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The neurosis of marriage

By Michael Thompson - posted Monday, 29 June 2015

The world rejoices because the USA has allowed homosexuals to become married. Now they can rush into marriage with all the same neurotic fervour as heterosexual couples do. Is this a cause for celebration?

Everyone should have the right to get married in the same way that you should have a right to smoke, to eat fatty foods, to take drugs, to abuse alcohol and to jump off the Golden Gate bridge but why would you want to? People do those kinds of things fundamentally to try and meet some emotional need and this is what I mean by neurotic behaviour – it is behaviour which aims to meet emotional needs by behaving in ways that can never achieve that aim.

Getting married is one of those behaviours and the desperate push by homosexual people to get married only shows that they are as equally neurotic as heterosexual people. It is a push for equality but only in terms of having the same neurotic behaviour available to them as heterosexuals have.


There are many people in the world now who just live together rather than get married and that seems enough for them. Why is it enough for some and not for others? We are all human beings with the same needs and desires and attractions but what makes some people yearn for marriage whilst others are content without it?

The debate over same-sex marriage should be an opportune time to look at the whole question of marriage and whether or not it is a natural and reasonable thing for humans to do at all. Is it just a primitive throwback that keeps us from growing up and realising our full potential? Everyone who fails to achieve their full potential drags the society down by just so much. Is the artificial maintenance of this 'institution' and the concomitant industry that it supports really doing us any good?

No one really questions why heterosexual people get married as opposed to living together. It is like a sacred taboo that you don't go near. When someone announces they are engaged you dare not ask them why they feel the need to get married. Homosexuals have been opposed in their desire to get married and have been forced to give reasons why they should have that same right as heterosexuals. When they give their answers they say that it is because they love their partner and want to express that love or they want commitment or the social standing they think that marriage will bring. Many heterosexuals nod in agreement because they recognise these same desires in themselves. This is why there is such huge support for same-sex marriage because so many heterosexuals see such reasons as being about fundamental human needs. They identify with these needs because they also have them. When we really examine those needs we can see that they are not truly human needs at all and that both heterosexual and homosexual people are really trying to meet some deeper emotional need.

It's all about love

People say they want to get married because they love each other but what does marriage add to a loving relationship that does not already exist? Do couples feel any differently in relation to each other the day after their wedding? They might feel differently in relation to their parents who have been putting emotional pressure on them to marry. They might feel a certain relief from a stress which they have uncritically taken on board but it is not the answer to their problem. They may feel the same relief in regards to their relationship with siblings or friends who all have marriage certificates. The same applies with the wider society. For same-sex couples it may bring a sense of relief that their relationship is accepted by that society in general.

All these things might make someone feel different but only in relation to people and society that they already have issues with. Insecurities in those relationships should be dealt with as separate items and not pasted over by getting married. Such insecurities cannot be dealt with by neurotic behaviour such as alcoholism or drugs or marriage. Marriage does not add anything to the love you have for your partner – it only helps to anaesthetise you from the substantial emotional dependence you have on parents, siblings, friends and society. In fact it could be detrimental to the love you share when you begin to use your relationship with your partner as a bulwark against the stresses you encounter in relationships with others.



Many people say they want to get married for the sake of commitment. There is only one good reason for remaining in an intimate relationship and that is because you love the person you are with. Entering or remaining in a relationship out of a desire for commitment is a sham and not becoming of a free and mature adult.

People who look for some reason other than love to keep them bound are basically insecure about their own lovableness. They do not feel confident that another person would want to stay with them simply because they are loveable so they appeal to artificial strictures that they hope will help them with their insecurities. They want a legal relationship in the hope that the law will keep their partner from leaving them. They show denial when it is exposed that the same law can just as easily end their relationship. They may want to extract from their partner a promise that they will remain 'until death do us part' in the hope that their partner will never see that no promise ever actually binds anyone to do anything as long as they are prepared to accept the consequences for breaking it.

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About the Author

Michael Thompson is a freelance writer and blogger interested in social issues. His particular focus is on exposing the emotional manipulation that passes for reasonable and logical debate in many social issues. He believes civilised society changes for the better when it does so for good reasons and not because the loudest, most aggressive or most manipulative of its citizens get their way. His blog can be found at Social Justice Issues.

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