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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

The Evolution of Marriage

If pre-marital sex were still taboo, I bet there would be more people jumping at the idea of marriage, and even more couples staying hitched. Not to say “back in the day” couples got married solely for the wedding night fun, but I’m sure it was an added bonus. Or added pressure. Virginity was, needless to say, a major factor when it came to marriage. If pre-marital sex were still shunned, divorce would be then be obsolete seeing that if someone found themselves back on the dating market, who could they jump back into bed with? Everyone was saving themselves.. Not to sound negative, but it’s the truth, and since times have changed, what does that mean for modern day daters, and especially, modern day marriages?

A few weeks back, I was waiting to meet a friend for coffee. I was early, surprisingly enough, and waited outside. A couple was walking by. I could only assume they were a couple. I saw them coming toward me, walking their dog and chatting away. They looked happy enough and seemingly enjoying their sunny afternoon. But as they crept closer, I picked up bits of their conversation, and was surprised at what I heard.

 

“So what’s the point of getting married, then? Tax purposes?” he asked. She shrugged, then nodded in agreement. Friends or lovers? I wondered. Or was she so desperate to keep him, she’d slight marriage. Maybe he was more important to her than her tax refund.

Case B. My friend is dating a guy and she told me , “I don’t know why. Where is it really going? He never wants go get married.” Yet she enjoys his company, they have fun, so why shouldn’t she be dating him? Isn’t that the point of dating? Or is it…

If marriage used to be the ends to the means of dating, what is dating now? Where does marriage stand and does the modern dater see that as a main priority and focal point when dating? When we date, do we automatically wonder if we are wasting our time? If marriage is on our agenda, then dating is an interview process. But what about those who aren’t interested in marriage--who are dating for the companionship but not the til-death-do-us-part commitment? Should that be addressed with the “so do you have any brothers or sisters?” or “yeah, the ottoman should definitely go in the corner.”

It is of course not uncommon for couples to move in together without being married, and even though many hopeful romantics believe the next step to be marriage, often times it isn’t. Many times either the man or woman simply does not want to get married. They are fine with the commitment of each other, but not necessarily the ‘by law” part. Why do they need a certificate to validate their love? they ask. Many have been in this situation, and move in with it, and think it will change, and it doesn’t. And if they are okay with that, fine. But if not, and they let it go on, it can be devastating.

Which is why, just like with the kids issue, marriage is now a topic that should be brought up fairly early on. Not in a scary, hey I like you, let’s meet up for drinks and talk about our thoughts on marriage, kind of way, but in a casual, been dating for a bit, just let it seep into conversation, sort of way. Let’s be honest, it isn’t like the old days, marriage is not expected anymore. Anticipated? yes. Hoped for? often. Discouraged? maybe. Dreaded? I won’t go there… But like pre-marital sex used to be, marriage is turning into that sort of taboo idea, and in twenty years, who knows what place it will have?

Think about it. The evolution of marriage. From arranged marriages to a dowry to mail order brides. To the divorce, same-sex marriages, and polygamy. Marriage has its many faces, has flip-flopped and reinvented itself. Have we lost sight of what it really is?

People are consumed by the idea of a big wedding and a big rock, but that isn’t what marriage is. That’s not even what a “wedding” or “engagement” is. Did you know that the engagement ring dates back to the ancient Romans? The roundness of the ring symbolizes eternity--the union of the marriage that will last forever. Cross your fingers, folks!!! It is worn on the left “ring” finger because it was thought that a vein or nerve ran from that hand to the heart. Yeah, I didn’t know that either. But sweet, isn’t it? So before you get that emerald cut and decide to be trendy and wear it on your middle finger, well, maybe don’t.

But will marriage become obsolete? Do people deem marriage “necessary” anymore? Where it once bore great significance, is it now just a couple of rings and a piece of paper? Can you have marriage without the “marriage?”

I hope for the sake of happy daters everywhere, that it doesn’t. That marriage is still at the end of the tracks somewhere, if of course, that’s the train you want to hop on. It may not be the stop at the next station, but it’s the destination. And along the way are all the amazing other stops that will set the groundwork for marriage. Enjoy the ride.



Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at NicoleMRoberge@hotmail.com.


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