Friday, September 24, 2010

the institution

My friend Jim emailed the other day to remind me of a deal we struck nearly ten years ago in our college's cafeteria; we agreed that if, by age 30 neither of us were married, we would marry each other. We are both twenty-eight and thirty is right around the corner. He just wanted to make sure I was aware of it.

I was thoroughly amused--not so much by the thought of marrying Jim (I should be so lucky)--but more that at age 19 I was so utterly convinced that I would be married by the time I turned 30. I have so much to do and so many places to go before I can imagine being ready to spend the rest of my life with someone. Also, I'm having a few small doubts about marriage.

Though I am the child of a happily married couple who just celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary, my father is a divorce lawyer. Did I simply fail to recognize that the growing divorce rate in this country paid for my college education? A few years ago, my peers started getting married--now some of them are splitting up. Parents of some of my friends--people who have been married for thirty, even forty years--are leaving one another, coupling up with other people. Celebrities discard spouses like last year's designer skinny jeans. Nothing, it seems, is certain.

I am not easily jaded. I generally possess a bright, optimistic spirit, but I'm beginning to have second thoughts about the strength of this institution. Maybe it's because I've never felt strongly enough about someone to actually want to marry them. People keep telling me I'll know when the right person comes along, but even if he does and I do, there's just no guarantee.

I'm sure I'll get over this. I'll return to my sunny perspective on the possibility of matrimony in my future. That (at least I think), I can promise.

1 comment:

Cerulean Bill said...

My cousin used to say that marriage was an institution, and she didn't want to be committed to an institution.

She married a guy with whom she had four children, and whom she ended up divorcing when she caught him telling someone on a chat room that he loved her.