Friday, April 06, 2007

The best to some, the worst to others

Picture taken from preisvergleich.org

I have been thinking about marriage a lot lately. I suppose, with so much time on my hands, the subject had to come up eventually. There was a time when to me marriage just meant being married, whatever that meant. To a 3-year old, it did not matter that they were not a match in any genetic way; the 'dad' was an orange dog and the 'mum' a brown bear with scary, blue eyeshadow, they had their respective roles and life was easy. After a while, Barbie came into the picture. The perfect blonde, however disproportionate her stats, had a barbeque set, scooter and cooking utensils, all in lilac or pink. Even then, she got married off to whichever toy sat on the shelf, no matter how hairy or unmarriageable he seemed. Or sometimes when the toy was too unmarriageable for very long, another toy would come 'save' her from her destructive relationship only to have her scorn him and run away with someone else or her new lover would get so incensed with her lavish lifestyle that he would drown her in the bathtub. All this happened in Barbie's wonderful world before I turned 12. I only had 'the talk' or whatever people are labelling sex education nowadays when I was 15, in school. By then I suppose the whole class, with the exception of a completely clueless few, had formed their own sexpectations and the white, picket fence that came with it. Whatever I learned, I learned from National Geographic. Then as I got even older, concepts such as divorce, amicable or otherwise, broken hearts, mistresses, infidelity and unrequited love entered the picture. It is really sad in many ways that marriage in the eyes of a 2-year old looks so different in the eyes of a 22-year old. When did it get so complicated? When did marriage require more than two people just loving one another?

In Roman Catholic Philippines, divorce is still banned. Isn't that fantastic, you might ask? In an ideal world, it would be. However, many women find themselves trapped in bad marriages where their husbands openly sleep with prositutes, gather mistresses as trophies or flutter from one woman to another, whilst flaunting the marriage in full view, mindless of who sees or judges because 'everyone else is doing it.' Even if wives wanted to stoop to the same level in a bid to hurt the other party, the consequences are hardly worth it. Whilst absolute fidelity is demanded of wives, the men are granted sexual licence to have affairs outside marriage. A wife walking out on a marriage, ultimately walks out on social status, security and possibly her children and bank account. These examples of religion marring marriage makes the secular world of equal rights so much more tempting; at least if the marriage fails, if pre-nuptials were not signed, you can walk out with your head held high. The world is not all lavender fields and rose beds as Cinderella, Snow White or Sleeping Beauty would have us make it out to be. Princesses don't marry street rats. Frogs don't turn into princes.

But as with all other problems in this world, it boils down to a problem of the heart. Sometimes we don't want to try anymore. Sometimes we let Disney dictate what love should look like.Sometimes we forget we're wearing rose-tinted glasses so when Bryan Adams sings, "Look into my eyes..." all we see is the rose-tinted world we want to see. Sometimes we just want attention and care so much that we forget that marriage is not simply a get-out clause for loneliness. Whatever people's reasons for wanting marriage, I'm still finding my own. I wonder if trust and a pre-nup can go hand-in-hand. I wonder how I'll react if someone cheated on me. I wonder if marriage is just a legal guise, a front for all sorts of scandalous conduct behind closed doors. Can all marriages be saved? I don't know. And if I can't find satisfactory answers or reasons behind reasons, maybe as much as the world says it is good for a woman to marry, it may well be the case that I will be better off not.

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