Getting Married Is Better Than Dying, Right?

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Brian Rea

“Should we just get married?” Chris asked.

“O.K.,” I said, then passed out from exhaustion.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me; my body felt like it was shutting down. I needed to go to the hospital, but as a struggling actor who took on part-time jobs to pay the bills, I had no health insurance.

Chris and I had been happy together for three years living in our separate New York City apartments. Neither of us was eager to get married. He was divorced and not ready to rush into anything. I wanted to be with someone I loved but thought of myself as way too progressive for such a conventional arrangement.

I was cynical about love, or perhaps cynical about what marriage could do to love. My childhood memories of my parents’ marriage haunted me. When I was 5, my mother married my stepfather four months after meeting him, not realizing how difficult it would be to merge our vastly different families.

Both of them had lost their first spouses to unexpected illnesses but had approached single-parenthood from opposite perspectives. Basically, she became strict and he became lax, which meant combining our families was like “Leave It to Beaver” meets “Shameless.”

Source: The New York Times