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The power of a single word.

You know, I think marriage is one of the dumbest institutions ever created. I mean, let's face it, the institution has its roots in a time period when the average life expectancy was thirty-eight years. 'Till death do us part wasn't exactly the same commitment then, you know? I think that it's rediculous to promise and swear to love someone for fifty or sixty years when you can't even tell if you're going to like the shirt your wearing in ten years. (If you don't understand that comment, think back to the big hair of the eighties. Or that feathered look of the seventies.)

This said, I wish to state that I am a very happily married.

If you're looking for consistency, you've come to the wrong place. I am vast; I contain multitudes. Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. There is no consistency this side of the grave. Etcetera, etcetera . . .

But you know, that word . . .marriage. It'll do funny things to you. When your dating, or in the first part of your relationship, you get to be yourself. There's nothing really on the line yet. You don't have a history with the person to protect and we all know that we're probably going to have many boy/girl friends before we ever settle down so you can afford to be honest and make sure that you're getting what you want. Once you make that determination you're happy! You found what you want and he/she wants you, too! How cool is that? But still, your really just friends with benefits.

Then you get married. (Sounds of car wheels screeching, glass shattering.)

All of a sudden, you're a WIFE. Or, you're a HUSBAND.

And you have the weight of centuries of spousal expectations placed firmly on your shoulders. Not by your spouse, but by yourself. You think, well, I was always taught that a husband/wife/significant other was supposed to be like X, and if I'm not like X, then I'm a failure in my new role.

So we start to edit. We start to censor. We start to maybe not be quite as honest as we could be--or should be, in some instances. We become spouses. Balls and chains. All because of one little word: marriage.

So this weekend, take your spouse somewhere and do yourself a favor. Pretend your not married for a day. Be boyfriend/girlfriend again and maybe, just maybe, you'll learn something new about them that'll make you smile next Wednesday afternoon, when you shouldn't be smiling like that at all . . .

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of The Abyss

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