These two articles have enraged many. Quite rightly so. I'm more enraged she's making money writing about such things.
I have also been married and divorced. It happened all when I was quite young. Throughout my twenties and into my thirties, I have been told frequently: "At least you've been married," as if it was some sort of Girl Scout badge. McMillan's blog runs into this same delusional thinking.
Unlike McMillan, though I may 'have the badge' in marriage AND divorce, I hardly feel that gives me some authorial position on the subject. In fact, when I read she was divorced three times, I was miffed to why she was advocating the institution of marriage. I'm still wondering if she is. I can't decide if she advocates marriage or the paycheck of selling out to patriarchal ideology.
Either way, when asked about marriage, I usually give an unpopular response:
Don't get married. Simply don't even try. More than likely, men will propose anyway. Why? Because women who see marriage clearly for what it is, a sham, not a fairy tale, these women possess a confidence and sense of intelligence that fascinates intelligent men.
It should. Because marriage is silly. The fact that some women AND men treat it like the ultimate definition of who they are, married or unmarried, is insane. It's crazy. And people, as Tracy points out frequently, don't like committing to crazy.
I understand that many people marry because it is the base of their spiritual beliefs. Fair enough. There's one problem I find here. I'm pretty sure God did not have a $5,000 to $10,000 price tag in mind when he advocated monogamy and marriage. I smell smoke when I see a religious wedding showered in cash. I'm not sure what Jesus would think, but I'm thinking the money could be well spent somewhere a bit more useful than Macy's Wedding Boutique.
Furthermore, I am more frequently miffed by non-religious men and women who bow to the marriage market. Some say for financial reasons, to protect assets, for the kids, for retirement, for the mortgage, for their dog Sparky. But all of these reasons can be rectified in a law office. Though I'm guessing it's not a simple process. We are bound to a very embedded, layered and systematic idea that legal marriage is the only way to protect ourselves from each other in a relationship.
Here in Sweden, marriage is something that happens much later in life, if at all. Couples can have long-standing relationships for decades, kids and all, before even thinking of marriage. Marriage is a celebration of their relationship, not a validation or protective service.
Back in the states, the status of 'single' vs. 'married' identifies and dictates a person's identity. For singles, I think it can sometimes feel like barbarian vs. colonized.
Think about how much power is in the institution of marriage, the CORPORATION of marriage -- and if it was eliminated, what would change? Our government depends on us believing in the sanctity and structure of marriage. If we question it, what happens? That whole gay marriage question would hardly be an issue. It shouldn't matter who you love. It really shouldn't. It most definitely isn't the government's business. But they make it their business. Think about the hot topics of birth control and abortion, these issues should be decided between the couple, not the local state representative and his own personal beliefs.
McMillan's article sends a final cloak of fairy dust that illuminates her marriage mission: Change yourself for the sake of love and you will find that special someone. Love yourself. Well, that's all fine and good -- yes, love yourself, but don't delude yourself. In fact, loving yourself may allow some personal clarity, revealing that marriage is completely unnecessary when it comes to love.
I think somewhere between her harsh tone, the stock self-help advice and clinging to the belief that marriage denotes some sort of validation, she had to place the word 'love' in there to make it okay. It's not okay. She's confused. Marriage is one thing, love is another. One is connected to government and religious institutions while the other is connected to your heart. Be wary and don't confuse the two as symbiotic with each other.
And definitely be wary of advice coming from someone making money promoting the idea of love=marriage. The advice is probably as worthwhile and sound as a stock investment in Facebook.