Think Marriage Is Outdated? Think Again.

The first time I started thinking about marriage with my fiancée, Jazzie, is about the time our daughter was born. Just all the stuff that we have been through together—me recovering from meth addiction, finding out that our baby in her womb could die, trying to make it from day to day—I kind of knew in that moment that, yes, technically, I could live without her, but I don’t want to live without her. I realized that she could do multiple things to piss me off, but I’d still stick around. I still want to be by her side at the end of the day. I love her that much—and I wanna vow myself to her for the rest of my life.

Flickr/Allan Wan
Flickr/Allan Wan

Well, that’s great, you might say. But isn’t marriage just a relic of the past, irrelevant for our time? I agree with part of that: it is a relic of the past—it brought kingdoms together, stopped and started wars, and changed the course of civilizations. We don’t really have kings and queens anymore, but marriage is still relevant for most of us today. Yes, it’s a different time, but the essentials—the foundation of marriage—still means more than most of us can comprehend. And I want to get married because of the foundation of what marriage is, because of what  marriage stands for.

Marriage says something to the world. Getting married is basically saying to the world, “Hey, this is my soulmate. This is who I want to spend the rest of my life with, through thick and thin. No matter how much we fight, this is the person I want to be with. The world I want to live in is where I am hers, and she is mine. We are one, a unity.” And that’s how I want us to be perceived by other people.

Marriage is an organism. Marriage is a unity. It’s taking two minds and putting them together. It’s taking two bodies and making one solid mass. When you get married, you don’t do anything without consulting your spouse. Because when you get married, it’s like you form a new organism, a new reality that has a life of its own. I will be hers, and she will be mine, and in that oneness we will live. An organism is a living thing, and that’s exactly what the organism of marriage is: a living, growing, breathing thing. So, yeah, you can say until you’re blue in the face that marriage is dead, but the fact is, when Jazzie and I join ourselves in marriage, we’ll be forming a new living thing—a new organism.

Marriage is a growing organism. When a man and a woman have kids together, the kids become a part of the organism. The mom, dad, and child are one big organism—one big unity. And if the couple works at marriage, it’s good for the children. People that are married, their children live pretty good lives most of the time (if the parents have good parenting skills, that is). If you’ve got two parents that support you the whole way, it’s completely different than being on your own. You got a chance to grow up and win the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, the kid who doesn’t have two parents can still grow up and win the Nobel Peace Prize. But as someone who has personally experienced divorce as a child, let me say this: it makes it a hell of a lot easier if you’ve got two parents that are behind you every step of the way, than if you’ve just got one. Why? Because now kids are torn between different organisms.

Let’s say you got one organism, and the couple goes and get divorced. And let’s say the man goes and gets a different wife. Well, the man already has an organism—the kids and the old wife are still there. So when the man tries to take a new wife, he is taking himself away from the one organism. And if the new wife was married and has kids of her own, the man is taking her away from that one organism. And now you got the man and new wife trying to form a new organism—along with at least two other organisms. Either father and child, or mother and child, are no longer going to be joined in one organism.

If you don’t work for it in marriage, the organism is going to tear itself apart, and you’re going to put yourself and your kids through hell. You’re going to tear the organism apart from the inside. And it’s going to be messy, too. It’s going to be bad for your kids: they’ll most likely reject you, or themselves. A lot of parents that get divorced don’t realize what that does to their children.

Marriage is a self-repairing organism. Okay, so marriage is serious stuff. But here is the good news: you decide if your marriage stays alive, or dies. You can work at marriage; you can take care of the living organism that is your marriage, just like you can take care of any other living thing. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

Tyler and Jazzie
Tyler and Jazzie

I fall more in love with Jazzie every day. Even though we have fights, I still love the hell out of her. And I try to understand where she’s coming from. So, in my mind, what she’s yelling at me for, it makes sense. For instance, my car broke down and left me stranded a few times in the past week. I had told Jazzie that I’d be back in a half hour, but when I didn’t return for a couple hours, she started thinking the worst. So when I got home, she was yelling at me. Well, I got mad because I had to walk a long time—and then I got angry that she was yelling at me for something out of my control! At the same time, I understood why she was mad. And I told her that, too.

That understanding is really important. I’m trying to make myself a better person, and she’s trying to make herself a better person. But I’m not just bettering myself for myself: we’re bettering ourselves for each other. And that’s how marriage works: it’s a self-repairing organism. If I lose an arm, because of her, I’m going to grow my arm back. Because that’s what we’re doing: we’re bettering ourselves for each other—which betters the organism.

You’ve got to want marriage. After all, you don’t want to ruin other people’s lives in the process. If you can’t be with the same woman for a long time, don’t get married. If you’re not responsible, don’t get married. If there’s any reason you should not get married, don’t get married. Because you’ve got to work for it, you’ve got to be willing to try.

But for the people that are responsible: great, grand, and wonderful! Marriage is one of the most beautiful things in the world, right up there next to giving birth. Because when two souls say that they want to spend the rest of their lives together, that’s beautiful. That’s why I want to join myself, the girl I love, and my children in a new organism called marriage—and grow into something even more beautiful.

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