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The Meaning of Marriage

The Meaning of Marriage

I have been thinking a great deal lately about what it means to be married. This is only natural, as I will be getting hitched in about a year. The concept of marriage constantly changes and evolves and varies between cultures. And vehement conservatives continue to protest same-sex marriage and tout the “sanctity” of the institution. I feel it is important for me to come to an understanding of the role that marriage will play in my life.

What does it mean to be a wife? For me, it is about genuinely sharing myself and my life with my future husband. I also believe that being a wife means I am making a commitment to be the best version of myself that I possibly can. That is not to say that, once I’m married, I will hide my faults or try to live up to external standards. Quite the opposite, in fact. One of the reasons I am marrying my fiancé is that I know he loves and accepts me as I am. However, I feel I owe it to both of us to continue to grow and to try to live as authentically as possible.

In the past, of course, husbands and wives largely had predetermined roles. But that has largely changed. As a wife, I fully intend to retain every ounce of my independence – and I know my fiancé would have it no other way. The fact that women have won greater equality and respect is, I feel, very beneficial for the institution of marriage. In previous decades, it seems as if marriage was largely about playing house – assuming roles and building a home life according to arbitrary social mores. But these days, marriage is largely an institution between two equals – at least in many parts of the world.

Which leads me to same-sex marriage. The definition of marriage has changed dramatically over time. Brides used to come complete with a dowry. But now, marriage is increasingly seen as an institution entered into by two adults whose sole motivation is their devotion to one another. It is not about money or status, or forging alliances between groups or royal families. It is not about reinforcing gender roles – or at least not to the extent that it used to be. It is about love and respect between, in my opinion, any two consenting adults. Marriage is an institution that strengthens and affirms bonds. It creates a structure that deeply connects the two individuals involved and fosters love and support.


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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


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10:12AM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

thanks for sharing

12:53AM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

Let us know how it goes.

12:50AM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

thanks for sharing

6:18PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

I think Moses wrote Leviticus

6:14PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Now... Paul, having them monkey around with the religion IS unacceptable. They seem to want God to bless gay matrimony, which is a contradiction.

6:11PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Except for the few celibate marriages actually recorded in history.

6:10PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Difference between holy matrimony, a God concept, and marriage law, a human creation. No gay matrimony won't fly.... because of the Bible. But because marriage in most states is inaccessible to LGBT, gay legal marriage is a good idea.

Married lady friend just told me romantic love is necessarily physical and so I presume all marriage is based on the physical.

5:54AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Paul, homosexuals are only a small minority. Don't worry, humanity won't die out, unless due to overpopulation and environmental pollution!

5:52AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

The meaning of marriage: enslaving women and forcing them to serve men.

5:29AM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve....Adam and Eve not Madam and Eve..Homosexuality is simply a perversion of heterosexuality and NO man made law can change nature.... BUGGERY WILL ALWAYS BE BUGGERY and no man made law can change that fact.
If evolution depended on homosexuality, man would now be as extinct as the Dodo or the Mammoth, so, wake up and smell the coffee, either homosexuals are the "Third Species" and evolution is going down a dead end or mankind has lost its way, which one is it, you choose.

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