Is Marriage an Outdated Idea?
I am a deep believer in love. In fact, I probably cannot live without love as I firmly believe love is the true essence of human beings.
“Love is our true essence. Love has no limitations of caste, religion, race, or nationality. We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love. To awaken this unity and spread the love that is our inherent nature, is the true goal of human life.”
-Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi)
Love is my religion. However, despite being a deep lover in life, I am certainly not an advocate for conventional marriage.
We need to understand that the system of marriage is after all, a social institution created by humans for various reasons. And everyone is unique in his or her own way of approaching life, so I do not believe there is one size fits all. I respect those who have chosen the conventional path and those who have found marriage worked for them.
In this article, I simply want to share my views on why conventional marriage may not be for every one and most certainly not for me.
1) Marriage does not equal love and vice versa
Conventional marriage assumes everything is constant from the moment people exchanged vows about how things will never change ‘until death do us apart’.
Apparently that is not the case. Divorce has existed for about as long as marriage exists, so although we’ve been practicing monogamy for a long time, but we are still not very good at it.
‘The divorce rate is alarmingly high in the US at 53%, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Hungry are worse off with divorce rates higher than 60%. Australia fares a little better but had a rate of 45%. Belgium has the highest rate of divorce set at a staggering 70%.’ (source from Business Insider). In China, there is also a soaring divorce rate over 50% especially among the younger generations.
All these staggering statistics worth us to delve deeper on why marriages fail in many instances.
In my opinion, love is simply a flowing energy from within and it is certainly not stagnant. If people married for love, then after a while, they might discover that the love they initially married for might not be there any longer, or the love might disappear but it is also possible for it to come back later, or never come back.
It is rather foolish to assume everything is constant, for Heraclitus has pointed out thousands of years ago that change is the only constant in life and I think this natural law still proves to be valid to this day.
Everything changes and nothing stands still — the water flows, the stone evolves, and how can love be stagnant?
2) I love many
Another main reason why conventional marriage is not for me is because I believe there are too many “the ones”. When some one told me it is because I have not met the one, I always had to raise an eyebrow. Whenever I think I have met the one, the Universe will keep sending me another Mr Right, and another one and another one…World’s population is about to reach 7.5 billion and out of all these people, there are surely a few the ones!
From experience I know I have the capacity to love many. If you are a person with a relatively open heart, you probably would not find it difficult to connect and love others. If I am married or in an exclusive relationship, then I might be labelled cheating all the time.
I fall in love easily and I see beauty in many people. I am attracted by different qualities in human beings. I might see wisdom in you and courage in him… Even my Indian Yoga Philosophy teacher once mentioned that a woman needs six men to satisfy her needs (so do men for sure!).
How can you compare England with Brazil, Italy with Japan, France with India? Each place is unique with its own beauty and so is each human being.
However, loving many does not mean I need to have sex with many, practically I find it difficult to do. But that does not mean the freedom for me to appreciate the beauty in other people should be taken away. And whether I choose to act on it, that is an entirely different matter (Not sure if that makes me a polygamist or a serial monogamist or someone who prefers an open relationship, but let’s not get too technical on labelling).
In essence, I find it is important for the freedom to be there. Even if I willingly choose to be loyal and committed to one person, if the freedom and possibility to appreciate and love other human beings is taken away from me, my heart and soul would somehow sink a bit, and that is probably when my love could potentially die.
3) Are human beings really programmed for monogamy?
Conventional marriage assumes everybody is monogamist, that we will only have sex with the same person after marriage for the rest of our life. The idea of marrying someone and not looking at other human beings nor feel attracted by other humans, no matter how intelligent and beautiful they are, seem to be quite bizarre and rather unrealistic to me.
Human beings are by nature social beings. We like company, and probably more than one single company. If we are all programmed for monogamy, why do people cheat all the time and why there is the existence of prostitution? Cheating and prostitution, if you delve deeper, seem more like the by-products of marriage. If marriage does not exist in the first place, then there is probably no need for cheating and prostitution.
4) Exploring the Alternatives
From my memory, out of all the marriages I have witnessed, there are probably one or two relatively happy ones. Most of them are lasting, but all seem to be a bit dead and boring from my perspectives.
One thing I would like to add that the alternatives to marriage, such as open relationship does not mean it is necessarily easy and I recognise that it is also not for everyone as one needs to overcome a lot of negativities in our human minds first, such as jealousy, fear, ego and sense of insecurity et cetera, to be able to handle a healthy open relationship.
If you are a person that is possessive and easily jealous, then open relationship is definitely not for you. And this is common for most people, including my old self.
I used to be an easily jealous and possessive person, but when I was spiritually awakened and kept walking and growing on this path, I found that I do not really get jealous anymore. When my heart starts to open up and expand, I actually think it is rather beautiful for my partner to go and love someone else, to spread more love to the Universe. Also, it creates space in our relationship, which in turn creates more love.
In my opinion, one needs to grow emotionally stable and spiritually mature to handle an open relationship. Actually whether it is marriage or open relationship, in order for the relationship to work and for love to thrive, it all requires us to be very conscious. This includes about being honest to oneself and others, to be tolerant and compassionate towards others and openly communicate about our needs and desires.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
For me the exclusive arrangement in marriage makes the whole thing even harder not because I cannot be exclusive to one person, but rather I cannot have the freedom taken away from me as mentioned earlier. I value freedom too much to compromise it for anything. To me marriage is unnecessary and a very limited way to our existence.
However, I am not saying the system of marriage does not work at all, after all, it has stood for centuries! Perhaps for some people, marriage may be the most wonderful and beautiful thing, because that is what they want, to be exclusive to one person for the rest of their life, and I totally respect that.
My ideal kind of love and relationship would be the kind like Deva premal & miten, the spiritual partners and musicians who have been touring the world and sharing their music, wisdom and love with as many people as possible.
I finally had the privilege to see them live two months ago in Australia. They are not married but they have been together for over 26 years. You can feel that their love for each other is still very strong. In an interview, when they were asked whether they are exclusive, they replied no. Deva said they do not use that, it is a freedom that they do not need to use but the freedom needs to be there, otherwise they would find it difficult. I echo with that statement strongly.
I hope the society can be less judgmental and more accepting towards people who are not really into the conventional path (whether it is marriage or other aspects in life). I also hope to see more open-minded people to experiment the alternatives in life, to create a life that responds to the truest calling of our souls, rather than a life that merely follows the conventional path rendered by the society.
The only condition I might get married may be with someone who has the same ideology -but I am sure this person would not need marriage either 🙂
Originally published at medium.com