Tis the season for engagements!
Like me, I bet most of you are sick of the constant jewelry ads that are everywhere this time of year. But, the jewelry industry is well aware that Christmas Eve and Valentine’s Day are two of the most popular days of the year to “pop the question” so I don’t see the ads ending any time soon.
As much as I hate jewelry ads, and much as I hate so many future brides demanding rings that cost more than my car and wedding that cost more than my house, it’s no secret that I love marriage. I truly believe that the union of two people who truly love each other and are committed to weathering life’s storms together is the most beautiful thing there is. And yes, it works, even in 2015.
Before I go any further there are two things I need to clarify:
#1 I mean ALL marriages. Same sex or opposite sex. Love and commitment are love and commitment. Period.
#2 No, living together isn’t “just like being married”. Marriage is a lot more than a piece of paper or a shiny ring. It’s a lot more than buying a house together. It’s a public, life-long commitment that’s recognized all over the world. Every culture on Earth has some type of marriage covenant within their most deeply held traditions. There is a reason for that. End of discussion.
I could never list all of the reason why marriage just plain works, but here are a few of my favorites:
#1 The Love of a Friend. Marriage is about so much more than finding a lover. It’s about finding a friend. A friend who knows you almost as well as you know yourself- and sometimes even better. A friend who can still love you even after seeing you at your absolute worst. A friend who is always happy for your successes and your support system in your failures.
#2 Health. Study after study has shown that married people live longer than single people. It’s also been reported that married folks are actually having MORE sex than their single counterparts and that the sex is better to boot. And everyone knows there are many heath benefits to sex!
#3 Children. As much as people try to deny it, it’s still true that it’s best for children to have two parents at home who have a loving, stable relationship. Those kids report less stress, are often better off financially, and have better relationships themselves. Much of my respect for marriage comes from seeing the rock-solid marriages of my parents and grandparents. And while I can’t say my childhood was perfect, it was pretty damn good.
#4 Naming. No, I’m not talking about having the same last name as your spouse, although there are lots of reasons why that’s pretty cool. I mean what do you call your “special someone”? If you are married, you introduce your spouse as much and there is no confusion. Everyone understands what’s going on and you can move on to the cocktails. If you’re not, you have a variety of options, but no good ones. “Boyfriend”? That’s fine if you’re in high school but a little awkward at 35, especially if you’ve been together for 10+ years now. “Partner”? What, are you practicing law together? “Lover”? No. Just no. “Live-in”? So, a nanny? A butler?
#5 It just does. There are so many intangibles that cannot be put into words. The safety, the inside jokes, the united front against the world, the simplicity. It’s magic. And it’s something that should be treasured every day.