If Marriage Isn’t For Me, Whose Is It?

My response to this article, Marriage Isn’t For You (also seen on Tumblr & Minus The Box)

“You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy”

I’ve heard many things about love. 

How it’s a many-splendored thing, some twisting miasma of color and light that seems to reside between the spaces of our ventricles and pump into our bloodstream with every breath.

How it’s a battlefield, a blood-soaked field of the fallen dead and the wounded left behind, whose soldiers are marked only by plain white crosses and pale white scars.

How it lifts us up where we belong, or rolls us in the deep, or rings like bells on a hill that were silent for years. It’s a drug and a prayer and it’s always about you.

Love is absolutely about wanting another person to be happy. But, it’s reciprocal, a self-perpetuating cycle. Why do you want to make that person happy? Because it makes you happy. Your happiness is integral in that equation, an equal reaction to the initial action. Physics, plain and simple.

The romanticization of obligated selflessness is a poison. It seeps into everything, soaking into bones and blood until your marrow turns black and your blood cells are as fragile as glass. Until you’re barely recognizable, even as you stare at hands you used to know as your own. A starved face that’s forgotten who it belongs to

Because, eventually, you lose your identity, your own desires and needs, your dreams and expectations. When it’s entirely about another person, you lose any sense of self, completely subsumed like a corpse. Its not longer a symbiotic relationship. It’s parasitic, the person who you call husband or wife the parasite. Even if both of you are leeching off each other, the poison cycling through the shared blood in your mouth, its only a matter of time before all your blood is borrowed.

You’ll find yourself unable to answer “Who am I?” That question will crawl under your skin, restless and unanswered, while resentment boils in your gut for the person across the table who devoured the identity you handed them like dessert after a meal. When you don’t exist, are merely the empty wrapping of a sweet long since sucked dry, there’s nothing there that can love.

And what’s worse, what’s even more insidious than cannibalism made romantic like some post-modern existentialist production, are the bones picked clean beneath, the breeding ground for maggots. Because, maybe you’re not lucky enough to have a partner who values your happiness above their own needs, eager to comply with Newton’s third law. Maybe that breath smells of rot whenever you try to assert those needs, words stinking of bile: “selfish” and “needy” and “Why can’t you think about me for once?”

I’ve heard many things about love.

What I do know is that love is selfish. Love is wanting this person to be yours, possession writ in a metal band and a love mark on their throat. Love is wanting this person to be happy, bursting to the seams with laugher that echoes off the walls of your bedroom and lighting up their skin where your hand lingers. Love is wanting this person to be happy with you, and only you, and always you. Marriage is merely a formalization of mutual possession, of two people insisting on their own happiness by promising to make another person happy, of giving into the gloriously selfish desire to be in love and be loved.

If marriage isn’t for me, then I don’t want any part of it.


Published by Ren Martinez

Ren is a thirty-something Lost Boy whose personal aesthetic is “suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She subscribes to cheerful nihilism, the destruction of the patriarchy, and the belief that glitter makes everything better. She is a Richmond-based writer and performer who has fiction and non-fiction work found in a variety of publications, such as The Mary Sue, RVA Magazine, The Quotable, and Nostrovia Press. She is currently the fiction editor and a regular contributor at Quail Bell Magazine. She is also the co-host of the podcast, This F***ing Guy! Find out more at renmartinez.com or read her dumbass tweets on Twitter @itsrenmartinez

One thought on “If Marriage Isn’t For Me, Whose Is It?

  1. “Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!” Pretty much the best song medley in a movie ever.

    I love your writing style. It’s so.. visceral. Sounds so… true. I love it.

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