Can you have one without the other?I was in a car recently, on a long drive, with a professor and some fellow students. During the course of the ride, I referred to Zack, Zeph's brother, as my brother-in-law. The immediate response, understandably, was, "Oh, so you guys are married?"
"No, we're not. In fact, we're going to try and avoid it for as long as possible."
Later I felt the need to explain, especially to the married individual in the car, that this is not because I am anti-marriage in general. Sure, I think there is a lot to be said for standing in solidarity with those who cannot be married, and that has definitely influenced my decision, and marriage does work for some people. Just not me.
My reason behind not marrying has always been that the institution is meaningless to me, and I refuse to go through the pageantry for the sake of other people. I was willing to do it when it still meant something to Zeph, but it doesn't anymore. Marriage brings us no more security in the permanence of our relationship than we feel now.
Did my parents' divorce somehow influence that decision? Probably. Just because I marry you doesn't mean I am not going to leave you. It just means that I have to complete some paperwork after I walk out the door. Is that a harsh way to view it? Yes. Is it cynical? Yes. Is it unromantic? Yes.
But that doesn't mean that my life is unromantic. Romance is what happens in your day-to-day routine as you interact with your partner. Romance is being awoken daily by a freshly-showered body crawling back into bed for one more dose of warmth before starting the day. Romance is brushing somebody's shoulder, or leg, or face, as you walk past him when entering a room. Romance is falling asleep late because the conversation after the lights go out is just that interesting.
And I don't need a ring or vows or a slip of paper in order to experience any of those things. I just need his word. That's enough for me.