Today Jessica and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. I’m damn proud of that. We’re still having fun together, we still laugh a lot, cry on each other’s shoulders, and are very much in love. She’s a remarkable woman and I’m lucky to be with her.
American culture thrives on disposibility. Here today, gone tomorrow. That includes junk food, junk entertainment, and of course the “hook up” culture. I’m glad Jessica and I have stayed married. And I’m glad I was never a part of the hook up culture. I believe in the power of marriage as a means to personal fulfillment, but also as an anchor for a productive, healthy society. It is relationships like ours that produce healthy kids (that grow into healthy adults), a stable economy, and intellectual and cultural innovation.
So staying married means more to me than just a quality life on a personal level. It’s also a powerful way for me to give a big middle finger to everything I detest about popular American culture: the greed, the disposablility, the cheap everything, the lack of commitment, the aversion to work. And it’s a way to show that marriage can work, despite all the articles in magazines that say otherwise. Staying married is also a way to celebrate all the things about America that I love: a strong work ethic, commitment, family values, and innovation.
Some folks say that humans aren’t meant to be monogomous. I’m not sure that’s true. Maybe some humans aren’t meant to be monogomous, and maybe some cultures work better without marriage, but I find it interesting that no matter how experimental or liberal a society becomes, marriage is still viewed by the majority of the population as an important foundation for a culture. This is true in Holland as much as it is here in America. I’ve read numerous polls that state that although the divorce rate here is over 50%, almost 75% of people still think marriage is worth pursuing.
This all makes me sound rather Republican, but in fact my political attitudes are quite liberal. I definitely celebrate gay marriage as much as I do straight pairings. I don’t care about one’s religious beliefs, sexual orientation, skin color, whatever, but I do care about things like work ethic, commitment, and honesty. A good marriage has those qualities in spades.
Having said all that, I need to qualify my statements by recognizing that I have many friends and family members who have been divorced. I don’t hold it against them in any way. In all cases it was for the better. I also need to recognize that some day Jessica might get tired of my nonsense and throw me out. Or that if I pass away early she’ll remarry and find a wonderful mate that she’s very in love with. Indeed, I hope she does. But none of that negates the power of a good marriage and its importance to society. Jessica and I have been lucky in that we’re naturally compatible, but we’ve also worked hard to make this work. I’m happy to flaunt that in public since the dominant message these days from the media seems to be that marriages don’t work and “hooking up” is the way to go.
At any rate, it’s been a great 15 years, and I’m looking forward to another 15 and more. Jessica is a treasure.