Is Marriage a Game of Thrones by Judith Chambers

Power struggles, vendettas, betrayals, money issues, I mean what’s not to like about marriage?

I’ve never been married although I’ve had the pleasure of sampling other women’s husbands from time to time, and although I will admit they are rather yummy I still prefer variety in my diet. The thought of being stuck with one meal for the rest of my life quite frankly appalls me.   

I do love weddings though. I love the overwhelming irony of them, the air of quiet desperate optimism, the weight of expectations hanging over the heads of the bride and groom like a debtor’s ledger. I say hold on to the wedding photos, girls, this is as good as it’s ever likely to get.

Here’s my take on weddings: two perfectly healthy human beings, independent and self-sustaining, legally fused together to create a lurching, ungainly, mutually dependent monstrosity of divergent desires and tastes, half male, half female, and completely insane.

From this Frankenstein construction it is hoped children will someday spring forth, mad offspring of a mad enterprise, to be used as bargaining chips in a game that began long before they were spawned, and will end long after they’ve flown the coop – in death, divorce, senility, its all downhill after the honeymoon.

Paradoxically, it is only in the event of a divorce that a man will abruptly discover he’s been dealt a losing hand.

Men are the matrimonial equivalent of “snake eyes”, whatever the circumstances of a divorce they always lose. The wife wins the kids, the house, the car, and a hefty percentage of her estranged husband’s income which will likely go towards the upkeep of whatever jobless bastard she decides to co-habit with next.

But a woman doesn’t exactly have it easy either, putting on post-baby weight seriously damages her marketability and the man she winds up with will most likely be of lower social status than the man she left. In addition her career has been placed in moth balls, if indeed it ever began; and an addiction to Oprah or Celebrity Big Brother isn’t exactly a recommendation in today’s job market; she will need every penny of that child support just to break even.

So, no winners in marriage, unless you count divorce lawyers and matrimonial courts, in which case marriage is a hugely profitable industry, second only to parking fines.

When my friend, Natalia, said; “marriage is awesome,” I could have sworn she said “marriage is a war zone,” a philosophy that gelled with mine even though I’ve never been married and she has (five times by last count).

Natalia is addicted to marriage.

She loves the idea of being married more than the reality. She finds that after the initial honeymoon period the man tends to become rather superfluous, in fact the more things settle into a domestic routine the more she feels the urge to move on.

According to Natalia it’s the whole routine thing that turns her off. She used to wake up with baited breath, longing for the moment she could be with the man she thought she loved. After the wedding all that quickly goes away, now there’s no suspense, no build-up, there he is, farting and snoring beside her in bed, somewhat devalued now that she has him on tap. 

Poor Natalia.

She’s still looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

At some point every marriage magically switches polarity, instead of finding more and more reasons to hang together spouses start looking for more and more ways to hang apart, extra hours at the office, girls’ night out, volunteer work at the local dog kennel, separate TVs, separate bedrooms, separate lives.

I believe husbands work harder and longer hours because they know what’s waiting for them at home. I believe wives spend money as fast as their husbands earn it because… well, wouldn’t you? I mean what else is marriage good for? Its either shopping or daytime TV and I know which one I’d prefer.

JUDITH CHAMBERS

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