Marriage Before and After the Ceremony

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Marriage Before and After the Ceremony

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The Dream Vs. Reality

Most girls marry because they are expecting a child. There are no firm statistics, but the likelihood is that as many as sixty-five percent of all American marriages take place because the girl is pregnant. The sole purpose of the marriage is to "give the child a name." Most of the time the parents decide on a divorce even before they get married. Many of the parents don't love each other. They've had intercourse one night, furtive and unsatisfactory, when neither of them was quite sober. By the time the girl tells the boy she's pregnant, he's half forgotten the whole thing. She thinks he's lying. He thinks she's lying.

The girl now bullies him painfully into accepting his paternity. Her family bullies his family. The two young people, though there may be some affection left, already begin to hate each other. They were ill-matched from the start. They haven't the faintest idea how to run a household, not in emotional, or in financial, or in sexual terms . The whole thing is a mess. There is more heartbreak than joy. Sex is dirty. There isn't enough money. Each of them tries to prove that he's superior. Both spend their early married life in needless, endless, pointless bickering. Both of them wish they'd never been born.

Yet each of them believes, now as ever, that one day, if only the goddamn divorce were finally through, he'd meet another person who would be made for him. They'll love each other and get married and have perfect children and lead an exemplarily happy life. And so on, and so forth. The contradiction between the dream and the reality is so enormous that all hope of bridging probably cause more resentment than it will bring help. For the myth of romance, of love, of passion has been so deeply inbred in us that we cannot face life without it. Why is this so?

Because we are a wealthy country, the wealthiest country in the world. We have very nearly everything that human beings at the current state of technology can expect. Yet we are not happy. We feel empty, unfulfilled, miserable, fearful, and uncertain. We fluctuate between extreme anger at the injustice of the world and pangs of conscience over the injustices we have committed ourselves. We oscillate between shame and guilt. We don't know what exactly we fell ashamed of, what we feel guilty for; we only know a vague, all -pervading unease. We say: "There must be a way out. Something must happen to get us out of all this misery."

In other words, love is the last frontier, the last hope, the one and only thing that can still save us. We hope against all evidence that it will come to us. For if we lost that hope, we might as well kill ourselves. We cultivate the idea of face seen in passing from a swift train on a gray afternoon - the face of the one and only man, the one and only woman. If only the train didn't stop, so we've had it. if only the train had stopped..

This is lunacy, or as close to lunacy as you can get without actually getting yourself committed. Yet we all believe it, firmly, unshakably, with the devoted loyalty of the native-born American swearing his oath to the flag. God help us, for no one else will.

> We believe in this extraordinary kind of love as if it were a message from the Lord. But is it? No such concept exist in the bible. Neither in the Old nor in the New Testament. The ancient Israelites were largely polygamous. Solomon had many wives apart from the one (or the ones) apostrophized in the Song of songs. Christ's proclamations on love bear no relationship to the pagan concepts that we worship. Our pagan ancestors did not believe in anything like our present creed of love. Nor do the other great civilizations of the world. Not in Sumer nor in Babylon, not in Phoenicia nor in Syria, not in Crete, not in Egypt, not in Assyria, not in Persia, not in Greece, not in Rome; neither among the Mayas nor among the Aztecs, neither among the Incas nor among the Toltecs; neither in the case history of the great Hindu empires nor in that of the Muslims; neither in the history of the subtlest and profoundest civilization man has ever known- that of the old Chinese - nor in that of their popularizes, the Japanese, do we find anything resembling our present idea of love.

Any single one of the separate concepts might just conceivably have worked on its own, but even that only under wholly different social conditions than ours. The lot together, however, is farcial. And the fact that we totally ignore all of them while paying verbal homage to them betrays their impracticability. For why do we really marry? Either, as we have seen, because women get pregnant by surprise; or because someone flatters us into it.

The first man to tell a woman that she is the only woman in the world for him will find her attentive ear. If he is not positively repulsive and if he repeats often enough that she is the only one for him, she will rapidly come to believe that he is also the one for her. Try it among your friends. If you want Miss A matched up with Mr. B, all you've got to do is tell her that he adores her that he adores her and him that she adores him. tell her that he told you how much he admires her. tell him how often she told you she admires him. If they are typical, average Americans between twenty and thirty, they'll be in bed with each other before you can say Kinsey. It makes no differences if they're already married to someone near the national norm in mentality and morality, they'll be there, on time, with the whisky bottle by the bedside and the radio playing in the dark.

This wouldn't be quite so horrible as it sounds if it didn't go side by side with the myth of "love" which both of them will not only proclaim but honesty believe in- in spite of the evidence of their own behavior. Something, in short, is very, very wrong. But what? The educated Japanese who is familiar with our literature, our habits, our arts and crafts, our sciences and techniques, is baffled, and continues to be baffled, by only one aspect of our civilization - our so-called love life. It is not by our proclamations of eternal love, one-man to one-woman, from-the-wedding-to-the-grave, nor even by our failure to practice what we preach, that he is baffled, but by our total refusal even to pretend that we practice what we preach, and by our total unawareness that there is a difference between the two.

We preach love and wee mean by it an extraordinary conglomeration of concepts that have been linked, for obscure reason, into an unpleasant and unstable synthesis. Here is the sickly association of love with death ("if I can't have you, I'd rather be dead"), the kismet notion of preordained lovers ("We're made for each other"), the infantile conceit that we can love someone we don't know ("love at first sigh"), the deification of the obstacle to fulfillment (chastity), the romantic masochism of the unattainable ("oh, let the dream never end so I won't make up"), the theoleptic masochism of frigidity in Woman as sex goddess and Man as her slave ("command me, I 'm your slave") - all this lumped together heathenish concepts all) and the lot then telescoped into the Roman Catholic ideal of a lifelong, unbreakable, monogamous women ; a hodge-podge of so many irreconcilable, mutually contradictory, obviously unrealizable elements that we can not be surprised if other civilizations only shake their heads at our folly or give up trying to understand us.

Our Homosexual Concept of Love