The Marriage Trap

The intimacy of marriage is almost impossible to fathom which is why so many people either avoid (by taking detours into unfaithfulness) or destroy it, when its fragility becomes almost too much to bear. Why not hate the person with whom you have attained such a dire state of proximity rather than having to live with the vulnerability, perishability and fragility of something precious? But think of a typical couple living together for years, sleeping in the same bedroom, dressing and undressing in front of each other, even going to the bathroom in front of each other without embarrassment, and perhaps so mollified by preconception that they don’t even start to notice the changes which are readily perceptible to those who see them on a far more intermittent basis. Humans are social animals and most people have spent their lives inhabiting social units, starting with their parents homes, going on to college dorms, apartment sharing with roommates, and then early relationships and living together which may or may not turn into something more. However, though you might get undressed in front of the stranger with whom you're having a fling, you're truly naked with the person you've locked horns with in holy matrimony.  And most long married couples go through a process which is similar to the making of alloys in metallurgy. It’s the reverse of separation and individuation that occurs between parent and child early in life. The differences that once existed and that fueled the fires of libido begin to fade in tandem with ideologies and long held beliefs. One partner can finish another’s sentences and those very differences which might formerly have made it impossible to be joined at the hip dissolve. Many long married couples are like Siamese twins. And you’ve seen it. When one goes, he or she takes the other with them.

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy’s blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}

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