* alone.” See #7.
Editor: Hayley Samuelson.
Brenda Clevenger has been happily unmarried for 50 years. She travels, enjoys passionate romances, and extravagant indulgences so her married friends can live vicariously through her. You can read about her midlife adventures at www.midlifemonalisa.com or at www.facebook.com/midlifemona.