To honor “traditional” marriage, I tried to sell my wife on Craigslist.

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on September 7, 2012 0 Comments

In honor of traditional marriage, I am putting my wife up for sale.

Let me explain: in the upcoming election, Minnesota voters will be deciding whether to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. A ‘yes’ vote will permanently ban same-sex marriages, enshrining that position in the Minnesota Constitution. A ‘no’ vote would ensure marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Many of the proponents of the amendment have argued that a ‘yes’ vote will help defend “traditional marriage.”

Well, I’ve done my homework, and I have to admit, they have been very convincing. I had no idea how many types of traditional marriage there were. I assume that since one type of traditional marriage is allowed, the others are too. That’s great news!

To be honest, when I learned about traditional marriage, I felt duped!

In my current marriage, all my wife does is work a full-time job, love our little infant (and me) unconditionally in a committed relationship, and act as my closest confidante and best friend. Clearly, THAT IS NOT TRADITIONAL ENOUGH. When I got married to my wife back in <del>2008</del> 2010 (doh!), I hadn’t even considered my other marriage options!

As I now know, for most of history, wives were chattel, a form of property. This was even codified in the Ten Commandments in the Bible, a book the defenders of traditional marriage refer to often.

The tenth commandment makes this clear:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house [his property] thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife [property], nor his manservant, nor his maidservant [slaves, equivalent to property], nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s. [property, biological property/donkey, all other property]

*[Annotations obviously mine.]

This couldn’t be clearer.  Your neighbor’s wife is clearly viewed as property, as they are lumped in with all their other stuff (their house, their slaves, their cat., etc.)

This wife-as-property idea wasn’t an exception, either. It was the rule! (More than that, a commandment!) The moral of that story is clear: You shouldn’t covet your neighbor’s wife because she is not your possession.

So now that I know my wife is my possession, I imagine putting her up for sale is no problem. So while I wait for offers to pour in (I imagine there will be a robust market for her), now I can to get to the fun part: Considering the other traditional marriages.

There are so many options. I mean, do I want to have one stable wife-relationship but with boatloads of concubines? Do I want to go all Henry the Eighth (minus the obesity and executions) and trade my old wife in every twenty-five minutes? Do I want to be a polygamist? (No, too much work.)

Obviously, the concubine option is alluring. Multiple partners without all the gravitas of the “until death do us part” nonsense. I can just see it now: a new partner every few months, no guilt, it will be like college all over again!

And this idea has such a history. I mean, it was practiced by the likes of Abraham and Solomon. Abraham—that guy was the patriarch of the big three monotheistic religions! Judaism, Christianity and Islam all look up to him! So if he did it, why can’t I?

And don’t get me started on Solomon. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. And while that didn’t turn great for him (moral of the story: You should never have 1000 women simultaneously in your life), it was more a matter of degree, and not a problem with concubinage generally. (Also: Concubine is a funny word. It sounds like some sort of hat. Or a seashell. Concubinage sounds like a disease.)

So now that I’m considering acquiring concubines, I don’t know to start. Is there some sort of concubine store? I guess I could go down to an adult store like Sex World, but the last time I was there (in high school), I don’t recall see any women for sale.  Instead there were just a lot of DVDs and all sorts of battery-powered equipment and what appeared to be miniature jackhammers. It looked like a creepy hardware store.

Hmm. I just searched online, and didn’t find any concubines for sale. Is concubinary a hush-hush sort of thing? Given popular culture, it doesn’t seem like it. (Jersey Shore is about concubines, right?)

Anyway, maybe I need to establish an advertisement seeking a concubine, too. That’s what the “casual encounters” section is for on Craigslist, yes?

Wait, after re-reading through all this, now I’m confused. If traditional marriage varies so much—and clearly it has—then what’s the difference between a man marrying have a dozen women, or marrying one and sleeping with a bunch on the side, and a pair of men in a committed relationship getting married or a woman and another woman tying the knot.

In the end, the biblically sanctioned notions of traditional marriage seem a lot wackier—and more socially pernicious—than what I would call real traditional marriage: two people, irrespective of their gender, committing to each other for life.

That’s why I’m voting no on the Marriage Amendment in Minnesota (and similar bills elsewhere) and encourage you to do the same.

Oh, and one quick note to my wife: I love you, honey. Sorry for putting you on sale on Craigslist.

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