Lately I have been thinking about what my life will be like after I “get” married and “have” kids. How will I change? How will my life be different? What will be similar to now? Will I ever get used to having all those strangers around me all the time?
I have noticed, during my short and very single life, that many people want to “get” married and “have” kids. From the time I was born I have been told to “get” married and “have” kids. I don’t think it is an accident of the English language that we use the phrases “get married” and “have kids” either. Think about those words… GET and HAVE…
It’s sad to say, but I’m afraid our language actually does reflect our culture and deepest thoughts. Most people want to ‘get’ married rather than BE married, and most people want to ‘have’ kids rather than RAISE children.
American culture is obsessed with possession and acquisition. We are the ultimate consumers. We acquire things our entire life. When we get too much stuff, we go buy containers for the stuff. We buy houses and garages to keep all our stuff in, and then when we overgrow those, we go buy bigger ones. Getting stuff seems to be the whole basis for our culture and life experience. We send our newborns home from the hospital with bags and bags of required stuff – stuff they can’t live without – and then grow from there needing and needing more and more. We go about our lives simply collecting things… junk, mostly, and then when we’re old we worry about who we’re going to give all our junk to that would possibly care for it as well as we have our whole life.
Marriage isn’t an acquisition, though. We shouldn’t “get” married, we should become married. We should see our partner, not as a simple life status change or an obligatory rite of passage we should go through because that’s what people do, but as someONE (not someTHING) that’s entered our life that has changed it forever.
Again, the same thing happens with children. People want to “have” children, much like they want to have a summer home or the latest iThing. We want them in order to say we have them; to possess them. Many parents “have” their children without much regard for their desire (or lack thereof) to raise them. This is mostly apparent in certain segments of the teen population where it’s become cool to get pregnant and “get your first baby.” It’s almost as if they bring a life into the world as they would purchases a doll, just to name it and play with it when they feel like it, then give it away (or throw it away) when it’s old, or time to move on to the next acquisition.
The good news is that the universe is not kind to the people who hold this philosophy very long. These people seem to always be the ones who are losing everything – including their spouse and children – because of their inherant stupidity and lack of appreciation for what they’ve been given, rather than what they think they’ve simply acquired.