Why I Got Married

“That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.” –Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

To say I am something of a free spirit would be like saying Mao Tse-tung was something of a despot. I am a 27-year-old upper-middle-class white girl with two English degrees, true, but a Ph.D. dropout and escapee of the ivory tower moonlighting as a director, actress, confessional writer, and dabbler in amateur psychology. My friends think I march to my own beat; my parents think I’m just plain crazy. I am a barefoot hippie bohemian flaneur who keeps my options open, writes bad poetry, subsists on caffeine and nicotine, and longs for the open road. Sylvia Plath and Jack Kerouac are my literary idols, white picket fences make my skin crawl, and I am historically known for my revolving-door relationships and my little black book (does Generation Y still have those?) the size of War and Peace. I make my own decisions and call my own shots. Domesticity has never been my strong suit. Julia Child I am not; Donna Reed still less so. I work in the theater, which operates on the unspoken assumption that artists don’t get married, where marriage is viewed as an unpleasant heteronormative relic of a bygone civilization, where cohabitation is an end unto itself and infidelity is the norm if not the expectation. I grew up in a culture where the indissolubility of marriage is a joke in a country that sees 900,000 divorces a year.

Then why, one might reasonably ask, did a girl like me just get married a week ago?

Because I finally found the man who was worth marrying.

It’s both as simple and as complex as that. It wasn’t out of necessity; I’m not pregnant, despite sundry accusations to the contrary. It wasn’t for security; I married a captain in the United States Army and am taking off for parts unknown in a few short weeks. It wasn’t for appearances; if anything, we have alienated many close-minded folks with the permanency of our decision. It was because I finally found the one human being who fills my heart with joy and whom I couldn’t possibly go another day without lest I shrink to something small and mean and soulless. He is my perfect complement, my sanity, and my rock. He is the only person on the planet who could possibly deal with my industrial-forklift-full of emotional baggage and still make fighting over doing the dishes fun. When Harry Met Sally had it right: when you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to begin as soon as possible. Yes, marriage is a calculated risk, but when you risk nothing, you stand to lose everything. Being a grownup is not being Carrie Bradshaw. Being a grownup means turning in your Rolodex and promising an imperfect person you will love him imperfectly for as long as you both shall live. It is the nature of love to bind itself, as Chesterton once wrote in “A Defense of Rash Vows,” and the “institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word.” I may be a bohemian, but this is one bohemian who honors her commitments and takes her promises seriously. I think Chesterton sums it up rather nicely: “the towering flame will rise from the harbour announcing that the reign of the cowards is over and a man is burning his ships.”

Or in this case, a woman. TC mark


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  • http://www.themollybuckley.com mollystillman

    amen! amen! and amen! i couldn’t have said it better myself

  • Joanna

    No need to pat yourself on the back for getting married. Lots of people do it. No need to defend the decision, either. Women are asked much more frequently to explain their reasons for NOT getting married.

    • http://seaworthymermaid.tumblr.com/ Lauren

      It’s a scary step, especially these days! I think it’s nice to hear someone who may have been hesitant or even well against it say they don’t regret it.

    • Teo

      Agreed with Joanna!

  • http://seaworthymermaid.tumblr.com/ Lauren

    Wonderfully put. I have undoubtedly met that person for me and as much as the statistics and the norms scare me, I cannot wait to continue our adventures and laughs and running errands and somehow making every day fun with each other for the rest of our lives. Thanks for this.

  • http://Rumblestripq.blogspot.com Doug Hart

    Having been married twice, if I had the choice to tie the knot again or stick my head in an oven, I would gladly do the latter

    • http://Rumblestripq.blogspot.com Doug Hart


  • Sharon

    First, Congratulations!

    I found me one them there “perfect for me” guys too. Unfortunately, I met someone before him that I mistakenly thought was the perfect guy for me. I cannot say that I married strictly for love though. I do love him very much, but when you get to be a certain age, people that live in states with no common law, suffer greatly if their partner should pass away before you do. If we had not gotten married and he passed first, I would be a no body, entitled to nothing. We checked into wills and while it can help, it’s a lot more difficult. Getting married gave us peace of mind that whoever goes first, the survivor will not end up living in the street. People may find that very unromantic, but it is very practical. If we were both independently wealthy, I probably would not have married. Only because I’ve done it twice before and I viewed marriage as an “unpleasant heteronormative relic of a bygone civilization” as the author stated. We have been together for 15 years and almost 100% sure we will be together for the rest of our lives.

    Best of luck to you!!

  • Sharon

    oops, forgot to follow.

  • DC Chica

    When I saw this title, I dreaded what was to follow. But this piece was absolutely, surprisingly perfect!

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/08/why-i-got-married-2/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Love & Sex Add a comment “That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.” –Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar […]

  • Camille

    Love this. I think our generation is one that judges and tries to look down on women who get married. I’ve heard so many people in my life say things like, “She should be chasing her career and traveling the world til she’s 35.” People need to be reminded that women can be independent, strong, have dreams, and accomplish them…all while being married.


  • http://twitter.com/christinalefou Christina (@christinalefou)

    I am getting married in 3 weeks and I am unbelievably similar and on the same page as you. Its not well-looked upon, particularly in artistic circles, and I fully understand every reason why it isn’t. In spite of all of it, choosing to make that sort of commitment is brave and romantic and a little bit quaint, and I think if you go into it with the right attitude, it’s great.

  • Hannah

    you dont actually say why you wanted to get married, just why are you together.

    • H

      Yeah I thought that. There aren’t any actual reasons. Not that she has to justify her decision, but you’d think from the title that there’d be at least one vague reason.

      • http://Rumblestripq.blogspot.com Doug Hart

        The only thing marriage is good for is to enrich the lawyers that will inevitably get all your assets during the divorce.

      • Sharon

        Are you married Doug?

      • H

        Hahahahahaha Doug!

  • Super

    i give it a couple of years.

  • Ana

    oh good god this is was shockingly awful

  • Suus

    So you married him because he doesn’t get irritated by the fact that you express your feelings through cultural clichés? I guess that’s as good a reason as any. Congratulations!

  • http://helenlouisewilliams28.wordpress.com Helen Williams

    I agree with Super – a couple of years tops.
    Well done, you married for love. You don’t say anything about how you are going to fit your (very different) lives together and actually BE married.
    Also I’d be interested to know how long you’ve been together before deciding to get married?

  • http://disembodiedprose.wordpress.com disembodiedprose

    This is like…half an article. I’ve been with people who fill my heart with joy and I wanted to spend all my time with, etc…but it doesn’t mean shit works out or that we’re meant to be officially, legally “married”. There aren’t actually any real, compelling reasons or insights in here that aren’t just straight-up cliches.

    • http://disembodiedprose.wordpress.com disembodiedprose

      Also, reading your biography, to say you “finally found someone” at AGE 26 is ridiculous and that he’s the “only person in the world” who can handle your baggage is absurd. At 26, there’s only so many people you could have met. Well, good luck. Hope it works out.

  • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans (@mung_beans)

    vom dot com

  • Hannah L.

    “I am a barefoot hippie bohemian flaneur” i hope i never meet you ever ever

  • http://awkwardlyinteresting.wordpress.com reesa

    Reblogged this on REESA and commented:

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