Monday, May 27, 2013

What Bones taught me about marriage

I'm not an expert on romance by any means. I've only had one relationship that was even remotely serious, and I've never considered myself a romantic person at all. Or, rather, I don't care to focus too much on the lovey dovey aspect of infatuation or the emotion of romantic relationships.
If you watch Bones as often as I do, you'll know who Bones and Booth are. I've blogged about them before -- that couple that you know from the start will be a couple but doesn't become a couple for several years, dancing around their growing sexual tension until something finally happens that convinces them they should be together.
For Bones and Booth, that moment was the death of one of their co-workers. In their emotion-filled grief, they ended up sleeping together, and Bones got pregnant. Most couples these days don't have children until they've been together for several years. Many (if not the majority) are already married when they have children. But the relationship between Bones and Booth went from 0 to 100 in a matter of weeks. Two people who had previously been nothing more than co-workers suddenly found themselves about to have a child -- and a life -- together.
I won't pretend to advocate one night stands, and Bones and Booth aren't even married, but maybe our culture can learn something about marriage from them. We tend to see marriage as emotional, something you do when you've been dating someone for years and you really really loooooooove them. But love -- or, rather, infatuation -- isn't enough to sustain a relationship for decades. I'm not married, so I may be wrong on this, but isn't marriage supposed to be a commitment between two people who are agreeing to make a life together? Doesn't it require a lot of work, compromise, and sacrifice, even under circumstances that might be less than ideal? And doesn't having a child put even more strain on a couple and their relationship? Bones and Booth don't always get along, just like any couple. But since they have a child, they'll have to deal with each other for the rest of their lives, even if they don't have the additional commitment of being husband and wife. They're not necessarily "stuck" in a relationship, but it seems like they're genuinely trying to make it work. Operative word: Work.
Marriage isn't supposed to be a bed of roses. It isn't even supposed to be about "true love" or "finding your soulmate." It's about two imperfect people coming together and agreeing that they care enough about each other to work together to make a life for themselves and any children they might have. We had a speaker at my school in junior high who said that love is a do verb, not a feel verb. Maybe our culture should focus less on the emotion of marriage and love and more on the commitment.

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