Oh boy, a discussion post! No wrong answer, just a forum to share things about each other and learn different ways of thinking. Oh, and also to obsess over Little Things if you are a Little Things person.
Little Things trailer! Feels like it opens by just rejecting the idea of conflict or drama or tension in the relationship, and then lets us think about relationships and life in unusual ways, and that is the only meaning.
In the spirit of a show that makes us think about relationships and stuff, let’s have a general discussion about what marriage means or does not mean to us? Totally personally?
I’ll start with me. My parents where the 3rd generation of couples on my mother’s side to elope. On my father’s side, his parents didn’t elope, but they got married in a wedding thrown together with 4 days notice just before my grandfather shipped out. His grandparents got married so quietly we don’t have any photos or anything, it seems to just have been a ceremony in a living room.
With this background, I was raised thinking of marriage as a thing you do when you really really need to do it. In order for your girlfriend to get your war benefits if you are killed. Or because you are living together but realize the hospitals and courts and no one else will respect that tie. Or just because you want to leave town and start a new life together and you can’t travel unmarried.
Later, I came to see marriage with a meaning behind pure legal necessity. It is a way of standing up in front of society and putting a generally recognized permanent label on your relationship. I was raised in the only church in America that would perform religiously sanctioned same sex weddings. I went to my first same sex wedding when I was ten. And no, it wasn’t legal. It had no legal meaning at all. The couple could just as well have skipped the ceremony and instead filed a series of complicated legal papers to provide each other with a legal tie. But there is something different between saying “this is my partner” and “this is my wife/husband”. It demands that you recognize a role, that you treat this relationship the same as you would treat any other marital relationship.
I just bought a house with two friends who are married. One of the couple isn’t on the title to the house or the mortgage or anything else. But turns out, that doesn’t matter! Marriage, legally nationally recognize marriage, is a legal miracle. We don’t have to do anything special anywhere, just mindlessly file our paperwork, and the marriage trumps all of it. If they were just living together, as they had been for the past few years, we would have had to spend thousands on a lawyer to make this tight and protected, and now it’s just a free legal magic wand. Marriage is a very important legal thing! And on the other hand, the difference between telling my family “I am buying a house with my friend and her wife” and saying “I am buying a house with my friend and her girlfriend” is also enormous. They are stable, they are settled, they are a forever couple.
Bringing this back to Little Things for a second, I’m not sure I want Dhruv and Kavya to get married based on those definitions? Legally, ABSOLUTELY! Don’t be afraid of marriage just because of social conditioning. I don’t want Dhruv’s horrible parents to be his next of kin, I don’t want Kavya’s money to potentially be claimed by anyone around her who doesn’t actually care about her. And I want them to be able to buy an apartment together, build a life, whatever.
But socially? Saying “this is my wife” and “this is my husband” in India immediately opens you up to social judgement, to pressure, to all kinds of things. Are the legal advantages worth it? If they truly don’t want anything beyond what they already have?
I suppose this is a question a lot of couples have to deal with. Marriage pro: legal magic wand. Marriage con: opens you up to inescapable social pressure.
The one thing I absolutely reject is the idea that marriage has to be a certain way. Sure, there will be pressure, but you can resist it. Marriage can be anything you want. You can decide not to get married because you want to avoid the pressure, that I can respect. But to not get married because it will “kill the spark” or something? Nah, I reject that.
Okay, what are your thoughts? Why would a couple who love each other, who are living together, who are accepted as a couple by all their friends and family, who have now major health or economic issues, and who do not want children get married?