It’s funny the way life works: growing up i learned about marriage through broken relationships, innumerable constant failed attempts—one after another—with every pairing i witnessed my family’s and friends’ of the family, and not to downplay the backdrop of the vast populace around me, or on the tube or covering magazines or spread eagle on billboards, attempts at society’s golden hallmark when it comes to courting and pairing up, procreating and rearing. The participating folks never hesitated to think about what their actions, what their example would do/still does in the eyes of the to-come or the babies growing, following footsteps laid in sand turned to concrete or dirt to asphalt. Shit was—is!—a shitshow.
Married for maybe two years, separated (legally is the right adjective i think) for the duration of my child- to adulthood, my parents never were a shining example of this institution called marriage, the sanctified vow under and in the eyes of “God.” Only my maternal grandmother existed as a testament, yet, i never knew how much stock to put into it for my grandfather, her husband, was no longer with this world as of two years prior to my knocking on the door with his name tagged to my premature chest. It warms my heart to believe they would have remained together for ever and ever, but i’ll never know.
An oft-uttered resentment grumbled by my mother for my father’s sister and husband, derailed my embracing and looking for inspiration in their marriage, something close to home to understand it possible, this marriage thing—a healthy one, at least.
A family friend example, a Black love couple: years and years together, house and home built (well, bought), children reared, yet, through the channel of going it alone—my brother, mother, and i—it was difficult to see a true connection for i never understood how to disconnect from only self to connect with others. Life is confusing with what it throws at you. Difficult to distinguish between the chaff and the wheat at times.
With each celebrity couple calling it quits these days, the surgically perfected face of marriage shows a new wrinkle, a hidden dent unmasked. Our desires to live off and through these larger-than-life figures losses its luster. The magical couplings being derailed are microcosmic of what every-day folks go through, except more and more hope is being lost and reality is setting in. These so-called paragons of perfection are mythical. As we fortunately become a more secular society (and hopefully it’s not a facade), the already loosening seams are having their threads of religious marriage ripped apart. There’s an awakening that marriage needs to evolve, to adapt to true goings on in the world.
Polyamorous, the new buzzword of the day (yes, it’s a real word, old as dirt, but now it’s en vogue) is what humans are supposed to practice—i’m not a denier of that. Yet, when it comes to that innate practice, i believe it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, i will have my cake and eat it too when i’m single, but like i said earlier, when i get into a relationship i don’t take it lightly—it’s for a reason, usually very good reasons, because i can pretty much, as i told my mother a few months ago after coming home a tad bit inebriated, i can get any woman i desire, usually. They seem to like me for whatever reason(s). So, as i was saying, when i put my sights on someone, if i believe they are the one for me, they are “worth” being in a monogamous coupling, i’ll do it, or be open to such as long as they’re willing, too. Mutual acceptance and comfort.
I’ve realized, i’ve embraced, i’ve come to terms with really, being jealous in some situations. It’s only natural. I can’t deny human make-up. It’s a futile endeavor at best. I cannot fathom being able to share someone if we’re “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” However, if we’re just seeing each other, fuckin’ around, “dating,” friends with benefits, fuck buddies, whatever the heck is the cool term to use these days, then sure, so be it—have fun, do what you/we want. Yet, even then, it’s still difficult—here come those feelings of jealousy again, of “territory” trespassing sneaking in.
Now older, approaching the societal “down hill from here” limit of three decades lived—surviving, really—has my thoughts again unsure of how to feel. With each relationship, and i don’t get into them lightly, i hope for the one, for that sure sign that i’ll be ready, willing to settle down, to spend the rest of my days with the right woman. It’s honestly harrowing. I don’t believe in absolutes, so the prospect of marriage is off-putting a little. But at the same time, it’s traditional, it’s instilled at a young age and paraded around from birth to death, so it has some learned and accepted value.
Life should be a constant “working through,” a continuous series of progression and regression, attempting new and retrying older things to see what works in a given situation. As of right now, i’m growing in a sense of understanding where i stand, and with that growth i’m taking in all types of information and varying opinions and viewpoints from all angles and people (muses, friends and lovers–oh, and others!).
All i do know for sure: i do believe marriage can work, i want it to, i have faith and hope in it, yet with most things, nothing’s predictable, and when it comes to relationships, it comes down to acceptance, to a modicum of compromise, as well as a steady stream of truthful communication.