Is marriage abnormal?
For Marlon’s preschooler, having parents who are married to each other is the exception.
Maddi (my 3-year-old) and I were watching a movie the other day, and during a wedding scene I casually said to her, ‘so who do you think I should marry?’
Her reply was so quick and definite that it made me wonder if she knew something about marriage as institution which I did not. When I asked her why, she responded in a weirdly knowing tone, saying: ’Because you are the daddy.’
It seems that as far as she is concerned, marriage is not an option for me. She was born into a situation where she received equal custody of both her parents. In addition, her parents have a mature and amicable relationship and we make a great effort to attend parties together and school functions.
So for her, this is the norm. And knowing her sharp mind, her quick response confirmed for me that she was not in the mood to have her reality distorted by a marriage. Maddi’s got that quick wit of someone who seems to know the point of a discussion even before it has begun. I am in no doubt that her interests are purely selfish, and why shouldn’t it be?
When I raised the issue with Hannah, she ended up telling me about other kids in her class who see their mommies and daddies on alternate weekends and how they chat about it amongst themselves as though it was the norm. And I realised that for her, it is the norm. Could it be that my kids view marriage as the abnormal option?
The stark reality for our kids is that having single parents is becoming more normal than having married parents. The media coverage of celebrity divorces and child adoptions add fuel.
And while I still entertain romantic thoughts of one day sitting at the head of a large family and everyone in the room saying ‘Ciao, Don Marlon’, I have to admit that I’m not so sure that my kids’ reality of marriage and relationships is necessarily a bad thing. Do you think that marriage is becoming the exception? Is that a bad thing?