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I’m Against Marriage, So Why Do I Keep Helping My Friends Get Married?

How have I participated in so many weddings? Let me count the ways: I’ve written and recited a six-word story about love. I’ve signed a ketubah (Jewish wedding contract) and will do so again soon. I’ve held the chuppah (the Jewish ritual wedding canopy).

It’s strange, because I have made my opinions and politics clear when it comes to marriage: I would not choose it for myself, and I don’t support it as a concept. I don’t think health insurance or other benefits should be tied to one kind of relationship. I don’t think any one kind of relationship — the romantic/sexual kind or another — should be a life goal. I don’t think entering into any one particular relationship is an indication of adulthood or maturity.

The friends who have asked me to sign their marriage contracts are aware of my feelings. When the first friends, who married each other, asked if I would do it, I said something like, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” they each said. “You’re critical, and we need that critical analysis in our relationship.” And so I did it, and there’s my signature, in English and my very careful Hebrew, on the contract they created together to guide their married lives.

It did occur to me, however, that by signing, I might be, in some way, tainting their contract. Shouldn’t the people who sign such a contract support the idea of marriage? Shouldn’t they see it the way we’ve been socialized to see it, as holy and innately right, something we should all be aiming for? Were my friends making too much of a compromise?

And what about me, maybe I was doing the same. It can be hard to hold onto the things we believe when the world around us doesn’t necessarily hold them as well. We might respond to being challenged by doubling down, by striving for purity, by saying no to the person who asked you to sign the ketubah.

The fact is, it’s impossible to live a life without compromise. I can bend, hold onto myself and not break. I never considered saying no to my friends. When someone you love asks you to do something they consider important, you say yes.

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