Bout: Love vs. Marriage
My Topic: Love
My Opponent: Amy Eaton, Marriage
Charity competing on behalf of: Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative (PACPI)
And if you want credit for committing yourself someone, getting married is REALLY not for you. It seems like it is, with the CONGRATULATIONS!! and the hugs and the showers and the bachelor and bachelorette stuff and the presents and the big party wedding and the legal advantages, but if you are the kinda person who needs a belly rub in order to admit tender feelings for another human being you probably shouldn't be in a relationship, let alone get married.
Do not, DO NOT be romanced into a marriage merely by the idea of a wedding. This is not theoretical, couples go through this. Sometimes you get so swept up in the adulation and all the warm-fuzzies that you forget you are making one big, public choice that others will hold you to (and judge you for) for the rest of your life.
In an unmarried relationship, yes, things may feel a little less secure, a little less permanent. But you are both waking up every day, for good or ill, and saying "I choose you. I CHOOSE to be with you because I like you; I just like you that much, I want to be around you.” You get this little daily choice.
Once you're married--Once you're floating together in that septic, abandoned cruise ship of an institution; you are still waking up next to each other every day, but the difference is you both already made ONE BIG CHOICE. Which, in effect, precludes the little daily choice. It steals the little daily choice that affords for forgiveness, room for mistakes, the little daily choice that knows every day will be different and worth reflecting on. Well, you took care of that in one fell swoop didn’t you! Who wouldn't rather pay off a loan in one lump sum, than make tiny payments for years on end?
But the expanse of that ONE BIG CHOICE stretches out before you both, blanketing the unlived years in a monochrome of predictability. Instantly “I choose you” has become “I chose you,” implying that the time for choosing is over, and there is no longer any reason to earn anything from your partner.
Before long, you are turning to your beloved to say "Good Morning, you deadlocked roommate for life--you well-meaning, yet inescapable black hole of all individuality, creativity and ingenuity." And your mate turns to you and says "Greetings, un-emotional and pitiless Cthulhu who can't give me a moment alone and insists on reducing everything I do to a trait traceable to one of my parents."
In an Irish handfasting ceremony, the wedding couple each have one if their hands bound to their partners' with a ribbon or a thong of leather. Do you know the only other event that ritual is used for...is knife fights? To the death?
Marriage is the ultimate cage match. Handcuffed to each other by the government, locked into a cell of picayune details and endless trivialities, it is at once an endurance test and a decades long race to the grave. No-holds-or-manipulations-barred, oh you stopped counting rounds, BUT YOU NEVER STOPPED KEEPING SCORE. Years pass as you grind each other down to codependent wastes of space, hips creaking, joints popping, ears fading with the unforgiving hum of tinnitus, lips struggling to hold the foreign polymer dental replacements in your half-empty mouths, until one of you finally yields by giving up the ghost--and you, the remaining combatant, raise a bony arthritic fist, corded with blue, hardened veins barely concealed under the tissue paper of your skin: Victor by Default!
But really, what is the difference between being married and being in an un-wed long-term relationship? Honestly: Paperwork. I'm not knocking anyone who wants legal status for their relationship. What I'm saying is if you are pitting Love against Marriage, Marriage loses. You can't have a successful marriage without love, but you can have successful love without marriage. There are thousands of couples in states who are still holding out. And nobody in this room would question their love, would question the validity of their relationship. Nobody here would tell them “If you’re not married, its not real.”
When it comes to the question of love and marriage, many are left with only one of those options. Thankfully, it is the greater of the two.