Sunday, May 13, 2007

Marriage...In the Abstract

Now I have no problem with abstract entities such as numbers, goodness or God. In fact, as a professional philosopher I spend almost half of my time explaining to people why the first two exist and the last one doesn't. Moreover, some of my best friends are abstracts (like my psychic ex-girlfriend who broke up with me two months before we met). But when it comes to making practical life-changing decisions, mere abstracts have little place. For example, I've often heard single women talk about how much they want to get married. They don't have any specific candidate in mind, but they simply want to get the abstract. There's just something about the concept of marriage, that makes them want to spend the rest of their lives trying to attain it (which, incidentally, is the same way some guys I know feel about vaginas). Of course, I should hasten to add, the desire to get married is certainly not limited to women. Why, King Solomon was a man and he pretty much holds the world record for number of marriages; I mean, the bloke had like seven hundred wives! (Can you imagine being the girl he dated and didn't marry!)

But I digress. The point I'm making is that given the high incidence of divorce, and the equally high amount of unhappy marriages, the desire to just get married (in the abstract) seems, at best, ill-advised, and at worse, down right masochistic. A much more prudent approach, in my not so humble opinion, would be to focus on developing wholesome, fulfilling relationships. And if one of those relationships should lead to marriage, then so be it. But if not, then at least you won't be one of those sad blokes trapped in a union they wish they could get out of. But simply deciding that you want to get married (in the abstract), when you haven't even learned how to have a successful relationship is a bit like deciding to jump out of a plane and then worrying about whether your parachute works. In short, it's putting the cart before the horse, the target behind the gun, the regret-filled hangover before the night of tequila shots and the ill-advised phone call to your ex.

But I know what you're thinking: Get off the bloody soapbox, mister. You're just another guy who would prefer not to commit and you're trying to justify your own fear of commitment by spouting a whole lot of high sounding BS. Well hello, professional philosopher here; spouting high sounding BS is what I do. And as for the allegations that I have commitment issues, I would have you know that I have joined a fear of intimacy support group (though I'm seriously considering dropping out because all the members are way too clingy). But that's really all besides the point. Some day, I hope to meet someone I can spend the rest of my life with. And if I did, marriage would seem like a good idea.  (The tax benefits alone would make it worth it, not to mention health insurance.) But “getting married” is not something one should ever do just for the sake of doing it.