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Berketex bride

Well the good news is that feorag is here. The bad news is that she's getting married. I don't know what to say, I really don't...

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( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 06:26 (UTC)
Er... "Congratulations, Feorag" might be a possible starter for ten...
purplerabbits
11th Jul, 2002 06:31 (UTC)
I guess you haven't been exposed to my Views on marriage much, have you :-)

Seriously, how is one couple's marriage after ten years of relationship worthy of congratulations, where another couple's merely being together for that long isn't?
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 06:39 (UTC)
Jesus, pardon me for breathing.
purplerabbits
11th Jul, 2002 06:41 (UTC)
It's OK, I wasn't trying to bite your head off - hence the smiley... As for the serious bit, it's something I think, but it's certainly not something I get angry about or expect everyone to agree with me over or anything.
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 06:47 (UTC)
Argh. Sorry. I am not in a good state of mind today and am hypersensitive to perceived criticism.

I am also not in the right mood for a philosophical argument about why one should support one's friends even if they are doing things one does not wish for oneself. Marriage is by and large a crock, but we mostly need ceremony and ritual in our lives, and if Charlie and Feorag think marriage is a suitable one just as dmwcarol and Gary think handfasting is, who are you or I to say them nay?

Simon and I will never get married, and probably never even get handfasted or have another sort of commitment ceremony, but we reserve the right to have an enormous party at Bicon 2004 to celebrate our tenth anniversary together, and if we do you're invited. I hope our friends would accord no more and no less honour to that form of celebration than a marriage or handfasting.

I'm going to go and lie down, my head hurts again. Except that there's nowhere to lie down in this office. Feh.
ciphergoth
11th Jul, 2002 06:59 (UTC)
A commitment ceremony is a binding between (usually) two parties. In a marriage, it is between three, and the third is the State. I'm not going to go to the State's wedding. I'll be happy to attend its funeral though.
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 07:02 (UTC)
Heh heh. Nice point, but since it's currently impossible not to invite the State, like the bad fairy at the christening, there's not much option.

I'll be dancing with you on its grave with equal gusto.
ciphergoth
11th Jul, 2002 07:10 (UTC)
Eh? In what way not possible? As far as ceremonies to mark relationship go, it's possible and you and I know lots of people who've done it. The decision to invite the State is quite deliberate.

Indeed Charlie and feorag are even taking care to marry somewhere that gives a lesser recognition to same-sex partnerships; they've chosen *which* state to invite, on the grounds that Holland is the least worst. Of course it makes no difference; as soon as they return to Britain, it will be the British state that's their new partner.
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 07:11 (UTC)
Ceremonies, yes. Marriage, no.
ciphergoth
11th Jul, 2002 08:01 (UTC)
A marriage is precisely a commitment ceremony in which the State is one of the partners in the commitment. The choice to marry rather than go for another form of ceremony is precisely the choice to invite the State into your relationship.

So no, of course not.
djm4
11th Jul, 2002 07:23 (UTC)
Nice point, but since it's currently impossible not to invite the State, like the bad fairy at the christening, there's not much option.

sashajwolf and I are drawing up the invite list for our commitment ceremony at the moment, and the State is conspicuous by its absence from the list.
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 07:55 (UTC)
Yeah, but you're not getting *married*, are you (unless my understanding of the position is completely out of the ball park).
sashajwolf
11th Jul, 2002 11:26 (UTC)
I know what you mean, but I do consider it to be a marriage even though it isn't legally binding :-)
djm4
11th Jul, 2002 23:52 (UTC)
Well, firstly, in the post of Paul's that you replied to, he was talking about state-sanctioned marriages and commitment ceremonies, so if you were narrowing the debate you should really have said so. Secondly, to an extent I do regard the ceremony Liz and I will be having as a marriage; this is precisely because I don't regard the state as having a legitimate interest in our partnership, so losing the state from the ceremony doesn't change it in any way that means a lot to me.

Similarly, I don't consider exclusivity to be relevant to our partnership, so losing that aspect doesn't matter to to. And if what we're doing is a 'marriage', but without a copule of bits that I didn't want anyway and won't miss, I don't have a problem still thinking of it as a 'marriage'.

However, I realise that 'marraige' is a very loaded term for a lot of people here, and many people use it to make precisely the distinctions I'm rejecting here, so I wouldn't dream of insisting that other people call it that. 'Commitment ceremony' describes it just as well, (which is nobbut vaguely; you'd still need the four page essay version to know what it actually means to us).
ciphergoth
12th Jul, 2002 01:41 (UTC)
the_maenad: As far as I can tell, you can choose whether you want to be refuted by me or by David. Either you don't have to invite the state for it to be a marriage, in which case he's right, or you do, in which case I'm right. The difference isn't one of fact, but of terminology, and discussing which is right is about as meaningful as discussing whether submarines swim.
(Deleted comment)
hfnuala
11th Jul, 2002 07:35 (UTC)
Oh, and the really fun thing about this is it impossible to discuss this honestly without my married friends being insulted.

And that annoys me because I have to accept they are bothered by me not rating marriage but *I* can't be insulted by the fact they obviously think marriage is better than living together long term.
ciphergoth
11th Jul, 2002 06:44 (UTC)
Please send your application in writing, in triplicate, to the usual address. Include a recent signed photograph and two references of good character.
babysimon
11th Jul, 2002 07:15 (UTC)
Web of trust
Paul, you'll never get people to register for BiCon like that.
mhw
11th Jul, 2002 07:28 (UTC)
Re: Web of trust
*giggle* Bad!
djm4
11th Jul, 2002 07:02 (UTC)
Seriously, how is one couple's marriage after ten years of relationship worthy of congratulations, where another couple's merely being together for that long isn't?

I'm not taking that as a given.

I distinctly remember celebrating your ten year anniversary with Paul last Easter. I'm sorry if it wasn't a 'worthy' enough celebration for you but, well, it was your party at your house, so you did kinda set the level yourselves.
hfnuala
11th Jul, 2002 07:18 (UTC)
*nods* This is how I feel about it too - it bothers me that myself and Alex's nearly 6 years together is considered to be less 'commited' than people who get married after knowing each other a year, say.

I think that's why I got into the idea of a commitment ceremony for a while. But then I realised it had all of the social problems that come with a wedding with none of the tax benefits...
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 07:23 (UTC)
That's why Simon and I have avoided them so far.
ciphergoth
11th Jul, 2002 06:43 (UTC)
What vision is left, and is anyone asking?
ergotia
11th Jul, 2002 07:29 (UTC)
Marriage, committment ceremony, handfasting - what is the point of *any* of it? If your relationship is something to celebrate,that fact will be obvious every day, why ask any person or institution to sanctify it?
babysimon
11th Jul, 2002 07:49 (UTC)
why ask any person or institution to sanctify it?

Is that what a Commitment Ceremony is about? If so, who or what was the person or institution in mine and Trish's case?

(and no, DBAM is not an institution...)
ajva
11th Jul, 2002 07:53 (UTC)
boom boom
...although we should all be put in one.

har de har
ergotia
11th Jul, 2002 07:54 (UTC)
It is a group of persons though,is it not?

And if that is not what it was about , then you tell me what it *was* about - no one has ever been able to explain it to me.
babysimon
11th Jul, 2002 08:04 (UTC)
It was about declaring our love for each other and having a party. This is not the same thing as asking our friends to "sanctify" it - which would imply that we need their blessing.
ergotia
11th Jul, 2002 15:03 (UTC)
Fair point my dear. Actually I do of course distinguish between marriage where the church or state is involved and the other stuff, and I guess I am being a bit precious when I say I dont get it at all - I do get it a bit. It just *sounds* so paradoxical when a poly couple talk about having a committment ceremony! Love is certainly something to celebrate though. :)
trishpiglet
12th Jul, 2002 08:19 (UTC)
Having had a legal marriage and felt afterwards that this was not the right thing to have done, I was certain that I did not want the same thing for me and Simon (even if he had wanted that, which he didn't). But I did want to celebrate my commitment to him and have felt closer to him since standing up in front of our friends (and other partners) and exchanging vows - exactly and specifically why I couldn't put my finger on but I'm glad I do.

We made sure that we embraced the fact that we were poly and said we would support each other's relationships with other people as part of the ceremony. The non-exclusive nature of the commitment is a vital part of what makes it work for both of us.

..I'm glad you were there - and you looked fucking gorgeous xxx
ergotia
12th Jul, 2002 08:23 (UTC)
Re:
I am glad I was there too. :)
djm4
11th Jul, 2002 08:02 (UTC)
Because I want to.

That's actually all the reason I feel I need. I don't go a bundle on there having to be some big, spritual, abstract 'point' to things.

But, just to be clear, it's got nothing to do with a belief that such a ceremony makes my relationship 'better' or 'stronger' than one where the people concerned haven't had a similar ceremony. I don't believe this and, given my current circle of friends, it looks like an obviously laughable conclusion to me.

Liz and I are having a ceremony because it feel right to us, and because it will mean a lot to me to stand up in front of friends and family and tell them how much Liz means to me, and to ask them for their support in keeping our relationship going over the coming years. But I'm not trying to suggest that it would mean the same for everyone else - it's a personal thing.

You remember all the fuss last year over people remembering or not remembering Lil's birthday? It's like that. It matters to some people, and other people just can't see the point at all, but it's not a case of one person being right and the other being wrong; just different priorities and upbringing.

Plus it's a damn good excuse for a party.
sashajwolf
11th Jul, 2002 11:36 (UTC)
For me, it's that I'm wired in such a way that ritual makes a difference to the way I feel about things. I am pretty certain from my experience with aegidian that I will feel more committed to djm4 after the ceremony than I did before, because there are parts of me that only ritual reaches, and those parts need the ritual in order to feel committed. I appreciate that it doesn't work that way for everyone, but it does for me, and I want to extend the commitment to those levels. And to the extent that any sanctifying happens, it will be me doing it (I say me and not us because djm4 isn't a spiritual person); we're having someone to officiate because it's ritually convenient, not because we need their say-so.
ajva
11th Jul, 2002 07:38 (UTC)
a thought...
What if one partner is adamant that they want to marry, and the other is adamant that they do not? What does one do in that situation? Split up? Seems a shame.

I am just looking for suggestions here, by the way, in case anyone I love ever asks me to marry them.
hfnuala
11th Jul, 2002 07:47 (UTC)
Re: a thought...
Living together? Explore other ways of declaring commitment? It seems to me that the most pernicious part of the all pervasiveness of marriage as the 'end goal' of a relationship is the assumption that somehow not wanting to get married is a less strong emotion than wanting to get married.

ajva
11th Jul, 2002 07:52 (UTC)
Re: a thought...
Yes but those suggestions would still be "not getting married" in the eyes of the person who wanted to get married. It really does seem like an unsolvable problem: "irresistable force and unmoveable object in the same universe"-type problem. I suppose the answer would have to be negotiation on a case-by-case basis.
the_maenad
11th Jul, 2002 07:56 (UTC)
Re: a thought...
That tends to be the answer in most other similar positions where one partner really wants to do/have something and the other doesn't. Having children springs to mind as analogous.
(Anonymous)
11th Jul, 2002 11:15 (UTC)
Welcome to the conundrum ...
This whole storm in a teacup is essentially about the collision between what is and what should be.

"What is" -- unmarried people are at a disadvantage in various ways, not least of which are inheritance laws. Marriage, while originally a religious institution, is used by the state as a tool of social control.

"What should be" -- in a perfect world there'd be no such discriminatory system: groups of any number of any gender could adopt whatever contractual or religious arrangements they like.

Principles are good, but you can't eat them ... in our case, not getting married imperils Feorag's future well-being in event of my death, because our home is owned in my name and its value is already perilously close to the inheritance tax threshold.

We are not getting married because of superstitious belief in some acorporeal ghost, a desire to satisfy the tribal elders, a sudden urge to spawn, a belief that signing a book magically changes the nature of a relationship, because if we don't publicly swear to have sex only with each other we'll inevitably drift apart, or because our brains have been taken over by alien space bats with mind control rays.

Given that we're going to do it, we've decided to do so in Amsterdam (a less discriminatory venue than the UK), and we've decided to throw a party, if possible. We want to have a party because (a) it's our tenth anniversary, and (b) we haven't had a party for ages, and the excuse to hold a big party with a sub-text that's all about rampant sex seems to be the one aspect of the whole wedding thing that is remotely appealing.

Questions?



-- Charlie
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )