License to Wed

A few weeks back I was watching the panel show Oprah does every Friday. Her special guest was Jenny McCarthy, who had some thoughts about marriage, mainly that it should be treated like a driver's license: expiring every four years with the option to renew.

Well shoot. Looks like I'll have to abandon my "Do Whatever Jenny McCarthy Does" life philosophy.

Right off the bat, I gotta say this advice would seem a lot more interesting if it came from someone who was -- oh, I don't know -- married? But honestly, what a fun idea! No muss, no fuss marriages. Just stay as long as you like and as long as it "works." Sounds like a good deal to me!

I find this idea particularly mystifying coming from a mother, which McCarthy happens to be. She's been seriously involved with Jim Carrey for some time now and often beams about how good he is with her young son. I wonder how that little guy would feel if the men in his mother's life entered and exited every few years?

And therein lies the problem. No man is an island -- especially no parent. The fact of the matter is that marriage (or at the very least some kind of Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russel arrangement) has been and continues to be the best model for raising children. That doesn't mean other can't succeed with flying colors or that some marriages are kind of a joke. Obviously there are circumstances beyond our control that prevent this arrangement. I get that. But what's wrong with it being an ideal?

Deciding whether we want to mate for life is one of many things that separates us from the animals. It should come as no surprise to you that I pull for the lifetime thing. I realize it is an ideal and that it's not for everyone. But if you are married with children (and barring abuse or wanton infidelity) I believe you should do everything in your power to stay that way. Everything. Why? Because what people in this day and age refuse to acknowledge is that your mate is your family -- no more and no less than your own children. Your mutual flesh and blood created their flesh and blood. You are all connected.

Just because we choose our mates doesn't make them any less related to us and thereby easier to abandon. What if we only left our spouses for the same reasons we'd disown our own siblings? In my opinion, that's how it should be.

And in the words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work."


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Great observations. It's so easy to believe anything/anyone that is glamorous because the underlying message, the implication is: here is the answer. Of course, we know, logically, that's not so, but it's so hard to fight the machine. Anyway, glad you're in for the 2nd phase of 30 x 5!

Missy said...

Couple years ago Cameron Diaz was on Oprah and remarked how she has "evolved" from marriage. And Oprah of course heartily agreed.

Lois, what an ape you are!!

Posh Mama said...

Glad to see you posting again! And I have to agree with you. What happened to Marriage being an institution, for better or for worse, not one that expires in a few years, or even days like its a bad gallon of milk.