I suppose the reason I am so intrigued by relationships is I have come to see them as a giant puzzle that can’t be solved. So when I come across a piece that just doesn’t even fit in the puzzle I become even more intrigued and I have to examine it.
One such piece is the notion that marriage creates greater security in a relationship. I don’t get that at all and certainly not when so many marriages fail and when there are so many people that remain married who are unhappy.
I have no doubt that if a person sees marriage as a source of security that they will feel more secure once married. But does that mean the relationship is more secure? I don’t think so because with that security comes a sense of complacency. In that atmosphere of false security warning signs that the relationship is in trouble might be missed.
Of course one argument is that marriage is difficult to end. That certainly is true. But does anyone really want to be trapped in a marriage if the relationship ends? Don’t we all know people that seem trapped that way? That sure doesn’t seem like security to me.
The main problem is that our culture for some reason ties love and marriage together. There is no reason it has to be that way. Love means that two people want to be in a relationship with each other. Some for religious reasons want to be married. Okay then two people can have a religious ceremony without going to the next step of marriage. Marriage, stripped of any ideas about love or romance, simply becomes a legal contract in regards to how to look at money, property and children.
If two people get together for the idea of creating a family I am all for doing the things that make doing that easier and which create a strong family bond. Living together and having a sense of partnership does that part. Government laws play a large role in pushing people toward marriage which is unfortunate but real so it is hard not to be married under that kind of environment. I was happy being married for most of my married years but my wife and I both became complacent leading to the eventual end of the marriage.
My children are all grown and there are other divorced people in the same situation. So now if I want a secure and loving relationship how can that be accomplished? The first way is to make the relationship day to day. The second way is to not live together but to follow the LAT concept of living apart together.
Day to day does not mean there is no commitment. It just means that you are with a person that day because you want to be with them. Like all relationships they would be more fragile early on but as time passes a bank of positive experiences will be created if the people are right for each other and the relationship is healthy. Conflicts will be resolved and compromises will be reached. This bank of positive experiences will be what helps the relationship get through tough times. However, it is possible that the relationship can fail and the two can more easily split up, but that is exactly what makes the relationship secure.
To me security means that I am with someone out of love and my partner is with me out of love. I don’t want anyone to feel trapped or to be frantically looking to have an affair. If that is the case we are better off being apart. In other words I want real security in a relationship and not a false sense of security.
The LAT concept probably is not as critical as being day to day but if economics allow it then it is an innovative approach to removing potential problem areas from a relationship. One person can be messy and the other can be neat. Space is a given so introverts like me can be with extroverts more easily. We may share our money but we each will have our own money also. You get the idea. It is simply a way to make being in a relationship simpler. Of course there would be sleepovers and shared vacations but also times apart. If the two people miss each other during the time apart is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.
We are all in this thing called life together. As part of the human community we should be openly and candidly examining why things don’t work and what is being done because of cultural norms. I contend that marriage as an institution doesn’t work although it may be just fine for some. I simply think that we need to be more open and accepting of other approaches so more of the people that want relationships can be in a happy, loving and yes, secure one.