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Happy marriages

Brooks Smith | Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Too many couples are locked into unhappy marriages these days. The divorce rate is higher than ever. The institution of marriage is foundering. What are we going to do?

Many reasons have been given for the unhappiness of modern marriages. Some people blame the sexualization of the media. Other people think that the stresses of modern life and the economy are what keep people from being happy together. But no matter what the reason is, one thing is certain: The marriages of today are far too unhappy. Something must be done.

We must promote happier marriages. We need a greater level of gaiety in our daily lives and our relationships with our spouses. What happened to the gay marriages of our parents and our parents’ parents?

The question of gay marriage is a contentious one in today’s society. Too many people believe that marriage does not need to be gay to be good. But the only good marriage is a gay marriage.

My own mother found unhappiness in her first marriage before gaily remarrying. Her current marriage is as gay as can be.

I have noticed that many of the relationships at Notre Dame are decidedly not gay. People stay together out of fear, or loneliness, or a need for regular physical contact. But being gay in one’s daily life is seen as a sign of stupidity or of immorality. If one is gay, the reasoning goes, one must be shirking one’s scholastic duties.

In fact, while I was writing my thesis, I had issues with my thesis advisor. He noticed how gay I was, and it made him suspicious that I was not working hard enough on my thesis. I told him I couldn’t help it — I was born this way. Unfortunately, he thought I was too gay to function.

Let me also deprecate the queer institution I call “straight” marriage. Too many people leap into a relationship and get married “straight” away, far too soon. They need to wait to discover if they can make each other gay and have a gay marriage. Straight marriages are practically immoral. I think that the blame for much of the high divorce rate can be blamed on straight marriages of the type I have described. Especially at Notre Dame, with its “Ring by Spring” tradition of students becoming engaged or married by senior year, straight marriages are more common than the national average.

With this in mind the continuing lack of gay student organizations on campus begins to look even more disgraceful. We need to teach people to be happy, or else how can they be happy in a marriage? Gaiety is one of the most overlooked emotions in life. Statistics show that despite the general level of prosperity and well-being in America, fewer than five percent of Americans are gay. This is utterly shameful.

One solution I propose is listening to music that inspires gaiety in its listeners. The disco stylings of the Bee Gees and Donna Summer, as well as the friendly pop music of Elton John, the Scissor Sisters and Liberace all have the potential to induce this mental state in listeners. Perhaps foremost I would cite the Village People, whose unabashed embrace of “Macho Men” and staying at the “Y.M.C.A.” exude pure joy. They may be the gayest pop group out there.

What makes you gay? Perhaps a shopping trip to add a new article of clothing to your wardrobe, or a workout that gets you nice and sweaty. Whatever it may be, find out and do it — with your partner if at all possible. If you’re feeling gay, don’t hide it — share it with other people. Being gay is infectious, after all.

The final important advantage of gay marriages is that they are civil unions — that is, there is not much nagging and backtalk in these relationships. Both partners are polite, friendly and loving towards one another.

It’s queer that happiness in marriage is so rare. Help solve this problem. Promote gay marriage.

Brooks Smith is a senior honors mathematics major and can be reached at bsmith26@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.