Marriage: holy matrimony or entrapment?

By Tim Drugan-Eppich

Marriage is a beautiful thing.  Two people decide that they are going to commit to a life with each other and decide that they are going to engage in the ultimate experiment.  Will I love this person my whole life like I said I would?  Or will I slowly grow to resent her (or him) with every little thing she does making me grind my teeth down to smooth nubs?

I suppose I am not qualified to speak on marriage seeing as a relationship of any length is a foreign concept to me.  But I do have some observations as an outsider looking in.  And like the guy who is watching a party through the window, I might have a different perspective from someone on the inside.  Someone who is caught up in the beer that just got spilled all over his shirt and the fact that his girlfriend is dancing intimately with Donald.  I mean, it would be different if it was someone smarter than a muskrat, but Donald?  Come on.

My belief that marriage is not a commitment I am going to make, and probably one most people should avoid, begins with the idea of entrapment.  When you are sitting in your room watching TV, motoring your way through a couple bags of cheese puffs, you probably have no interest in getting off your butt and heading out the door.  Why would you?  It is so comfortable right there. Also: cheese puffs.  Now, what if you hear someone lock your door from the outside?  Not so comfortable anymore, huh?  

See, if people are told they absolutely can’t do something, suddenly they want to do exactly that thing.  Don’t press that button.  Please don’t walk on the grass. Don’t touch the artwork. You can never sleep with anyone else. Well, now I’m going to press that button and put my handprint on that artwork—while having sex with someone else on the grass.  What I think is that in the “commitment” to marriage, married people are suddenly making the commitment to stick with that other person much more difficult.  

Now that you know you can’t leave, every little thing that you used to find endearing is now a drain on your mental well-being.  Remember how you used to make her laugh by pointing out how she would slurp her coffee?  After 10 years of that slurp, you’re wearing noise canceling earphones to the breakfast table.  What about how he takes those long pauses in between sentences, those pauses that you used to regard as a sign of his thoughtfulness and care with decisions?  Now it just seems like his train of thought is stalled out at the station.  Deciding whether or not to get whipped cream in your hot chocolate isn’t that difficult a decision, Watson!

Obviously, this leads to a less-than-rowdy sex life.  A study on sex in marriages found that, on average, married people have sex 58 times a year, or a little more often than once a week.  Not too bad, but what if you’re part of the 15 percent of married couples who hadn’t had sex in the past six months to a year?  I thought one of the main reasons people were in relationships was for the consistent sex.  Without that, you’re dealing with all the horrible stuff and leaving out the fun.  But perhaps it’s difficult to get excited about sex after you’ve been with the same person hundreds of times.  Maybe you fall into a painful routine, knowing exactly what the other person is going to do next.  I’m quite pleased with my howling hippo move, but if used too many times, I’m sure a woman would grow tired of it.

If you wake up next to someone in the morning, and he was there yesterday morning, and you know he will be there for the foreseeable mornings to come, why not start the day off with a bit of nagging with a dash of passive aggressive comments about his mother’s facial hair?  When you both know that you are stuck together—unless you’re willing to go through a messy, pricey divorce—couples become shockingly mean to one another.  Whereas when the door is wide open and the option of walking through it is always there, if you want someone to remain in your life, you have to be nice.

Then there is the financial hurdle of marriage.  When you are dating someone, your finances are separate.  You want to spend your money on a nice car, and she likes to save hers.  That is great, and both of you can do what you want financially.  But when your relationship becomes discussing what to do with your “shared” income, that leads to yet another reason to bicker.  I don’t think she’ll understand what a steal those “Jurassic Park” figurines were, and how it would have been a crime not to buy them.

And what if the marriage fails?  As 50 percent of first marriages do, along with 67 percent of second marriages and 73 percent of third marriages.  Divorce settlements are usually less than satisfying for both parties, and more so for you.  You really think the mediator is going to take your side?  You are less than charming, and now look, your husband is getting your dog, and you were the one that always fed Snuffles!  But most people don’t think it will be them, at least that is the only explanation I can get into why anyone would continue to get married.

But I’m not under the assumption that if I get married it would work out. In fact, I’m pretty confident in the opposite.  I am not the easiest person to be around, and I like being in charge of myself.  I also like variety.  When I go to a frozen yogurt shop I don’t try one flavor and decide I’m going to have that for the rest of my life, I try all the flavors, and then go find another store and keep trying flavors!  Perhaps it is time that people change their thinking when it comes to the institution of marriage.  Why can’t we just keep dating?  Dating is fun!  And I haven’t heard of many dates where at the end of it someone has to give up half of his or her stuff.

Tim Drugan-Eppich is a senior majoring in English.