Coupling becomes obsession in society

Columnist Brandon Baker questions the state of the institution of marriage.

You hear a lot in the news about the GLBT community fighting in the name of “love.” It’s a wonderful concept that fills your body with all of those warm, fuzzy feelings and makes you want to indignantly stand up in protest against those mean-spirited, anti-love mongers who strip gays and lesbians of their rights.

But is the institution of “love” really solid ground for the community to stand on?

Love seems to be everywhere. You can’t walk into a coffee shop, a movie theater or even down a street without witnessing both its blessings and atrocities. You see couples holding hands, Disney princesses puckering up for their beloved prince and hear the Plain White T’s whining about seeing the precious Delilah.

What these love-struck victims might fail to mention however, is that Delilah is probably off in college being lustful and promiscuous, while the man singing the song is wasting his time hung-up on a girl with a silly idea of romance fabricated in a dream. And in the end, for what purpose?

I love the idea of the GLBT community winning its battle for marriage. Whether I value the concept or the meaning behind it is irrelevant. I realize it’s important and only fair to recognize that it’s a symbolic goalpost in the fight for equal rights in a society that puts (albeit a bit too much) emphasis on its other halves.

But taking a view that is completely distant from the closed-off window that is the GLBT community, I believe society’s perception of love to be the poison of our society.

Lately, I’ve contemplated how our society would function if we were presented with a popular culture that instead put emphasis on being single. Would we still feel those desperate urges and desires to find that “special someone”?

Particularly in a modern world that doesn’t necessarily need to add more to the world’s seven billion and growing population, I fail to wholeheartedly understand why so many of the people I talk to have such a fixation on love, relationships and the delusional white-picket-fence lifestyle.

It seems to me that while the legal benefits of marriage are wonderful, the institution has become wildly outdated in today’s society. It almost seems a bit hypocritical for the world to put so much concentration and effort into crafting a superb, free-thinking individual, while at the same time, telling them they need to get married and create a family in order to be valued.

After all, who wants to be the single guy or gal at the Thanksgiving dinner table when they’re 40 years old?

Deep down, I don’t believe that anyone wants to be that person. But I also don’t believe the single stigma needs to be perpetuated as much as it is. Friends can joke and jest all they want about how you’ll end up as “the crazy cat lady” in old age, but who says it has to be a bad thing?

I wear my cat lady stripes with pride. If you find love, that’s wonderful, but I don’t see the point in using the institution of marriage as a means of social validation. No one needs a marriage license to prove that they’re not alone or that their life had meaning – gay or straight.

The best love you’ll ever find in life is the love you have for yourself. So please, by all means, Disney, put forth an “independent woman” as your next princess. Who knows what impact you might have on society.

Brandon Baker can be reached at

1 Comment

  1. I think that one of the major reasons that marriage still exists in our society today is because of inflation and greater economic needs. When two “fiercely independent” (as in hard-working individuals with their own income) people come together, each one has something to bring to the table, and the two together can afford a lifestyle that neither alone could afford. I’m not quite sure how this has happened, because it used to be (in the 50’s and before that) that the head of the household was the “breadwinner” and could support an entire family. Although marriage is unnecessary for many individuals today, I think the financial security it provides is one reason why it still exists as an institution in our society today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.