I’ve had two conversations this week which have surprised and saddened me. The gist of both was the same – I was speaking with people who believed that getting married was the solution to relationship problems. It makes no sense – how does binding yourself legally to someone resolve pre-existing discontent? And why would you bind yourself legally to pre-exisisting discontent?
‘But at least then we’ll be committed.’
‘Well, if nothing else it’ll make his parents happy if he was married.’
‘And she’ll feel better once she’s settled down.’
Aaaarrghh! I couldn’t believe I was hearing this. Had I timewarped to the 1950s? How is it possible that in 2011, people are still willing to commit to misery?
On reflection, I realised that at the heart of this ill-logic was the deep seated belief that being married is the holy grail – not only of relationship, but of the wider fabric of a person’s life. It was almost existential – grasping at the confetti, not to provide happiness but to secure a committed discontent.
I think the braver and happier option is to dive into the dynamics of the relationship. There will be gifts of passion wrapped inside the discontent. The outer form of relationship will follow naturally.