Friday, October 30, 2009

The Marriage Dysfunction

My mother said recently, "Now is the time to decide if you're getting married or whether you're ready to be single for the rest of your life." She said it in the context of someone she thought i was on the verge of getting serious with. And ofcourse, her own grandparent-biological clock is ticking - she yearns for the sound of her own grandchildren - something that neither of her children seem inclined to provide in the near future.

Here is my question: What's the deal with marriage? Yes, i understand the innate need to connect with someone, a connection which over time, just becomes richer with meaning and depth. I understand the battle against loneliness.

Over the last few weeks, i have had opportunity to observe a few marriages from closer quarters than usual. My friends and their spouses, my father and his wife, and finally, my cousins. Each marriage is unique in its dysfunction. NOT that dysfunction is necessarily a bad thing. The bottom line is that all these marriages seem almost content.

I wonder if that should really be the goal. I have been raised on stories of 'true love' and that magical link that two people share. And in truth, i have had the privilege of being party to such intimacies. But they have not lasted... perhaps because their unique dysfunction didn't have the ability to also act as the glue. Maybe the opportunity cost of feeding that dysfunction was way higher than the benefits?

Or maybe all of that is a load of bullshit.

An ex of mine recently said, of his new fiancee, "She has brought so much love into the family." That hurt a little because of the implied thought that i hadn't...

Maybe that's what marriage is about.. the ability to channel love into the watering hole that the whole family drinks from. Maybe the inability to do so is my personal dysfunction. And if that is true, then i (and everyone else) shall probably be better off with me choosing the 'single-forever' option.

I guess i'm just hurting a little, because someone i DID like a lot (talk about delayed understandings) appeared to not like me that much. And i think i was party to the classic "reject him before he rejects me" move.

The real dysfunction is that i don't know if that's true. Or whether i'm meandering in the alleys of self-pity because it makes for a better story.

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