Travis Laurence Naught

Marriage: A Flawed System Between Lovers and the Things They Own

Travis Laurence Naught looks at the messy state of affairs regarding marriage. It’s not for him, here’s why.


(Note: I willingly omitted the subject of children from this discussion.)

Fall in love. Want to spend the rest of your life with another person. The Beatles would have you believe all the required elements to creating a successful union are already in place. The United States government believes differently.

Property, land, or individual items are an important weight on the matrimonial scales. Blood being thicker than water means that when half of a relationship’s party kicks the bucket, family becomes the legal heirs to their belongings. A marriage license, or common law in certain scenarios, guarantees the surviving half of the relationship as that rightful, chosen family member. Plenty of executors have wished against all that is good they did not have to be party to explaining this. A father, daughters, brothers, cousins … a lot of nasty fighting occurs between blood kin.

Make sure any potential partner’s financial situation is in order and won’t mire your knot-tightly-tied futures in a never-ending struggle. Unless you’re rich enough to safely rescue someone from being a member of several tax brackets below your own, it’s safest to wed someone of similar socioeconomic status. Heaven forbid those people who used to be next in line for inheriting your shit find out if your now left-to-fend-for-themself spouse was a rescue mission! They’ll make inquiries as to whether or not an unsavory agreement called a “prenup” was drafted.

And yes, health plays into this. Mutual bank accounts sometimes drive motive for all sorts of crimes. Hey, accidents happen. Look at all that leftover loot that now only has one name attached!

On the flip side of things, mutual bank accounts can also be drained quickly in the case of an unforeseen illness, accident, or other medical emergency. Even in a day and age where insurance is more accessible to the American public than ever, trips to the doctor are fucking expensive. Bill collectors are going to be paid. There is no hiding spousal money from well-trained gold retrievers.

None of these arbitrary symbols have anything to do with your love of another unique individual, right? Your souls are complementary. Bliss is free for the taking, and hand in hand you will forever run through flowers. Even hard times won’t be able to tarnish the googlyness bonding your shared gazes. That sounds wonderful (as I desperately try not to vomit).

Then why do you need the government to sanctify your bond? Theists cite religious texts, frequently doctored by older governments and updated ceremoniously as laws change, as their reason for going through the all-important ritual of signing a document proving their love for one another. No omniscient God I’m aware of requires a signature for you to be saved, but go ahead and dot the i’s, cross the t’s, and pay your fees to forge ahead in blessed sanctity.

For crying out loud, people act surprised when they hear about marriages that have lasted longer than seven years! Friendship traditions, trips together, and yearly parties are frequently more looked forward to than anniversaries. Cats and mice can tell anyone who asks: the chase is less messy than the aftermath.

But, everyone’s gotta eat. In this metaphor, let’s shift back toward humans. Some folks are lucky enough to gain permanent residence with a living chef. Their relationship is mutually beneficial, for whatever reasons mutually beneficial relationships exist. When the time comes that half of the duo is forced to quit, the other half is left reeling, regardless of the objects they are told are rightfully theirs. It is sad. It is tragic. It is beautiful.

It is not better than the ways other people deal with love in their lives.

This was not a rant against matrimonial bliss by a jealous man. I know several people, including my own parents, who say their marriage is the best thing in their lives. Congratulations to anyone who feels that way about theirs. This was a third-party examination and explanation, if you will, for those who would rather not be shackled to a system that is not for them.


Travis Laurence Naught

Travis Laurence Naught is an author who happens to be a quadriplegic wheelchair user. Individual poems, stories, and various other material by Travis have been published online (Section 8 Magazine, Empty Sink Publishing, Damfino Press, and others) and in print (Gold Man Review, Lost Coast Review, Empirical Magazine, and more). His first book of poetry, The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012), is currently out of print, but copies can still be found. Check out for more information and original writing by Travis.

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