Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Marriage Now, Marriage Forever?

Dr. Tammy Nelson wrote a piece found at about the current state of marriage and what the future holds for marriage and relationships.
Marriage, up until now, has been defined by five things:
One, being married to one person,
If we're talking about dominant US law. Not if we're talking globally, especially historically.
Two, marriage is between a man and a woman,
Again, in many places, yes.
Three, marriage meant that you were partners for a lifetime,
A lot of people have included that notion in their vows. Average lifespans used to be shorter, marriages were often business deals between families, and most people lived their entire lives in the same rural villages.
Four, marriage was a promise based on integrity as well as a legal contract and,
Pretty much, yes.
Five, marriage meant sexual fidelity to one person; forever.
Not if "fidelity" means "only have sex with." If you mean it was expected they would be ongoing sexual partners, then usually, yes, but that doesn't exclude other sexual partners.
More polyamorous couples are living in openly agreed to multiple partner relationships in this country than can fill the island of Manhattan. And that is only the people that openly identify as 'poly.' Some have this arrangement but do not care to call themselves 'poly' or check off the box when researchers come around to ask who the other partner is that's sleeping in the guest room.
There's something on which we definitely agree.

She goes on to write about divorce and cheating.
In the future, gay marriage will have been legal for decades. More arrangements between couples will include open marriages with sexual agreements, polyamory will be more common and perhaps even polygamy will be visited in the legal system.
Something else on which we agree.
We will judge less on sexual identity and more on how we treat one another.
Let it be so!
But we will always want a primary partner. It is a basic human propensity to fall in love, to have a special person, an "other, " someone with whom we feel a deeper, more spiritual connection.

But could we have this connection with many partners, not just one?
Of course we can.

I suppose there will always be some people who follow the model some people have been trying to force on everyone in the US: Find one stranger of the "opposite sex," and same race, date them, marry them, have kids with them, stay with the same partner for life, living in a "single family" residence. But we are also going to see more people who do not hide or avoid: having a relationship with a close relative, whether that is a genetic relative or step relative; having same-gender relationships; having interracial relationships; having polyamorous relationships, or couple up but swing or swap or have casual threesomes or casual partners; not having kids at all or raising kids with someone who isn't a sexual partner. To each their own. As long as they are all consenting adults, they should be free to have the relationships to which they agree.
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