This one is hard because I've never thought about how I came to have my opinions on marriage. I'll have to think about it as I go here...
I am a pretty self-sufficient person. I think I have always been this was - as I hear from my mother. I don't ever remember thinking about being married or in a relationship when I was a child. I used to dream and plan about what I would do when I had my own apartment. I had lots of plans for when I was finally not living at home.
Keep in mind, also, that at the age of 6, I decided that I would move to America, which means that I never had any long term plans for South Africa. All my plans had me living without my family in America.
I have NEVER, EVER, imagined myself in a wedding dress. I have never imagined my perfect wedding day. I have never ever thought about that ONE DAY.
I did, however, imagine the companionship and partnership of sharing my life.
Being such a... I hate all the words that can be used to describe me because at some point in my life they have been used as a negative - even though it is a matter of opinion which way they go, so let's just say: being the way I am, I didn't have a lot of attention from guys in high school. They were chauvanistic men who wanted wives. Maybe that's when I started feeling like I was not going to be a wife.
I remember one time sitting around with a bunch of girls and they were talking about how they didn't see the need to learn to drive because their husbands would drive them everywhere they needed to go! Now, in my mind... driving was my first step in the plan to that little apartment. Nowhere in my plan was there a husband.
moving on - to anthropology.
I think this should be a required subject in college, like science and English. Why? because it teaches you about "other"... it makes you realize that there is not ONE WAY... all over the world there are people living their lives in a social system that they believe is right, and The One. But guess what?! it completely contradicts YOURS!! haha... what are you supposed to do about that?! I love it.
Anyway... matriarchal, multiple wives, multiple husbands, bands, tribes, villages, one god, many, spirits, witchcraft, huts, houses, so much diversity in the world. What did I take from all of this for myself? anything is acceptible, and you can define your life if you want to. That is my freedom. I want to live my life on my terms, not those defined by society. The society that I live in, keep in mind, 'cause they are all different.
which leads you to realizing that marriage is not a necessity. It is not an end, it is not a goal, it is just a convention of THIS society.
I do not want to be someone's "wife". I do not want someone to define themselves as my "husband". I do not want what comes with our culture's perception of that word: marriage
(And the fact that people are all worked up about it with the whole gay marriage thing proves my point - but that's another story).
so here I am... I do not need my relationship with my partner to be defined by the legal proceedings of the state I live in. I do not need to define my relationship with Mr. B for you. I only need to define my relationship for me; and we do that everyday when we interact, make decisions, overcome advesity, look at our home, look at our life, make each other laugh, and on and on.
why, on earth, do I need a piece of paper filed in a courthouse to do that for me?
Let me tell you, though, that this is THE most often asked question... people do not understand my decision.
and when they ask
"why are you not married?"
my answer is now:
"I have not yet heard a good enough reason." and of course, said person goes through their opinion of why we should be married:
kids (if gay couples can adopt, and they can't get married, why can't we?)
expression of love (nice one! I don't love Greg?!)
committment (ha ha... if someone is "committed" to you because of a paper, they are not committed to you... they are required by law to be with you... yip, that's the relationship *I* want)
Greg and I have been doing this for 13 years. We have papers filed at a lawyer's that give us all those legal rights that marriage gives us... but guess what...
WE WROTE THEM! WE DEFINED THEM!
My friends tell me that they are married because it is something that they wanted. Now, implicit in that statement is the expression that it was something that they needed to do. They do not judge me for not being married, and I do not judge them for being married. They understand that it is not something that I want, just as I understand that it is something they they want.
does that make sense?