The Triumph of Hope over Common Sense & Experience

MadPriest has been raising all sorts of provocative issues on his blog today. PJ has been brave enough to take up the abortion issue in response...but I'm going to go her one better:

Marriage---What is it good for?

I read Grandmere Mimi's beautiful post about her 46th anniversary and it made me teary. That's what I wanted for myself. That's what everyone wants when they march down that aisle, I think.

But how many people really achieve it?

My friend Susie says that she believes it is mostly a matter of luck that you find a person with whom you can grow old---a person with whom you can learn, change, and grow without losing your own identity. I think she is right. I think luck has more to do with a happy marriage than any amount of hard work or commitment.

I have not been very lucky---or maybe I just wanted too much. Because, really, I wanted it all. Love. Friendship. Passion. Connection on all levels---spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual. Call me crazy...

It seems to me that only those with an unquenchable optimism can make a case for the institution of marriage--and yet, everywhere I turn, people keep getting married. Why?

If you are married, are you really happy? (And define "happy," please.) Do you see your spouse as your lover, best friend, soul mate---or more as a partner in the "family business"?

Is your marriage what you thought it would be when you made the commitment? And would you do it over again?

How much of your support for marriage is based on the legal and financial protections it gives you? (Right now, I'm not feeling too sanguine about those, but we'll leave that for another day...)

Most important---what do you tell your children about marriage in this day and age? What can I possibly say to my two beloved children about the "joys" of marriage?

I believe in love. I believe in commitment. But I don't much believe in marriage as an institution. (As a friend of mine says: "I support the institution of marriage, but I do not care to be institutionalized.")

I realize this stacks the decks against my GLBT friends, since, for the most part, they don't have the option of "institutionalizing" themselves. So tell me why you want to get married. (Leaving aside all the legal protections...that's a given.)

I will be allowing anonymous comments to this post. You can be as honest as you feel moved to be.