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Marriage for the Sake of It

Charlotte and Trey are what happens when you pursue "marriage" in the abstract.

From day one on Sex & the City, Charlotte was dating for marriage. While Samantha had zero interest in commitment and Carrie and Miranda had varying degrees of ambivalence, Charlotte was focused on a husband. There was even an episode in which she approached it like a work project, with schedules and follow up calls.

She was even clear on who this husband was to be. Conventionally handsome, of the same social class and financial standing as her, traditionally masculine. Trey was all those things. Wealthy doctor, looked like Kyle Maclachlan, an all round Prince Charming.

Except, even outwith their bedroom issues, he was never a true partner to her. He wasn't emotionally intimate with her, refusing to talk about their problems and even letting his mum negotiate the pre nup. He prioritised his mum's opinions over Charlotte and even hid his, err, bathroom activities whilst telling her he just wasn't that sexual.

Charlotte stuck it out long after it was clear he wasn't interested in changing for her sake, because he was "her husband."

Prioritising "being married" in the abstract has always been mystifying to me.

I remember being at a family function when I was around six or seven. Some older relative commented that I'd make a 'bonny bride one day.' I was baffled. What? Why? Who am I marrying?

Don't get me wrong. It's not a priority for me, but I can wrap my head around the idea of wanting to marry a particular person. I can grasp feeling as though this relationship is more than the others and therefore should be made official. I just feel as though deciding you want a husband then going out and finding someone who fits the bill the wrong way round.

We get it the right way round when it comes to friendship.

We don't announce we want a best friend who tells brilliant stories, loves cocktails and will never judge when we bang on about that awful guy at least a month too long. We might say we want to meet new friends, but then we just go out and meet who we meet. If we click with someone enough to become close friends then that's a fabulous bonus.

Shouldn't dating be the same?

This is why you'll never find any of my female characters (or male for that matter) lamenting that they're not married "yet." Occasionally, they'll find themselves in a relationship that feels like it should be marked with a big dress and a party. But as far as I’m concerned, the only reason anyone isn’t married is because they haven’t met anyone they wanted to be married to, and there’s not much of a story in that!


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