Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Marriage

Marriage is a confusing topic isn't it?

Being South African I can clearly remember a time when I wouldn't have considered having children outside of marriage, or even of taking out a joint house loan without that firm commitment. On my dad's side of the family, with the notable exception of himself, none of his generation have divorced. My mum's side all have, but they're British-born so that's different ;-).

Now that I'm nudging past the 35 mark without ever finding someone silly enough to commit completely to me I find myself wondering if it's really such a big deal. If I continue to wait for "Mr Right" to propose I may never buy a house or have children, and that is beginning to overshadow my previous priorities.

It's not like marriage is a guarantee of someone sticking by you any more anyway. A couple of my cousins are already divorced, and many of my friends and aquaintances have thrown in the towel at least once. Being a single mum or dad doesn't carry the stigma that it used to, even in South Africa. I earn enough to manage a mortgage and raise a child alone if I have to, so I don't have to marry to be financially secure.

But I still want to get married. I'm an incurable romantic and I don't think being a "girlfriend" is good enough, I want to be wanted 100%. And I want to give myself 100% - I would absolutely change my name, merge my identity, have a family, pause my career and put my husband first.

Of course marriage is hard work, but that's why it's more meaningful than "boyfriend-girlfriend". If you're not married then it's easy to walk away, so marriage is not entered into lightly. It's not just a romantic gesture, it's a very big deal. People who say marriage is a piece of paper are not taking the commitment seriously. It's a promise to go the distance in spite of the hardships coming up - and there are always hard times to work through.

Anything less is not a real commitment, and where's the point in that?

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