I was surfing the net recently when I ran across an odd piece in the Huffington Post about a North Dakota woman “marrying” herself. Six years after dealing with a painful divorce, the woman went though a commitment ceremony with herself. She describes herself as “very happy” and “very joyous,” and she takes herself on “dates” to “invest in this relationship.”
At first I thought it was one of those oddball stories about the curious antics of one person — but apparently it isn’t. There’s actually an entire website devoted to self-marriage ceremonies, with links to sections like “self-marriage unveiled” and “about self-marriage.”
I’m not a hidebound traditionalist about who should participate in a marriage. I support same-sex marriage, for example. But I also think that the whole concept of marriage has to involve another person. A crucial part of the institution is making sacrifices for the betterment of someone else, and legally committing yourself to that separate individual in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer.
I don’t care how many “dates” you might take yourself on. I don’t care how schizophrenic you might be. I don’t care how disastrous your prior relationships have been. You simply can’t “marry” yourself in any meaningful sense.
One reason I support same-sex marriage is that it recognizes the importance of the institution of marriage. Gay couples who want to marry are eager for the commitment, welcome the legal enforcement of that commitment, and understand that making that legal commitment means something important. They want to participate in an institution that has been crucial to the advancement of civilization.
Proponents of “self-marriage,” on the other hand, are really devaluing and mocking that institution. It’s transparent, pathetic, and kind of sad.