the origin of marriage---check out this link. In my journey to rid myself of my insecurities and jealousy issues, I thought it interesting to check out the very definition of what a marriage is, where it began, where it is now, and where it is going. Today's paper has a front page article about marriage called, "Married Households Wane". So far, in my Internet searchings, I have found one instance where men "owned" women, but not where a woman ever "owned" a man.
In other words, in a marriage, to me, each gives to the other freely.
It is the 21st century people. What marriage used to mean, and what its purpose was, has changed radically in the last 40 years. We no longer "need" to get married, we get married because we WANT to BE married. But what does that actually mean? Are we living today by yesterday's antiquated notions of what a marriage is?
I just think of my "vanilla" friends who are caught up in jealousy and possessiveness. The way I am right now, in other words. It's exhausting, and really pointless. Think about how hard vanilla couples try to stay faithful to one another. I have some very good friends that are young, in their 30's, and it's just about all the wife thinks about. The husband travels frequently with his job, leaving his young pretty wife alone with the kids most weekdays, and she worries he's cheating on her. Knowing him, he may be--he's good-looking, arrogant and charming. But she's no slouch either---she's a Britney Spears lookalike, and gets plenty of looks. She brags that one time they were out at a bar and a guy was checking her out and her husband punched him. Punched him! Is that how we deal with attractions to other people? We punch them out????
Now, she didn't even admit to being attracted to this other guy. But I'm sure it's not the first time someone had given her attention, and believe me, I know how lonely my friend is. Instead of spending all her time worrying about what her husband may or may not be doing on his business trips, why not have some fun of her own? What if they had an open marriage instead? What if they were both open to the idea that they will always be attracted to other people, and if they allowed themselves to stop feeling shameful they could improve their relationship?
I know, this is a big leap from a guy who punches another just for looking at his girl. You might call him a Neanderthal, but isn't it only natural to fight for someone you love? Who can blame him? He is only acting like he's been taught. We've all been taught that when we fall in love, we OWN that person's heart. YOU ARE MINE. DON'T LOOK AT HIM/HER. As a relationship goes from those first flirtations to long-term, it's in our nature to look around and see what else is out there.
Dr. Laura says to channel that flirtation back into your marriage. We do that. It's not enough. The sexual drive is so strong, and yes, we're not wild animals, we have the ability to reason and not act out.
But how happy are most long-term married folk? How many have secretly had affairs? What if that wasn't necessary? Imagine being able to have your cake and eat it too.
Imagine being in a relationship that was free. Free from ownership. Free from jealousy. Free from insecurities, free from worrying that our loved one will flee. If you have evolved from all that as my one girlfriend has (the one in the open marriage I told you about the other day) then you can have a wonderful marriage.
She says you can't stop your loved one from falling in love with someone else. How good does it feel to be controlling? I know my vanilla friends are very possessive of one another and frequently argue--"I saw you looking at her tits!" This diminishes her worth in her eyes, every time he does look at another woman's breasts. But does it have to be that way? What if it had nothing to do with her? What if she were to fully enjoy the gaze of another man? What if she allowed herself to enjoy his touch? Would it diminish their love for each other?
Most married couples would answer "YES!! ABSOLUTELY!!' In many wedding vows are the words, "....and forsake all others". That's not hard in the beginning as you feel the fluttery butterflies of new love. But what happens as 10 years, 15 year + go on? As the tediousness and routineness of married life, especially once kids come. We grow, we change, our needs change, and as we age, we need different things and different people. I know I have different friends, why not different sexual partners?
I know, I know, this is way out there for most people. I'm still new at this myself, even though we've been swinging for over 6 years, I realize I'm still very jealous and possessive of my husband. I don't own him, I don't own his heart or his penis just because he married me.
There are different definitions of what a marriage is, and for some, if not most people, totally monogamy is the way to go. I am finding out that even though that is what I thought I wanted, it isn't what suits me nor my husband anymore.
Sometimes it makes me sad to think of our wedding day, I couldn't imagine ever looking at another man or having sex with anyone else. And I struggled for years after meeting Mickey--what did it mean that I loved this other man? I knew I hadn't stopped loving my husband, in fact, we were closer than ever. I felt so fucked up, how could this be?? This wasn't how I was raised!!! What's wrong with me??? What's wrong with us???
It's taken all this time, experience, reading, lots of therapy and good friends and a great husband to realize that we can redefine what a marriage means to US and have it be different than what a marriage might mean to someone else. No one else has to know, no one else has to approve. It is between the two of us.
18 years ago, we vowed to love one another (we left out the "forsake all others", interesting?") and we do. I am 100% committed to staying married to him and love him deeply. I know he feels the same way. It's very hard overcoming a lifetime of "shoulds" and roles we can't play. But we're in this together, and together, we'll fight for our relationship without punches. Without jealousy, without possessiveness.
I have a long way to go, but I'm excited for the journey.