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Fire Away! by Dee Jay Gude
A few years ago, I was sitting chatting with a female friend of mine, with her 15-year-old niece, Michelle,  in attendance.  My friend was talking about a woman she knows who had recently gotten married to a very wealthy young man.  She commented, "Imagine marrying that kind of money!  I oughta ask her if he has a brother for me!"  Michelle, who had been uninterested in our conversation up to this point, looked up and said, "Wouldn't it just be easier to make your own money and forget about the brother?"

Out of the mouths of babes!  Yes, Michelle, it's much easier to make your own money and call your own shots than it is to be married to a man you don't like very much and have nothing in common with.  If you happen to fall in love with a man who is totally loaded, lucky you!  But if you are marrying this man to secure your financial well-being, be prepared to make a large trade-off.  While you may be able to quit your boring job and have your nails manicured on a weekly basis, you will also be sharing a home and possibly children with someone you can't even share a bathroom with.  Marrying for money isn't a good idea.

Marrying for security isn't such a hot idea, either.  If you're not already secure and happy with what you have and who you are, what makes you think you can throw another adult human into the mix and be sane?  And, frankly, why would any normal person want you if you're a neurotic, unhappy basket case?  Having dated unhappy men in my misspent youth, I can tell you now that, if you're a well-adjusted, productive individual, you stand a better chance of attracting those like yourself.  If you're an insecure mess trying to masquerade as confident and successful, you'll attract someone just like yourself - and be in for an unpleasant surprise when they reveal their true nature.

Marrying because you want children usually turns out poorly as well.  At some point, the kids grow up and get lives of their own and you're still stuck with the dad.  Even if you divorce him, he'll be a thorn in your side.  Especially if you divorce him!  I know a young woman who was so madly in "love" with her boyfriend of six months that she intentionally got pregnant so he would marry her.  They divorced two years later and she's still paying for that bit of hastiness - financially and emotionally.  So we can establish that tricking someone into marrying you doesn't work, either.

Many of my friends were astonished when I accepted Larry's marriage proposal.  "Why?" the exclaimed, "You have a great career, your kids are well-adjusted, you have a nice home and lots of friends...why?"  Add to that the fact that I've always been a bit of a "lone wolf" who can't even be bothered with answering my phone and you come up with someone who has no business getting married.

So why did I get married?  The answer is...I don't know.  And after celebrating our first anniversary, I still don't know.  Larry is a great guy and a good companion for me - but I had all that without having to marry him.  He's smart and romantic - but he was that way when we were dating, too.  In fact, our relationship was significantly more romantic when all he saw was the end result of my grooming process, not the coloring, tweezing and leg-waxing that went into it.  Shacking up with him, in lieu of marriage, wasn't an option - we each had children in the household and are both too conservative for that.  Sometimes I think it was better when we had separate living quarters - I got to watch a whole TV show instead of 5 seconds of everything around the dial.  And he got to drive the car and do simple household tasks without someone questioning his every move and suggesting a better way.

I guess one of the reasons we got married is because he lived 2 hours away and seeing each other was a monumental excursion and the phone bills were astronomical.  We both got heavily involved with each others' kids and didn't like not seeing them daily.  His oldest daughter would call me about what to wear to school that morning - so much easier if I were there to help her pick her wardrobe.  My son would call him so they could watch a basketball game together - so much easier if they could just sit on the couch together and channel-surf.  Larry didn't know how to make pigtails for his youngest daughter.  I didn't know how to teach my son to shoot a free-throw.  So let's call it a marriage of convenience.

But I really don't know why I married Larry and I can't come up with a good reason.  It's too easy to say that I married him because I love him - I loved him just fine before we were married and nothing has changed that.  We were happy being single parents and our kids were happy, too.  We just felt we could be even happier living together and raising our kids together and being a family.  So we rolled the dice and guess what?  We were right!  We are happier.  But that's why everyone gets married, right?  Because they think they'll be happier married than they are unmarried?  Yet... if you're already happy, it makes it easier to be happy with someone. 

So maybe Michelle's suggestion was more profound than I gave her credit for...maybe if you're satisfied alone, and make enough money to live on, and have already settled the procreation issue, and don't need to validate yourself by having a mate on your arm...maybe then you'll find the right person and get married for the same non-reasons that Larry and I did and live happily after after.

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