A conspiracy theory in retrospect

I have come to the conclusion that marriage is a bit like a cult:

  • the reasons for getting involved are seldom rational
  • you go through an elaborate induction ceremony
  • you give up your individuality to a large extent
  • leaving is strongly discouraged
  • if you do manage to escape, you are seen as a social pariah

However, the real trouble with this whole ’til death us do part’ fandango is that more often than not, you’ve been brainwashed into having disproportionately high expectations of what essentially boils down to a baroque variation on the shacking up theme. After a while, reality starts seeping in through the walls of your bubble of bliss and you begin to realise that some of your loved one’s endearing little quirks have the potential to drive you completely bananas. The truth of the old “familiarity breeds contempt” cliché brought into sharp, high-rez focus.

The thing is, when you get married, you become part of the conspiracy. You’ve been led to believe (by other married couples ensnared in the same murky tangle) that it’s all sunshine and roses. Naturally, it’s a rude shock to discover thunder and thorns lurking beneath the surface – but by then it’s too late. You’ve said the words, so it becomes essential to present an outward appearance of domestic harmony. To do otherwise would be tantamount to an admission of failure and we can’t have that, can we? Thus, the conspiracy becomes self-perpetuating.

When I first broke the news to my friends that my ex and I were getting divorced, practically everyone responded along the lines of, “Holy shit, Batman! But this is so sudden!”+

Hah! I sure fooled them, didn’t I? And to think Jam considers me cynical. The very idea!

+ No, I am not actually Batman. If I was, I think I would probably be driving a better car.


23 thoughts on “A conspiracy theory in retrospect

  1. Thank heavens.

    I was starting to think my ex and my mates that are getting married were happy.

    It gives me great joy in my little bubble of cynical heartache that they’re not.



  2. TEGW: Maybe that’s why they make you turn your back on the witnesses.

    jeanpant: Perhaps a fixed-term contract might also be something to consider?

    peas: Oh, I don’t know. There’s no guarantee that they aren’t happy, either :mrgreen:


  3. Hehe – It should be rewritten – “Until I am no longer attracted to this person and sick of his/her shit”

    There’s nothing wrong with cynicism. You’re choosing to look at the world without blinkers on 😉


  4. Funny that you should blog about this when I had a discussion with my father on the very subject a day ago. It wasn’t really a discussion, more along the lines of him asking me a very awkward question and me trying frantically to get out of it.
    I am neither for or against marriage, but I doshare you sentiment on it being a conspiracy.
    Apart from the fact that “your loved one’s endearing little quirks have the potential to drive you completely bananas”, it also brings home the realisation that life can and will ultimately suck.
    Commitment issues? It is all a matter of opinion. :mrgreen:


  5. Too true! What always grated my nerves when having to endure an endless number wedding ceremonies (they’re all the same, aren’t they?) was the way the bride and the groom pounce on you at the reception and ask “So when is your turn?” or “So you’re next then?”

    It always sounded like I was either being condemned to death or they wanted to drag me into the marital ‘bliss’ so they could feel better about the giant leap they had just taken.

    Instead my ex and I jarred their notes of happiness and broke up. Ha!


  6. Conspiracy..Hmmmm

    So it really was the marriage registrar from Las Vegas dressed as Elvis who shot J.F.K.

    …obviously working the whole ’till death do us part’ angle of his job.


  7. It’s a short step from “I’m still happily married after 12 years together” to “Get out of here, you freak!”

    {slips quietly out the side door before someone throws cynical rotten tomatoes at her}


  8. chewy: – and I am nothing, if not philosophical.

    chitty: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not (entirely) against marriage. All I’m saying it’s probably a good idea have your expectations firmly grounded in reality beforehand.

    kabintsimbi: To be honest, I rather like the idea that an oath still carries weight these days.

    katt: Reminds me of the old joke: My older relatives always used to nudge me at weddings and say, “You’re next, eh?” They stopped when I started doing the same thing at funerals.

    rev: Almost. He actually subcontracted the job the director of the CIA, who delegated it to the aliens.

    terri: No, you can stay. My gripe is with the hypocrites (like me).

    ol’ hoss: It’s true. Kids are always gettin’ diarrhoea.


  9. LOL Kyk! You are cynical… but perhaps it’s more a case of being realistic in this instance. Because in some ways, I’m inclined to agree. Although I do believe that marriage can work. These days, however, I don’t see the point in turning a perfectly functional relationship into a dysfunctional marriage. So perhaps, on this one, I’m cynical too. But I still love your writing. 😉


  10. Oy vey. My friends are falling like flies, and I must admit that I wouldn’t be totally averse to a proposal myself. But it’s not on its way anytime soon, which means fate has spared foolish me from the ‘cult’. I’ve been warned…


  11. The world’s shortest fairy tale:
    Once upon a time, a handsome prince asked a beautiful princess to marry him.
    She said no.
    And they both lived happily ever after.
    The end.


  12. jam: Absolutely. Solo dysfunction is much cooler.

    ant: Okay. I propose you take off all your clothes and send me a photo :mrgreen:

    betenoir: I recommend you try the demo before going for the registered version.

    parenthesis: Familiarity breeds a lot of things. It’s important to take proper precautions.


  13. hey- you have 20/20 hindsight- just like me!
    now this was fascinating- anyone i know who’s thinking of getting married will be referred to this post before they do so.


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