Independence, Loving Ourselves, Marriage, Reclaiming Our Identity, Romance
Comments 6

Marriage: As Meaningful As You Make It?

by Katina Hubbard

I’m basically obsessed with marriage, probably because of my parents’ divorce and my Disney-princess ideas about love. I was proposed to about 5 times before I turned 25. I was engaged once, and felt how heavy a lifetime felt. My ideas about marriage have evolved since then, even to the point where I’m okay if I don’t get married or have kids. My life is about me and my purpose, and if I can’t fit statistically prevalent life events into it, I can still have a fulfilling, prosperous, and meaningful life.

From Disney movies to reality TV…the purpose of marriage is elusive

In the meantime, however, if you catch me aimlessly surfing the internet, give me approximately 4 minutes and I’ll be looking at photos or videos of someone else’s wedding. Just ask my boyfriend, who is so wonderful he will actually humor me once in a while and watch along, making semi-interested comments about the choice of groomsmen’s shoes.

There are whole industries that run on our obsessions with marriage and “happy endings.” However, the purpose, significance, and practice of marriage is something you have to track down and decipher amidst religious jargon and headlines for “How to Prevent Him from Cheating.”

Can someone give me a modern, universal definition of marriage?

I found great irony in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. If you recall, the G.O.P.  went on and on and on about the sanctity of marriage, and about “preserving” our country’s values by preventing gay marriage. Meanwhile, 50% of all heterosexual marriages were ending in divorce (not to mention our own private surveys of the quality of sex life, amount of joy, and love in the marriages that are still intact).

So when I found this video of Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi’s marriage, I found it particularly meaningful. Homosexual couples didn’t have the option to be married, so they, as a demographic, thought long and hard about what it meant and why they want to. No one is demanding they get married to live together, to have children, or to be socially accepted. Marriage instead means something specific and special to them on their life path.

For now, I’ve decided that marriage is about a commitment to growth. I’m looking for someone who inspires me, encourages me, and loves me. I do know that we as humans need one another, but that if I’m not empowered and fulfilled on my own, I won’t have much to offer anyone else.


  1. Anonymous Male, Los Angeles says

    Putting all the obvious notions of why people get married aside, not because they are inferior, but rather because they have been said, I think that there is a new meaning to marriage that has arisen out of our more media filled generation. The old benefits of marriage, and even the former notions of what made marriage a “good” thing don’t seem to hold as much weight with us (I’m speaking collectively, not exactly as I feel myself). For us, marriage has taken on an almost more powerful meaning: the decision to stay with someone forever is much harder one now that there are so many options. Our world has imploded, the media explosion has reversed and now everything is all close together, huddled up next to each other. With simple movements we can open our computer and look at some one that we love or want to love (more dangerous) who might be across the world. Our circles are immense and generally exist without the restrictions of space and time. Deciding “Yes. This is the person I want to be with,” is a much more daunting and almost impossible task for our generation. Today, there is possibly even more meaning behind the decision to marry then previously.

  2. Once I saw marriage only as a civil union, neither necessary to love, or sharing life, and often legally detrimental to the woman involved. Understanding the spiritual purpose and definition of marriage, which is beyond any civil definition, allowed me to open to a relationship/marriage of nearly 23 years which has been a constant source of amazement, personal growth, an open heart, support, and learning of more life lessons in a loving environment than any other life experience can offer. Marriage as a spiritual journey helps us see how we need to change and grow. The commitment one makes is necessary to work through the enviable challenges when two people bring their ” stuff”, i.e. Issues, ego, insecurities, etc. into the relationship. Without marriage it is too easy for the ego to say ‘I don’t need this’ when a relationship is difficult, and all relationships have difficulties. I recommend Yogananda for understanding the spiritual purpose of marriage and Jung for understanding the psychological issues of anima and animus and how they impact relationship attitudes and beliefs. Any individual marriage is what we make it, how we define it in our lives, but at the core is a Divinely ordained path of love and support.

  3. Having been married for 27 years to “the One”, I had a great time. We brought up two terrific children, were good friends and then grew apart. But we were great while it lasted. Now I’m pursing my dreams and goals as a single woman. And happy to do so! I don’t think the 27 years was a waste…I believe we did what we were meant to do and did the best job at it. We are still friends, but definitely have different goals. We even spend holidays together with his new wife and our children and grandchildren. Perhaps the perfect marriage comes with no expectations, a great friendship, making the effort to support each other and being open enough to all options. Human beings are human beings. Love is love. Commitment is commitment. Change is change…and no one can read the future and anticipate all that is to come. So don’t be afraid to jump…just be wise in your decision on who you want to have children with, perhaps. Or open a business with, or travel with, or spend your old age with. It’s up to you to create happily ever after, as there will always be adversity, unexpected occurrences, problems you can’t control, and people you don’t know about. In seeing life through those eyes, you have to be self reliant, self assured, somewhat independent but able to love others and mature.

    • Sharon says

      words of wisdom I think. And what a great attitude regarding your EX. I too have a friendship with my EX – spend Xmas with him, our two daughters and whoever his current girlfriend is. It’s fun. So sad when people divorce with hate and go on hating each other for years. They will certainly finish out their karmas with that person sometime – one lifetime or another.

  4. Emily Kennedy says

    I have been equally obsessed with trying to figure the idea of marriage out – especially now that my fiance and I are planning a wedding ceremony and need to decide what we really want it to be about. Have you ever read this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke? I like to this this is what our marraige will be like:

    “The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust.

    A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development.

    But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”


  5. Nicole D. says

    I agree. You must be a whole person on your own before committing to be with someone for the rest of your lives. Also, doing it for society instead of yourself, or for a wedding instead of the marriage, are not going to help the cause. For me personally, it is a partnership. For better or for worse, I want to go through life with my best friend, my better half: the one who makes me be a better me. It’s not a choice one can jump into and expect to conquer. At twenty-seven though, and married one and a half years, I feel very confident mine will prosper. Call me optimistic. Better yet, call me a princess who has found her prince. 😉

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