My relationship with the concept of marriage is a bit fraught. I went through my first divorce at the age of thirteen, when my dad decided he didn't want to be with my mom anymore. At the time, he painted it like it was Mom's decision, but that's not really what happened. My second divorce occurred when I was just out of my undergrad. That time it was my stepmom who made the call, but it wasn't without reason; and, being older, I was able to see her side very clearly. My dad's actions forced me out of his circle as well, and it's been strained ever since, even as now he is on his third family. I went through my own divorce beginning about five years ago, an ordeal that left me psychologically scarred.
A lot has happened since. A lot of healing has taken place, and in the past year and a half, I have felt myself again. It's been a journey, and I am grateful for all the stops along the way, all the people I have met, and all the friends who have stuck with me despite the darkness and pain I've carried with me.
They say that, historically, marriage is a business transaction. It's a merging of assets to create a larger fortune, or to expand one's territory, or to gain prestige. The relationship between marriage and love has been argued extensively. Romeo and Juliet might be about that, though A Midsummer Night's Dream takes the concept to its absurd conclusion—and still ends with all the couples neatly arranged, all the love settled and ordained. I've been of the mind for some time that love can be true, lasting, and even consecrated without the mantle of marriage thrown upon it. Yet, marriage has its visibility in the law, and so I see the benefit of getting married as an addition to the love two people feel, not as a necessity.
This is all to say that I've met someone. She's a perfect fit, made to measure, a match I would go to the grave with. As much as I know there is no real need for marriage to sanctify our love, I understand its importance. The act of marrying is one that J.L. Austin recognized as one of the basic performative utterances—in being said, it is done. The marriage ceremony is all performance, but that performance has a certain power, a particular meaning. It is a ritual which many communities perform, though in different ways and with slightly different meanings and purposes around the globe. There is a spiritual aspect which weaves with the communal aspect. It allows the community to participate in the shared love, and, for those who believe, it invites the divine presence into a shared life.
It is hard to know what the future holds, but having a kindred spirit share your path makes it better. I hope we may be able to always see that benefit, and to always see the good in each other, and support each other through the darkness and pain which always inevitably arises. Patience, understanding, and love is the only way to heal the world.