Should Marriage Licenses Have An Expiration Date

I do. These two little words, only three letters in total, are the beginning of the end of millions of lives as were once known. As I write this I am not sure that marriage between any genders is a good thing. I can’t say that it is a bad thing as well. Maybe that is the beauty of marriage to another completely autonomous individual, in that what seems to be, rarely is, and it is hard to get a handle on the outcome of the whole thing. For two people, with completely different brains, that think in completely different ways, to join together and work as a unit to conquer this thing called life sounds good in theory, however in reality it proves illusive. One has to wonder whether a lifelong contract is really the best we can do, and even whether it is conducive to the pursuit of happiness. One can enter that contract at eighteen years of age, which when my fifty year old mind considers the state of my eighteen year old mind, I can’t help but think this is nuts as a society to allow this to continue. Yet I do not believe that an infinite number of breaths taken as a single person could prepare you for what marriage brings to the table.

Socrates is credited with the statement “By all means, marry, if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher”. I once took solace in this quote, as I thought it fitting, and the older I get the more philosophical I become. However, and quite strangely as I become more philosophical, I am beginning to see the bad wife was paired with a bad husband. While she certainly did not make it easy to be the head of the household, I failed to take the position of authority the right way. A strong woman needs a strong man, and I haven’t exactly lived up to that. I came into this with a lot of mixed signals from society, like the man is the head of the house, the two become one, it’s about compromise, and so on. I don’t care how much you pray, the two do not become one. The man is not the head of the house if she doesn’t see it that way, and if you compromise with the devil, get ready for hell.

The two become one is a phrase taken from the Bible. The Bible is supposed to be God’s book to us so that we may know how to live this life properly. We are supposed to pray to God for strength and guidance, and whatever else we think we want. The problem comes when over and over the prayers go unanswered. It seems the phone is off the hook up there. We are told to just lay it all at the feet of Jesus and have faith that whatever happens is the will of God. Been there, done that, and the two did not become one. I am talking over a span of years; plenty of time for Him to change us into a marital force heading in perfect harmony to a glorious life. No busy signal, no click, no dial tone.

The submissive wife. The perfect little angel who follows unquestioning her husband through life, for better or worse. Sort of sounds like what’s expected in the middle east doesn’t it. The man is the head of the house also comes from the Bible, which was written in the middle east by the way, and again it does not work to try to pray your wife into submission, or for that matter even into cooperation.

Ayn Rand wrote “There are two sides to every issue: One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.”. If one wants to save money and live within their means, and the other wishes not to be bound by the limits of their income, and make full use of our inglorious credit system, where is the compromise? There is right and wrong, and when right compromises, in the long run the whole family suffers.

The murkiness of marital dynamics between two individuals coming into it with diverse characteristics, with no deadline, bound for life, with no real training or practical instruction beyond what they picked up from their parents marriage, which fell somewhere between miserable and blissful, can not help but be a breeding ground for adversity.  That is the one thing marriage brings with it that might just make it worth it; adversity.  Napoleon Hill said “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”.  How often do sports teams fall just short of reaching the championship this season, only to win it all next season.  They always say that while getting so close and losing was horrible, it had to happen to make them strong enough to win the next year.  And always they say, it was worth it.  Adversity is possibly the best teacher, leaving the student who perseveres with a full understanding of the lesson.  It is one thing to learn a lesson, but quite another to understand it.

I would posit that marriages are like wealth in that a very small percentage reach greatness, some are good, some are mediocre, and some are poor.  By sheer percentages the odds are that yours could be better, and I know mine could.  Adversity abounds in ours as though it is the third member of our marital trinity.  This is not the type of threesome anyone wishes for, unless you are some weird masochist, which I am not.  It has been rough, but it lately is getting better.  I have started to become the change I want to see.  I no longer try to compromise when it comes to what I see is a matter of right and wrong.  I no longer think that we have to stay together for better or worse.  Possibly most importantly, I am focusing on me.  We didn’t pick up a plant based diet, I did, for me.  We aren’t trying to become more than we are, I am, for me.  I no longer care whether she approves of my “weird” thoughts, words or actions, so long as they are positive, to me.  I also now notice that by and large, she does approve, is becoming more than she is, and I think she’s doing it, for her.

The key here was realizing that we have not become one, are not one, nor are we ever going to be one.  We are both individuals who came into this world alone, and will leave it alone.  The part in the middle, this life, we certainly benefit from cooperation but ultimately need to be responsible for ourselves.  One person cannot morally be held responsible for the actions of another.  It’s just not right.  We all know from a young age what is right, and what is wrong.  It seems to get gray as we get older for some reason, but that inner knowing is still there, if we tune into our conscience and pay attention to our thoughts, and open our eyes to reality in the end if we do the right thing, good things happen.  We all respect people who do the right thing, and this is actually how we earn other’s respect, especially that of our spouse.

A year ago I would have told you that just like any other license, like perhaps a driver’s license, a marriage license should have an expiration date.  Both parties would have to agree to renew it to keep it valid from time to time.  If you bring children into the world, nature herself would tell you that you both have a responsibility to take care of them til they can fend for themselves.  By today’s standards you just moved the expiration date out eighteen years.  That would be doing the right thing.  Call it pay to play if you will.  But beyond children, two adults could be free to let the license expire if they feel it would be for the best, and there is some evidence this might be good.  A year ago I would have let it expire, but then I would have missed out on the chance to become a better man and husband.  Like I said, it is better now, but I can’t say that if the expiration date was next month, what I, or her, would choose.  A one year renewal perhaps, I would give it that, but the thought of a ten year renewal well, let’s just say that neither of us wants another ten like the last ten.  Is that weird?

I once heard investment advice on when to sell or keep a stock. If you did not currently own that stock, would you buy it at it’s current price right now?  If the answer is yes then keep it; if it is no then it is time to sell.  I have often wondered if this would not also apply to marriage.  If you were not currently married to your spouse, would you say “I do” now?

By for now weirdos

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Am I Weird?

You are weird.  I mean you are an undeniably freaky, off the charts, complete weirdo.  No?  You don’t think so?  Well think about this for a minute.  You have thoughts that seem to run counter to every normal person you know.  Not all of your thoughts, but you know the ones I am talking about.  You are certain you have feelings and secrets that no one, or very few others, experience.  There are things you do that if someone saw, you know they would think you are weird.  Still not buying into it?  You have said things that other people shook their heads at or rolled their eyes.  Other people have laughed at you and not with you.  There are times other people disagree with you and think you are wrong.  You know that you are not completely normal.  You know that there are things about yourself that are completely different from everyone you know.  If you would stop and be honest with yourself right now, you know I am right.

I know this because I am a weirdo as well.  You and I are different that way, although to me, you are still weird.  Let’s face it, there are things about you that would never occur to me.  But that’s okay and I will tell you why.  I know this may sound a little weird, but I like to come up with my own definitions for words.  Not to change their meaning, but it allows me to not just know what a word means, but to actually understand it.  Maybe I should say I like to put the definition into my own words.  George Carlin would love that.  So one day out of the blue the definition of weird showed up in my head and it goes like this:  WEIRD  is anyone who would think, say, or do something different than you.  When you give that some thought you realize that pretty much includes everyone on the planet in the group you would consider weird, at least to some degree.  Even the closest people to us have ideas that are weird to us, but to them are completely normal.

Now this is where things get interesting.  The weird thoughts you have are exactly what makes you; you.  They are what make you different from me and everyone else, which is exactly why we need to embrace and own those thoughts which make us weird.  The weird thoughts, so long as they are positive and not negative, meaning they ultimately raise and not lower yourself or humanity, are a clue as to who and what you could be that the rest of us need.  And I have come to think that the rarer the thought, similar to jewels, the more valuable the thought.  Thomas Edison is credited with giving us the light bulb which completely changed the world.  How valuable was that one weird man with the crazy thought that he could create light.  We don’t really think of him today as weird but I doubt many people had the same thoughts he did, and how lucky are we that he embraced those thoughts and didn’t suppress them and try to fit in.

It is time to claim your place as a weirdo among us, and embrace the positive weird thoughts that belong only to you up til now.  Just so you know I am on this path, I will tell you I recently became a vegan.  I live in a northern state in the midwest which makes me about as weird as it gets around here.  I will explore this decision in a coming post but for now this has been one of my weird thoughts which has bloomed into a most positive outcome.  Norman Vincent Peale said “Change your thoughts and you change your world”.  To do that, you must become aware of your thoughts, claim the positive, let go of the negative, and act on it.  A positive thought is one which promotes your life, where a negative thought would undermine or diminish it.  For me becoming vegan promoted good health and hopefully longevity.  That qualifies as positive and is why I embraced this weird thought.

Bye for now weirdos