I do…mostly.

What?

          Ladies and gentlemen, we have spent a week talking about the state of marriage. As we wind up the week, we can safely say that marriage is in trouble in general. We have two mentalities tearing down the simple act of two individuals committing to one another. Whether it’s the religious hypocrites co-opting the concept of marriage or individuals who feel that marriage is like a tissue, if you blow it, throw it away. Either camp treats a marriage with either false sacredness or disregards the importance all together. However, maybe these two groups are not that far apart after-all.


          Lee says: Paul and I were married in the same Catholic Church where I had done my first communion and confirmation. Paul had been confirmed at that church and I, as the ingénue in this story, had sung in the choir for this holiest of sacraments. We committed to love, honor and tickle one another ‘til death or murder tore us asunder in the presence of God, Father O’Byrne, family and friends. Did wearing the huge dress and penguin suit in God’s casa make our marriage any more special than a couple who got hitched at the courthouse? No.


          How about those individuals who spend countless dollars on the perfect ceremony, dress, release of the doves and bio-friendly oats to be thrown at the picture-perfect moment after signing pre-nups and selling the wedding photos to O.K. Magazine? Are they assured happiness on the order of every dollar they spent or earned from their marriage deal? No.    It seems these days, whether you are married in a church or beach or backyard or visitation room in a local penitentiary that marriage is an act of convenience. It’s like getting married is like going steady and divorce is something you can get in a Happy Meal.


          Take the concept of pre-nuptial agreements. We are in essence saying to our potential life partner, ’Baby, I love you. However, if there comes a day when I don’t, I need to protect my shit. So you leave this marriage with your shit and I keep mine. O.K.? Love you baby.’ Now, perhaps I’m being old fashioned, and Paul knows that when he hits big I own his ass, but why don’t we make these kinds of arrangements for the relationship instead? Why aren’t we taking the time to prepare for marriage instead of getting ready for a killer wedding?


          From the moment the question is popped to the ’I dos’, we are spending every waking second planning the wedding. Even couples who choose to do things low-key fret about guest lists and music and the bar and seating arrangements and dresses and tuxes and rings and limos and gifts and food and reception halls or hotels or churches or beaches or back yards…. From the second we plan on getting married, we stop preparing for a marriage and focus on a wedding. A wedding, which only lasts a few hours, is a product of months of planning and thousands of dollars. A marriage, which is supposed to last forever, is seen as a by-product of a wedding, with minimal investment and planning.  
 

          Sure, we know that churches require pre-marital counseling and in Florida you can forego the 3 day waiting period if you take a four hour pre-marital counseling class. And we know that individuals who do pre-marital counseling are more likely to stay together. However, many pre-marital programs are part of wedding preparations and hardly tap into the issues that the couple will face in a real-life marriage. In other words, learning to make a budget is all good and it’s important to decide whether you will support one another if there is a crises but what about the big questions? I propose we create a Pre-Nuptial agreement that includes things like mandatory couples therapy before separation, 1 couples retreat on a yearly basis, 3 hours of deep conversation a month, sex at least once a week and a good kiss every night. Now I’d sign that! 


          Paul says: I like that pre-nup too. So much better than the one that I signed saying that, if I try to leave, Lee gets one of my kidneys and my spleen. Apparently, according to the agreement, Lee has the option of removing them herself. And yes, the contract is unidirectional.


          I really should have read it first. But the boobies…

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