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 â€˜yesâ€™ vote will permanently ban same-sex marriages, enshrining that position in the Minnesota Constitution. A â€˜noâ€™ vote would ensure marriage equality for gays and lesbians.
Many of the proponents of the amendment have argued that a â€˜yesâ€™ vote will help defend â€œtraditional marriage.â€
Well, Iâ€™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. Thatâ€™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 hadnâ€™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 neighborâ€™s house [his property] thou shalt not covet thy neighborâ€™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 neighborâ€™s. [property, biological property/donkey, all other property]
*[Annotations obviously mine.]
This couldnâ€™t be clearer. Â Your neighborâ€™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 wasnâ€™t an exception, either. It was the rule! (More than that, a commandment!) The moral of that story is clear: You shouldnâ€™t covet your neighborâ€™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 â€œuntil death do us partâ€ 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. Abrahamâ€”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 canâ€™t I?
And donâ€™t get me started on Solomon. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. And while that didnâ€™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 Iâ€™m considering acquiring concubines, I donâ€™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 donâ€™t recall see any women for sale.Â 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 didnâ€™t find any concubines for sale. Is concubinary a hush-hush sort of thing? Given popular culture, it doesnâ€™t seem like it. (Jersey Shore is about concubines, right?)
Anyway, maybe I need to establish an advertisement seeking a concubine, too. Thatâ€™s what the â€œcasual encountersâ€ section is for on Craigslist, yes?
Wait, after re-reading through all this, now Iâ€™m confused. If traditional marriage varies so muchâ€”and clearly it hasâ€”then whatâ€™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 wackierâ€”and more socially perniciousâ€”than what I would call real traditional marriage: two people, irrespective of their gender, committing to each other for life.
Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™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.