Marital History; Choices

Clearly the history of straight marriage is not one of choice and it’s built on specific rights of people specifically curtailed for economic reasons. Abduction, kidnapping and rape of women for marriage as well as parental control over children, sex segregation, arranged marriages, and strict social rules of marrying within one’s own religion, ethnic group and class, plus more, are all part of marriage history. Marriage as a social institution structures our society for the hierarchies and imbalance of economic power.  The freedoms won over the past 100 years and the changing dynamic between the two groups that make up a[slides

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traditional marriage –  men and  women – brought us to more freedom than ever existed and is why we have come to this debate. Domestic violence and rape, women’s work outside the home, birth control, sexuality, which unrelated adults can live together, rules on name usage, family, other financial privileges, responsibilities and rights over children and unborn, rules over bodies; all these social issues are issues of marital freedom.

The constitutional protection of marriage here is not just about individual marriage but about how marriage is the social institution that structures our society in a certain way that has many, many implications on our lives and how power and economics is structured. Many of our unexamined behaviors reflect a tradition based on rules for political and economic power.

The idea that marriage be about love only has only ever been an overlay on the structure. It’s why the love changes and is unsustainable, because marriage has not been traditional of love as the sustaining force that structures it. Romantic lover of a partner was a rebellious love opposing traditional marriage. Just because we are bombarded with the story of marital love in media doesn’t reflect the accuracy of the story to reality. In fact, the stories seem more of a propaganda message to color reality of marriage and seduce children into it’s arrangement only to have a rude awakening once entered. It’s an economic institution serving political power. No coincidence that Romeo and Juliet are a central cultural love story. Almost all our stories end with romantic love at the wedding ceremony or end with a largely unscripted fictitious happily ever after.

If marriage is changed to an institution based on LOVE completely, then the original structure and purpose of marriage is compromised. It already is. For example, inheritance; the inheritance of men’s accumulated material wealth from a lifetime of work no longer goes directly to the eldest Son as it was less than 150 years ago (but still does often anyway). Women and daughters were once not allowed inheritance. Women’s unpaid work isn’t only about daily pay, it is about the lack of a structure for their work to be accumulated to power, wealth, (that then molds social political power) and for inheritance to children.

To me this social conflict bordering straight marriage with another specific group of people we now call homosexuals is like Lutherans fighting against Catholics over baptism yet not questioning the whole religious institutions. They want the same rituals. Even more, a homosexual has never been a ‘person’ at all, let alone a person with specific rights. We don’t politically label people by what type of vehicle they drive or endless other ways we could label and group people. Homosexuals historically never were a labelled person, but homosexuality was simply a ‘behavior’ that any person could have.  There were only two identified sexual persons- men and women. The move to create an identity is also part of the control of marriage and control for grouping of power to gain choice or limit choice. And In fact, wanting marriage implies agreement with the social institution itself. The groups declaring equal rights for same sex  just want to alter one tiny aspect of the rules of who gets to marry, that is, according to the visible public debate. This social development follows years of relaxing rules about marriages pertaining to  religions, sex, race and nationalities.

No one is killed over the specifics of baptism anymore but they were during Reformation. I think the debate needs to be more honest about all these underlying, unspoken issues because they are there. The church – specific religious groups tied with political power – has lost significant power in controlling marriage.

It seems freedoms within marriage have been very popular in many ways for many decades. Moving forward to dismantle and sever the marriage from the church’s power, values and rituals entirely seems to be an issue. It is no surprise that members of religious groups have risen up in resistance to certain marital freedoms.  It is an issue of changing out of the dominance of specific religions that controlled society through the ritual of the wedding ceremony ; a ceremony that has elements of being an empty shell of a ritual now perceived as private apart from all the social unexamined behaviors within marriage.These private behaviors only exist as a result of what was once publicly controlled and passed on intergenerational.  Marriage as a social institution is not just about individuals, it is about the entire society. I think that the debate needs to examine, encompass and confront the issues accurately.

And until singleness is acceptable and tolerated in ways that marriage can tolerate and not be threatened as well, we have a system that has little choice for survival unless married. In fact, recent economic changes are actually compromising certain individuals ability to marriage in yet another way; developing an underclass. Discussing various other aspects such as singleness and issues of mother’s freedom is less visible and less tolerated than discussing homosexual issues.

What does it mean when the rights of singles is less of a debatable issue of freedom than the rights of same sex partners? I think it means that we are largely unthinking about what we do surrounding marriage and we mostly just follow order with a lack of integrated understanding of our inherited social structure of marriage.

In other words, when you unpack the reality of the history and the social changes already in process, you see marriage has not been a choice, only an institution that has consistently relaxed it’s strict control of people. You must ask….Who controlled? History shows the Fathers of Social Institutions controlled. In fact, the most significant marital change occurred right after the wars on baptism, and that was the Declaration of Independence when equality of men moved sons to a freedom from the Fathers control, specifically more freedom in their ability to choose a partner. Those fathers were both educational, political and religious fathers. There is no coincidence that the Grand Old Party is exactly what it is fighting for exactly what it always was.

Why is it that the history of marriage is not considered an important historical subject taught to all children in public educational institutions but avoided and denied while presenting a fictional narrative about love elsewhere?  I believe that is, in origin, because it was such an issue of control of the Fathers that it wasn’t considered a subject to be intellectually examined or debated – let alone discussed at all. It was their absolute power. It was at once complicated and yet simplified as a social structure power of Fathers control over women and children. That is, Fathers that not only controlled women and children in the home, but also left the home and gained equal social control over women and children outside the home. Their Power battled with and over other men, women and children by their social occupational power as authorities in all social institutions that simply would not exist except for the power gained through the structure of the marital institution.

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