Clovis Riché is a student from Paris but raised in Brussels, studying at Sciences Po and University College London.
How would you define the purpose of marriage?
The purpose of marriage can be seen in two contrasting ways.
In a metaphorical sense, marriage is an actualisation of love and the feelings within a relationship.
A LASTING COMMITMENT
In contrast, many people get married pragmatically to prove, not only to themselves but also to the outside world, that their love is not only strong, but meant to last.
While this idea of concretising love is sweet in itself, I also see it as a double-edged sword.
I personally believe the social pressure to get married pushes couples, whose feelings for each other might not be strong enough for marriage. They still get married simply because marriage has historically been considered necessary and as the norm.
On the other hand, from a legal perspective, the purpose of marriage can also be a simpler financial situation and general monetary benefits.
As of right now, do you envision yourself getting married in the future? Is it a decision that’s definite (be it a political statement or a definite plan OR to just be played by ear)?
I generally lack a sense of direction for the future which includes whether or not I would like to get married. While I don’t object to the idea, I also see it as an intense commitment not only romantically, but particularly regarding material affairs.
NOT PROBLEM FREE
From my personal experience with my family, marriages and divorce have caused innumerable financial problems. Hence, if I do get married, I want to be especially careful regarding the division of property and other related matters.
Nevertheless, marriage ceremonies are really entertaining, so if I don’t get properly married, I would still like to have some form of celebration.
Also, this might sound selfish, but I would never get married for any form of political statement. Anyone who gets married primarily for political reasons is just dooming a few years of their life in a union that’s bound to be unhappy.
A PERSONAL MATTER
Queer marriages can still be a form of political statement these days as marriage equality is still an ongoing fight in many countries, but I think it should mainly be personal attraction between people that drives a marriage, which can be a complement (…).
If you do choose to ever get married, why would that be?
My personal philosophy regarding marriage, children, and the whole concept of family, is that I would want them when they would add to my life instead of taking away from it.
cocktails or babies
As of now, I would pick a cocktail bar over caring for a baby, and until I want to care for a baby more than I want a mojito or a stress-free vacation then I would not consider marriage or building a family.
I really want to make sure that if I tie myself down with anyone it would not take away from my independence or stop me from pursuing things I want to do.
mustn’t be an obstacle
However, I have no idea when I’ll see marriage as a positive addition to my life and not as an obstacle, or if I ever will.
Do you think your decision to get married or not would ultimately be tied to your parents’ expectations? Elaborate
My decision to get married or not would not be tied to them at all.
I have made that clear to my parents through constantly breaking their set expectations of what their son would be like, such as straight, a hunter, or a conservative for example. I’ve told them explicitly I would reject any of their pressure to fit into heteronormative society such as with children or marriage.
Hence, I feel very distanced from my parent’s expectations and, honestly, I’m not sure if they currently have any. Even if they did, I don’t care about what they are.
Do you think we enter marriage all too absentmindedly (without questioning the purpose beyond the glamorized image)?
Absolutely, I think marriage has been framed as the goal every person should strive for to build a family and have a “successful” life by heteronormative standards. This has destroyed so many lives which would have been far better without marriage.
I’m always mortified at the idea of squandering potential with marriage, especially in the patriarchal society where so many women are burdened with the more arduous tasks in the married relationship.
Honestly, if the minimum age for marriage was increased to twenty-five, I think a lot of young people would avoid making early mistakes and a lot of lives would be lived with more freedom and joy.
Do you believe marriage solidifies or weakens a relationship?
I may have a pessimistic opinion on this, but I believe that marriage may solidify most if not all relationships at first as it has been socially codified as the purest expression of romantic attractions.
a strong bond
But after, if that bond isn’t strong, then it weakens the relationship. Marriage places certain expectations on relationships, and if those expectations are not constantly met, I believe they eventually will break the whole relationship down.
What do you think is more of a political statement (politics meaning this decision reflects an attempt to try and jab at the system at hand we abide by without questioning): to not get married or to not have kids?
I believe that not having kids is the more political statement.
Ultimately, getting married concretely impacts the people being legally bonded to each other, and historically relates to political issues of sexism, homophobia, and more.
to have or not to
On the other hand, not only does not having kids relate to both previous topics, but it also brings into the question of global warming, overpopulation, and more.
Additionally, I personally think not being married, at least in French society, is much more acceptable than not having kids.
Many adults in my family have not gotten married, which has never been questioned.
However, my personal questioning of whether I would like to have children has proven to be much more controversial.
About the Article
A French university student, studying at Sciences Po in France, reflects on the significance of marriage today.