Marriage, Infinity, And The Everyday

I got married young for my class and generation — 27.  At the time, I was terribly enamored with the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (I still am but, alas, with some broader understanding). And so I imagined — nay, I believed — that to marry was to make an internal, spiritual-like movement towards the infinite and back again.

What I mean is that, for starters, it didn’t really matter who I was marrying.  I know that sounds callous but that’s not how I mean it. What I mean is that the movement into marriage — for my 27 year old self — was not a movement to another person per se but an agreement with another person to have the relationship detour through the infinite.  The finitude of this or that person was irrelevant.  From a purely practical perspective, most of the women I’ve dated were more or less the same — smart, cute, funny, educated, sexual.  I could have married any one of them.

Except that I was not yet ready to make the internal move I had to make — that is, to the infinite and back.  When I was, I married the woman standing in front of me.  This is not to say I didn’t love her.  On the contrary, I was totally in love — and propelled to make that movement, that impossible movement.  The act, however, had little to do with her and everything to do with me, with my existential fortitude.

What do I mean about moving through the infinite? When dating, we find ourselves enmeshed in the everyday, in the utter, aching banality of life — eating and crapping and sleeping and cleaning and working. This is not say there is not joy in the everyday. But to exist in the finitude of the everyday is, well, soul crushing (to me, at least).  And so when a problem arises — you can’t stand the way the other sleeps or smells or chews or talks to your friends — you have a real problem.

Now refract that relationship through the infinite.  Are you going to remain angry over such things forever?  Well, no. The everyday banality of this or that complaint compared to the infinite is nothing. And so rather than leaving, you stay. You overcome that complaint.

This is to say, you move from the finite — the way she chews — to the infinite and then back again. And suddenly her chewing is not so annoying. In fact, you can barely hear it over the exquisite hum of the infinite.

Move forward 14 years and I am no longer married.  How, then, do I stand towards that movement I made?  Did I forgo infinity?

I don’t think so. I believe I’ve redistributed the relationship between the finite and the infinite.  I want everyday to be exquisite. And if not exquisite then at least bullshit free. This no doubt demands a certain refraction through the infinite, a certain understanding that traffic or an asshole at work or a shitty date or an upset stomach are little compared to the infinity of the cosmos.  On the other hand, I’ve embraced a radical practicality: I want to do the things I want to do, here and now, in this finite world.  And this means I don’t want to be married anymore.

I still firmly believe that marriage is an act one makes — with another person, of course — but it is finally a private act, an internal movement.  There is no such thing as “I just can’t find the right person — I guess I’m unlucky.” That’s nonsense. If you really want to get married, then you have to make that impossible but actual internal movement.

But you don’t have to get married. There are other ways of distributing love, sex, finitude and infinity.  I’ll get back to you when I know more about them. TC mark

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  • UIN

    Really elegant thoughts here, thanks. 

  • UIN

    Really elegant thoughts here, thanks. 

  • UIN

    Really elegant thoughts here, thanks. 

  • UIN

    Really elegant thoughts here, thanks. 

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • cckk

    really enjoyed this

  • Guest

    This is breathtaking.

  • Guest

    This is breathtaking.

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    this was beautiful but made me sad that after such a refreshing look at love, you guys aren’t together anymore. :( i hope you find another that makes you go to the infinite and back.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      You might be sad, but I don’t think he is… which is the point, maybe?e

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      You might be sad, but I don’t think he is… which is the point, maybe?e

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      You might be sad, but I don’t think he is… which is the point, maybe?e

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      You might be sad, but I don’t think he is… which is the point, maybe?e

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      You might be sad, but I don’t think he is… which is the point, maybe?e

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    this was beautiful but made me sad that after such a refreshing look at love, you guys aren’t together anymore. :( i hope you find another that makes you go to the infinite and back.

  • Becca

    I really enjoyed this piece. Well done.

  • http://hydeparkblvd.wordpress.com Allison Berger

    27 doesn’t strike me as “young” to get married at all…

    • CausticWit

      It doesn’t seem young for any class or generation, really.

  • Rwolfe0308

    Really curious to read  Soren Kierkegaard now. This gives me hope that there are people that have found a way in (and out) of the social construct of marriage in a way that actually serves the soul, rather than capitalism or some shit.

  • Brett

    can’t relate to the concept of infinity at all. i view it more as a poetic device rather than something real or something that we would ever deal with, especially in a relationship

  • Brett

    can’t relate to the concept of infinity at all. i view it more as a poetic device rather than something real or something that we would ever deal with, especially in a relationship

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    Congrats on your marriage. 

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    What a fantastic exploration of the concept of marriage–as a person, not as an entity. Loved this.

  • Swhudf

    um Kierkegaard was not a proponent of marriage and did not think it led to any sort of approach to the infinite.  In fact, he decided not to marry the love of his life, Regine Olsen.  You might’ve gotten this impression from reading Either/Or (particularly the sections by “Judge William”) but it’s important to keep in mind that Kierkegaard’s views are not equivalent to those of his pseudonyms…

    • Regina

      Dude, read his books, not his life.   – see “unconditional commitment” and the different spheres.

      • Swhudf

        yeah, but the point of the edifying discourses are to compel the reader to choose  — he intentionally adopts provocative characters in order to test the reader.  For Kierkegaard, the highest sphere is the religious, not the ethical (under which marriage and conventional bourgeois society is situated).

  • Megan

    you are right

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