Remember that fabulous scene in Grumpy Old Men where Grump I throws raw fish in Grump II’s honeymoon getaway car? I love that scene. It has me roaring with laughter every time.
My best friend Lee is a very unconventional thinker. When most people hear someone say, “I’m getting married,” they get excited and express congratulations. Lee, on the other hand, pointedly asks, “Why?” in a very concerned manner. She embarrassed me and stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard her say it. And the second, and the third. Why on earth would she say that? Does she not realize that getting married is what people do? That we must continue the species?
I recently read a blog that reminded of her answer. The blog read like an advice column for people who go from relationship to relationship. It recommended finding healing before moving on to the next gig. At heart I completely agree with that. After all, we want relationships to work, don’t we? We don’t want to make the same mistakes if we can avoid it.
That said, I read it through Lee’s eyes and asked myself, “Why?”
Why move from relationship to relationship? Have we been sold a bill of cultural goods that we must be married or in a relationship to be fulfilled? Must we have someone in order to be complete? Single-hood is deemed anathema. So we settle or swiftly move from one person to another, we believe or hope the next one will work out, not realizing we have raw fish in the honeymoon getaway car that will soon have us tearing up with disdain.
I’m not against marriage or intimate relationships. I am positing that there is another way.
What’s wrong with being single? Admittedly, few are contentedly single. I’m blessed to have many people in my life, young or up in years, who are single and living lives that are not consumed with “hooking up.” Some have never been married. Others are separated, divorced, or widowed. They are a wonderful breath of fresh air. They relish their independence and lifestyles to the full. Many of them are the envy of married people.
After being in multiple failed relationships, a friend honestly said to me, “My picker is broken.” Not only did she realize she had difficulty picking compatible, healthy mates; she also recognized she was a difficult person in general, and probably made a lousy mate herself. She was in relationships to get her own needs met but not very interested in meeting other peoples’ needs.
So next time you or someone else are titipated (not a real word) about nuptial intentions, take a deep breath (smell the fish?), think like Lee and ask, “Why?”