I like to separate out those things which are natural human behaviors from those that exist primarily due to cultural influences. Marriage is an interesting one to grapple with.
Let’s start with the basics. I think it is natural that two people meet and develop this thing we call “falling in love.” What that is exactly is a bit of a mystery but obviously sexual attraction is a big part of it. However from that point on things get a bit murky.
It is still a standard belief that if the two people form a relationship that the relationship must go somewhere. That somewhere used to pretty much mean marriage but now cohabitation is also a viable option, but even in most of those cases marriage is seen as a next step.
Marriage came about due to religious and cultural influences. It is also a civil contract between two people that is easy to get into but usually difficult to terminate. Therefore, although I see the relationship as natural, I see marriage as something primarily created by society.
Now don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of good that can come from marriage. I was married for 26 years and most of those years were good. Creating a family was a natural act for me and marriage provides a convenient way to accomplish that goal. I envy those people that stay happily married for life because there is a certain stability that comes from that.
But the divorce rate is commonly reported as being 50% for first marriages and even higher for second marriages. That kind of failure rate is not tolerated in most areas of society. Could you imagine getting on a flight if you knew that 50% of the time the plane was going to crash! So let’s just say at the very least marriage may not be the ultimate answer for all people or all situations. In my opinion I really don’t think second marriages work well at all.
In many ways my relationship with my ex Narcissist girlfriend was good. However it didn’t take long for me to realize that there was no way I could live with her. I was just not comfortable enough in the relationship for that to happen. For her a relationship had to culminate in marriage so I kept searching for a way that could work with no success. Eventually we broke up and I don’t know if she ever got married or not. If she did I would sure like to meet the guy and ask how he was able to do it.
The thing is that we still could be in a relationship if marriage had not been the ultimate goal. Maybe there was no way it could have worked with her because she needed marriage as a tool to gain and maintain control. But don’t we all know people that have said they loved their ex spouse but just couldn’t live with them?
So we need to accept that marriage or cohabitation does not have to be the ultimate for all relationships. Where a relationship is going is where that particular relationship was meant to go and that is okay. It at least has to be seen as a viable option. Each person in that relationship can decide if where it is going is okay with them or not. If not then the relationship can be ended for the sake of trying to reach a different goal such as marriage but at least it would not be an automatic response but rather one that is made while being fully aware that other options existed for saving the relationship.