What Are Your Beliefs Around Marriage?

Working with an international clientele and it is imperative I consider a person’s culture. I just can’t plop American values or standards onto whoever happens to contact me. It would be disastrous.  One area where differences really show up is when the consult concerns a marriage.

Marriage means different things to different people. To some marriage is a sacrament, to be taken seriously. For others it’s pretty trivial.  The phrase “starter marriage” was coined to describe marriages that take place in a person’s 20’s that are not necessarily meant to last. In one culture, a marriage may be conducted as an experiment. In another culture leaving your marriage will get you shunned, shamed or worse.

In many cultures it’s not really feasible to divorce. If I am talking to someone in this circumstance, even if the marriage is very, very bad, it does them no good at all to suggest they do what the typical American woman would do – leave the bastard!

At one extreme there are people who divorce at the drop of a hat.  They throw partners away like trash at the first sign of trouble. This eventually catches up to them in a very painful way.

On the other extreme, there are women who can’t divorce and when I look at this group, it occurs to me that some in the first group would have fared better over time, if it had not been so easy to leave.

In other words, the next partner is not necessarily better.  The person themselves might have been the one at fault for the problems in marriage they left. This is something they may have figured out if there were pressure from somewhere to stay put and try to work the things out.

As you get into your 30’s and 40’s, 50’s and beyond it gets a lot harder to partner and because of this, people start to look back and realize that what they had with “X” was not that bad after all.  I am sorry but this is a very common story.

I can’t tell a woman who has been beaten by her husband to leave him when she can’t leave him. The advice would be worthless and yes. I’ve been in this circumstance.

Personally, I take my marriage vows, seriously. Till  death do we part.  But I made this commitment, FREELY and I was emotionally and intellectually equipped to make the choice.  This means, I can’t get out but I feel okay about it  because I volunteered.  I also think this a pretty good middle ground between the two extremes.

How do you view marriage?  Does culture or religion impact your views?  Do your views serve you?


What Are Your Beliefs Around Marriage? — 39 Comments

  1. I didn’t partner during my twenties, although I wanted to in my late twenties.

    It depends on what the problems are. My mother took her vows seriously, throughout a good portion of my dad’s BS, and gave up when he came through the door one night, muttering about how he should have gone right to college out of the service, instead of getting married. So she decided to relieve him of his burden. They remarried eleven years later, but he had grown up a lot more by that point – and realized how much he had to miss, when we were gone, in another country at that.

  2. @salali: wow they remarried eleven years later?? Amazing!

    I take marriage seriously, but maybe not quite as seriously as I did on the day I did it. Though I knew what I was in for, I still could not forsee that no matter what our relationship was then, would not change for the better anytime soon. We are both two strong personalities and as I grew older, I felt squelched spiritually by this other person that said he loved me. Find out later, it was only a window six months that he felt enough for me to ask me because I was the one changing. Then I slipped back and changed again. And I keep on changing. I need to be in a marriage that is strong enough to support that instead of feeling threatened by it.

  3. Being American born with cultural values enforced, it’s tough. On the one hand, you have your American freedom thinking process. “I can get food stamps, public assistance, meet someone new, start my life over.”

    But then you have to deal with people from the culture telling you ” You are divorced. You know, you are now 30, with three kids. There is no need to get married again.” It’s shameful to get divorced, in some cultures. Your own parents won’t look at you. You can’t go out with friends, or walk alone without bumping into someone you know, and feeling accused because you are husbandless…

  4. Kinda sucky existence.

    But sometimes, enough is enough…and then who the fuck is living your life, except you.

    • esheep, it’s got to be extremely difficult to be part of a generation in transition or living with one set of rules while the people around you live by another. This is a touchy topic but well worth discussing, I’d say, from whatever angle.

      I personally feel very fortunate to have found this middle ground. I really don’t feel I have an option to divorce but I did not get myself into this situation due cultural expectation or any kind of pressure for that matter and this makes all the difference.

      I wish everyone could have a a happy partnership if they want one and it’s why I write this stuff. I don’t think it happens accidentally, at least not to very many. It’s a serious subject, even if you don’t take marriage seriously! 🙂

  5. I have always rued that marriage marks a beginning. The birth. I don’t know why I see it ass-backwards, but I do. I knew a couple who got married after cohabiting for 25 years, their daughter was grown up, and they were like: hey! Let’s celebrate how far we’ve come!
    I always said I’d never get married until it was legal for everyone, gay and straight. Well it’s legal in Canada, now. Leoman and I will probably get married. Actually we are most certainly going to get married because then he will have a EU passport as well and the world will open up for us even more.

    I was never one of those little girls who wanted to get married. Ever. Now that I’m 34 I can see I have no hostility towards the idea, never really did. I just didn’t feel like it! I can’t explain it (my ambivalence).

    As for how it’s served me. Well, at least if we get married it will be both of our first…? LOL. I dunno what I’m talking about (obviously).

  6. My oldest sister has been married 8 times and is preparing for her 9th wedding now.
    It just goes to show you how broad the spectrum.

  7. So broad…my dad spontaneously married a gal while drunk many moons ago. Now he’s been with my mother for 40 years!

  8. I divorced a man who was 18 1/2 years my senior and from another culture. My sisters rejoiced because he was so abusive. Yet, he was still the most brilliant, exciting, ambitious and wordly man I’ve ever known, and I don’t regret the marriage or our son. He was so internally conflicted. But I said: I didn’t break it; I can’t fix it. My second husband is so sweet, hardworking, smart, but somewhat passive aggressive and not nearly so ambitious. Actually, I’m lucky: I’ve married the only two men I ever loved!!!

  9. Elsa, your sister is an optimist! (all that Sag!) My Sag Venus squares Saturn — this one is it. Or nothing. Nothing is perfect … especially not me! In other words, at this age, I take responsibility for my choices —

  10. Sun, Moon, Mercury in Sadge. She’s having an adventure. She married one gay man (to piss off another man she wanted to marry her) and she married someone so they could get a green card.

    She married one guy more than once (I think). I quit tracking long ago but I assure she thinks this is all fun and funny. She lives in LA and knows right where to do to get married in 3 minutes, cheaply and she’ll your all about, laughing uproariously the whole time.

    You see? This is my family so I really see a range.

    I ask this stuff because I work with so many women who want to solve there relationship problems and I am telling you, to do that you have to look at this stuff.

  11. Rhett told Scarlett that marriage could be fun. (FUN???) Love is work. Oh, yeah, it’s that old Capricorn moon!) It must be fun for your sister, though.

    8 husbands??? But Elsa, what if you wind up caring for one of them?That must have an effect on you, as you have to divorce these brothers in law — 8 times!

  12. libra, I only attached to the first one who she was married to for 8 years. He was a really good man but everyone since, well this is a game obviously. Except for this 9th man.

    She claims this the man she has always loved and that 3 of her marriages were to piss him off / make him jealous.

    They are happy but you may notice everyone in my family is happy, we’re Jupiter Moon types! 🙂

  13. This reminds me of my ex-mother in law. Married 5 times; twice to one guy. She told me once, she “should’ve stayed with Chuck.” The father of her kids who she was with from the age 13 – 31.
    “Chuck” went on to re-marry…once. He’s been with his 2nd wife for over 30 years.

    • That’s a really common story, Kash and oddly the men and the women in these stories are not interchangeable. That is, typically speaking, it’s the man who winds up married forever and the woman, not.

      I think people would be well advised to consider how they will feel when/if the partner they are leaving finds someone else and stays with them because there is a strong chance this will happen if the person is a marrying kind.

  14. How do you view marriage?

    I’m Scorpio, so Deeply Committed, Deeply Connected, Eternal, With Fidelity, and Passionately in Love. Perhaps more than reality will allow but, there you go.

    Does culture or religion impact your views?

    I’d say yes, I was raised Catholic it doesn’t dictate my views on the subject, but did influence how I got there.

    Do your views serve you?

    Yes and No

    No I am not married, I have yet to find my soul mate or even a sexual romp, perhaps another outlook would have led me somewhere else.

    Yes, that somewhere else could have been far worse, like catching something, or other issue.

  15. I appreciate what you’re saying and I think it’s really valuable.

    I married my second husband ( not this last one) under neptune. We were doomed by all kinds of outside influences — the families hated each other, we had extremely different ideas about the lives we wanted and could achieve — BUT — in terms of a marriage, it was the best one I’ve had. It was a tremendously difficult decision to leave it and if either one of us had really wanted a MARRIAGE we would have stayed in it, because it truly was what we had. It was a relationship of tremendous value for both of us.

    There *are* endless reasons to preserve a marriage. And I agree, you’re not going guaranteed to get a better marriage by just trying to find a better spouse. I mean if you do, man are you lucky.

    I have no opinion about marriage anymore. It’s something people do but it’s clearly not for me. However I do see how, for example, arranged marriages work out over time and for the most part whole cultures are satisfied that this is how things are done. If you truly are bound to someone for life, it’s much more logical to focus on the positives.

  16. I don’t think I know too many people who divorce and remarry easily. I have one cousin who’s on husband #4, but she has mental issues up the wazoo. Most people I know couldn’t leave a marriage for anything on the planet, probably not even if abuse was involved. Unhappy settling is more likely, even if the marriage started out happy.

    My jerk cousin and his wife, well… they split up in 2005. THEY ARE STILL NOT DIVORCED YET. Mom told me that his wife had spent something like $80k on this and I don’t even know how she could do that considering that when he walked out on her she was a SAHM and he cleaned out all of their money. They despise each other, can’t remotely be polite for the sake of the kid, and apparently can’t manage to divorce either.

    My cousin has always been an ass, but I thought she was pretty nice. I have been avoiding talking to her for the last few years though because she’s just foaming at the mouth about this topic every time and cannot. let. go.

  17. Marriage. The definition and meaning of that has changed dramatically for me over the years. Growing up, I thought marriage was the goal. Then, the goal changed, during my teen years. We didn’t need to get married and getting married straight out of high school meant you were going to have no life..that’s what they told us..and god help you if you had a child at that age too because your life was OVER!
    Then..I GOT married at that young age and had a kid and thought “now we will ride off into the sunset.” We said our vows now we will be the Cleavers. —not so much. In that situation, I was one of those girls who benefitted from being able to leave. THAT was a dumb decision to get married. Very delusioned.
    My second marriage was a complete plea for someone to save me. I might as well had it engraved on my wedding ring. “This man vows to save me from myself” Well..he did. And then, the relationship was over. There were reasons we actually got divorced. There were things we never agreed on..that sort of thing. But, what really happened, is that I wasn’t getting the amount of help I thought I should be getting from him. And instead of staying and trying to work–which was hard given the person I was working with thought I was only trying to add more restriction to him–I packed all my stuff in one day and disappeared before he came home from work. Chicken shit, I was. Pure chicken shit. But, in the end, I’m glad I left because he deserves REAL love and I couldn’t give that to him. I was too busy taking care of me in the relationship.
    Now..marriage has a whole new meaning. A new meaning that is, in part, a revival of the original meaning. Commitment. Marriage means we commit to come together and work toward a common future. I vow to be there for you when the rest of the world turns their back. I vow to help provide a safe haven for ourselves and our children. I vow to be the one to tell you the truth about stuff. I vow to be your advocate. I vow to ally with you and attempt to make it through this life together by mutual support and respect, love and consideration.

    That’s what marriage means to me now. I don’t plan to go into it again and bolt.

  18. I don’t believe in the sanctity of marriage. As for ‘starter marriages’ I think it should be required, if only to see if they’ve got a viable relationship.

  19. How do you view marriage? I believe a marriage is like a team of horses as long as both are going in the same direction even if one lags behind it is still good. It is only when they try to go in different directions there is a problem. However I personally view Marriage as a free choice that two persons make freely. I also believe that when you find the person you are supposed to be with the contract between you often last many life times so it goes beyond death. However I believe that there is a line in the sand and abuse is a dissolving factor to any bond or contract, If either party becomes a drunk, drug addict and/or abuses their mate then all contracts are broken. Now if you choose to merry or stay with said person who is a drunk or drug addict or abuser then that is an entirely different contract and you went into that relationship with your eyes open. That is because we humans have free will.

    Does culture or religion impact your views? No culture nor religion doesn’t have a thing to do with my view point on this subject at all really.

    Do your views serve you? Yes very well at this point in my life I have been married a total of 3 times. 1st marriage was a deal marriage was not meant to last in fact lasted 2 years longer than it should have. 2nd marriage lasted 19 years prior to our union he had spent 3 tours in Vietnam 4 months as a POW and has the most sever case of PTSD next to a medic that can be compensated for. Before I called it quits I made sure he was receiving compensation for his PTSD from the VA. I thought I was done with marriage period into my life walked the man I am now married to we have been living as married since June 1st of 1996 we officially married December 27th of 1997 we are very happy as far as I can tell and we finished raising our teen age children together. He made it possible for me to care for my aging parents I lost my mother in 2009 to Pancreatic/Liver cancer and my father the 2nd of June 2011 to Lung cancer. He found a job within the company to allow him to laterally transfer so that we could move back to Texas for me to care for my aging parents. My siblings were not able to care for them due to having small children of their own to care for.

  20. I”m sorry about the loss of your mum and dad, lbetters:( I’m glad you were able to be there for them. That is a profound way to honour them–thanks for sharing that.

  21. Marriage wasn’t and isn’t a big deal to me, but I do take having a long term relationship seriously. Natally I have Venus and Uranus 1 degree apart in Sagittarius, Piscean Moon, Libran Mars, Cap Sun/Asc/Mercury.

    We married because my husband could no longer get health insurance through work, and I knew I wanted to stick with him for a while but had never really felt like marriage was a necessity before. So he lost his insurance, I kind of proposed (actually, it was “what are you doing on Friday?”) and we got married. We don’t intend to leave each other, but the fact that we are married doesn’t make our relationship any more important than the fact that we are together in a relationship… I hope that makes sense.

    Things would really have to be bad for me to leave, and likewise for him. I don’t think that taking the step of getting married gives us any extra incentive to stay together though.

  22. it’s not so much that our culture is that different, it’s that women have gained more equality and freedom in modern western cultures over the past several decades than in less modern parts of the world. less than 50 years ago women in the US were in the same position of being shunned for leaving a marriage. in some states women couldn’t even own property until the 70s.

  23. I took the goddess archetype test when jean bolen’s book, goddesses in every woman came out years ago, i think in the 80’s….i was heavy on the artemis, persephone and aphrodite….with a touch of demeter and NO hera (traditionally assoiciated with marriage)…i took that test again this year just to see how/if i had changed…thinking i surely had and it turned out just the same…so i fall into the ‘virgen goddess’ category….makes sense as i’m a sun/moon in 6th house…with venus in aries…that said, i felt married several times, although legally i was only married once….so how do i feel about marriage? i think valuable and fabric of life in many societies, but thank god for cultures that embrace single people as well

  24. I never had any interest in marriage, and having Sag and Aquarius strong in my chart figure it’s my nature.

    People have tried to imply over the years that it’s a reaction to my Catholic upbringing but I don’t think so. I do know that my mother was unhappily married all her life (for 37 years till death did them part) and I found it horrific that it was impossible for her to divorce, religiously and culturally. But this was more a human rights issue in my mind, than anything else.

    I was always, always shocked when I heard girls at university getting engaged to their boyfriends – I just couldn’t understand why anyone wanted to tie themselves down so young when there was a whole world out there to be explored.

    Needless to say, my views have changed somewhat since becoming a single mother. If only for the legal rights afforded to mothers and children, I would now advise anyone thinking of having children to get married.

    Other than that, the idea of marriage still leaves me fairly cold.

  25. I never wanted to get married. In every relationship I always had one foot out of the door. I’ve got Venus opposite Neptune and Moon conjunct Uranus in Scorpio. My feelings are not consistent and I had enough trust issues to not want to get into something I couldn’t get out of. My own parents were multiply married and marriage just really was not significant to them, so there was no model to base it on.

    Ultimately, I decided to get married for two reasons.

    1) I had complete, utter trust in my husband. I knew there was no guarantees that he wouldn’t fall in love with someone else, but I knew that he was someone who would divorce well (e.g remain civil and honourable and put joint interests, such as wellbeing of children, above personal ones).

    2. He was very untrustworthy and paranoid of humanity in general (12th house moon opposite pluto) so I wanted to get married to show him that I would be there for him to my utmost capacity (and I’m Cancer with Scorpio Moon, so my capacity for loyalty is fierce).

    It’s been hard work. A Saturn marriage. The relationship started when Saturn was conjunct my Sun. Our first child was a Saturn child, a Capricorn, and enormously challenging and stressful to boot. For some years, the stresses were intense and fearsome. (he has Taurus rising and endures more gracefully than I do). What’s more we are very different, so the dynamic of our relating felt very much like the energy of a square – constantly needing to work at it and compromise to find the middle ground and learn to understand each other’s languages of love and relating.

    And then all the work paid off and we started to get good at it and it began to be enormously rewarding. There is no one on earth I would rather spend time with, and now that we are nearing 7 years of being together the relationship itself is beginning to feel long-term. And although I did not expect this at all (I was prepared for another hard one), our second child has been the easiest baby in the world, so it feels very much like the relationship is more fulfilling and valuable to us for the amount of work we have invested into it.

    On the other hand, I think starter marriages are a pretty good idea. I think like every learning and growing experience, a marriage needs to be suited to the individuals that enter into it – whether that means marriage for life, or marriage for right now, or an arranged marriage, or same sex partners, or marriage with multiple partners….etc.

    But I am not particularly attached to any religious or cultural beliefs, so it feels easy to not have fixed views of ‘rightness’ on the matter.

  26. Due to some unusual circumstances in my childhood around my parents divorce, I spent a lot of time alone entertaining myself and I am comfortable being alone. Also, Aries rising and Uranus in Libra in the 7th. I have a Cancer stellium and would really like my family to be better (longing for it, really but my recent Pluto opposite Sun just showed me how horrible they really are) but they are all Cluster B personality disordered and I am the scapegoat.

    I’m 47 and just not interested unless there is a good reason or incentive. Love is not enough. I don’t have kids but I’d consider fostering/adoption with a co-parent, as I think children do best with two parents and because children are so much work.

    I also have Venus in Gemini and lose interest quickly when things get boring.

  27. I’ve never really had one, but for me marriage is something extremely important to be taken seriously, for me, it’s the most important thing in life. I believe that everything counts when it comes to choosing a partner, and that most of us made mistakes in our youth, relating to figures that resonate with nefarious familiar characters and so on. But at a certain age, that should be different. I’m in my 45’s and I feel like my life hasn’t had and doesn’t make any sense because I’ve never been married and here I am, walking alone.

  28. Not interested. Never imagined myself getting married, the dress, the celebration. No such dreams in my teen or later years. On the other hand I often imagined my ideal home in mature years. Smaller, cottage- like, lighting proof, isolated, near a forest. Books, flowers, plants, maybe a cat. Isolated but within reach of a small city. Now I want a lover but he has his own place and we keep dating despite being older, excited to meet eachother. We can live together if it works somehow but that’s all. Sun, venus, mercury in 4th.

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