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30 July, 2008

The Marrying Kind

I went on one of my "Well, I'm behind again" runs through the blogs and livejournal and came across a couple of posts about relationships and marriage, which of course is one of the umpty things on my mind at the moment. (I'm more preoccupied with depression, celiac diet, and wrestling with work, but marriage is at least mostly more cheerful.)

One of the things that I've been chewing on is the space between the private and the community; marriage is a liminal thing, really. And where the boundaries on community are.

And it's hard to write about the stuff in my head. It's odd, the way marriage is much more a publically stated thing than, say, my d/s, but the d/s is mostly easier to write about. But there's the thing where a marriage -- at least an unmarked case thereof -- doesn't require much in the way of explanation. I can say "my husband" and it just floats off on discourse, and maybe something gets misapprehended because some people have dippy notions about what that means, but for the most part that doesn't even hit undertow.

A bit of my brain wants to make wedding plans right now. Work out the format, the structure of asking people to witness, the contract. It's been kicked into my mind because of poking at the question of rings and their design, and it's not shaking loose easily. And it's maybe early (though some people do much more long-term planning on such things), and it's certainly busy, and yet ...

... I fret about things. Like trying to navigate the nightmare of parents, who might well have been happy about our respective first marriages, but have varying opinions on the validity of the second. I want to talk to my brother about the nightmare of trying to figure out the lowest-drama solution for dealing with my mother. (My brother, dear sane fellow that he is, took my announcement of my engagement with a, "Congratulations. I guess I should meet this person sometime, huh?")

And maybe it'd be easier to do the private little oathgiving and ring exchange with a few loving hecklers as witnesses, but I'm too much of a liturgist and ritualist to have that feel like it works for me. Easier to just skip the whole question of what to tell the parents, if anything, and have it come up when it comes up, if ever, easier for someone whose mind doesn't have the same shape as mine.

And an acquaintance just came out poly to his parents, someone who's been poly for long enough that his children, half a generation or so younger than me, were raised in a household in which that was normal. He'd gotten worn down by it all, I gather from his writing about it. And there's meaning there, and recognition, though I don't know what sorts of relationships he has.

What does a marriage mean? This shape of placing that relationship in a context that I cannot right now articulate. And my context is complicated and full of family and friends and the eloquent tangles of the past, and for all that I've had this ring half a year it's only started to feel real in the last half-month, the thing that I never thought would work out for me, the thing that leads me to snuggling up in a discussion about plans and parents and marriage and saying, wonderingly, "How did we get here?" to get the answer, "We really failed at casual sex."

What does it mean to do this, to stand up and say it, even though the society as defined by that which holds the laws cannot and will not hear it said? What does it mean, to do it damn well anyway, without religious imperative, just because it matters?

I think that's what I'm wrestling with, under all the flailing at other things, that deeper grappling with why. Superficially, the ability to answer the drama if drama comes with an understanding of why is provoking it.

But the thing about doing it is knowing what I'm doing.


Kim said...


Bruce Baugh said...

I just wanted to say that "marriage is a liminal thing" is very likely the single most enlightening thing I've read this week.