One of the things I’ve learning from multi-player gaming is just how hard it is to create a stable system that’s balanced for everyone involved. The rule makers can make a change for good and unintended consequences can sneak in as millions of cunning players can seek the loop holes and exploits. Today the Warriors stride the battlefield as unstoppable killing machines, tomorrow the game is patched and melee gets a damage mitigation effect reduced and the Warriors aren’t quite so spectacular. But Mages get a global cooldown removed on a minor spell. Two weeks later good Warriors are a free kill to bad Mages. Tweak this, adjust that. It’s a never ending battle of balance. Working as intended apparently.
We do the same thing to marriage law.
Once upon a time the rules were pretty clear. You got caught nailing someones little girl, you got a free tuxedo and a ride to church. That was the rule. Sex was meant to happen in marriage, a marriage license was a license to have sex with someone. A license means “being allowed to do something”. Thus sexuality was channeled into marriage. The very words “husband” and “wife” were loaded with sexual subtext. My own mother said vows of “to love, honor and obey” to my father back in 1964. No seriously, the vows used to include obey in them. In BDSM terminology that’s signing up for a 24/7 power exchange D/s relationship. That’s extremely kinky by even today’s standards. People who have the first name of “Mistress” and wear nothing but leather and latex would at least suggest a safeword for something like that. Plus the dungeon is just one room in the basement, not the whole house.
I mean that sort of thing is really really out there.
But the game got patched by the powers that be… and any adult can have sex with immunity with any other adult. As a result, a marriage license isn’t a license to have sex anymore, it’s simply one lifestyle category among many as far as the law is concerned. Sex is no longer channeled into marriage, it flows out everywhere like a tsunami wrecking everything in its path and leaving behind ruined earth that won’t grow anything of value for a generation.
I think one of the sad things about the state of modern marriage is that the very words “husband” and “wife” have been stripped of eroticism. Marriage has been defrauded of sexuality.
When I first thought up the terms Captain and First Officer, I thought I was making a clever metaphor to explain things. But as the last two years have passed, more and more I’ve come to be impressed not so much with the metaphor, but how the terms have taken on a life of their own and become erotic. I think the moment of really talking with Jennifer about Captain and First Officer and asking her to come long for my ride… and having her say yes… was a more intimate and touching moment than asking her to marry me. Asking her to marry me was planned well in advance and I knew 100% she would say yes, it was fairly casual when I asked in the end.
But asking her to be First Officer… oy… and to expect her to publicly say that I was this and she is that… nerve-wracking. When I asked her, I didn’t know what would happen. When she said yes, I felt honored and awed by her trust. Maybe I’m just older and know better what I’m getting into, but asking a woman to be your First Officer seems a more profound request than asking her to be your wife. You’re asking for her to have a higher standard for herself and for her to have a higher trust… in you.
Run the experiment for yourself if you like. Try and tell someone publicly that you’re the Captain and she’s the First Officer and see how it gets a reaction well beyond that of saying husband and wife. Some people get mad and we just say “it’s not your marriage” and ignore them. But I’ve also seen women experience sudden enlightenment about their longing and talk engagingly about it. Others just struggle internally with an inner conflict of their surprised interest and confused self-doubt… omg I’m turned on, how could I like that? Why do I like that? Saying you’re the Captain of your marriage is a much stronger word than saying you’re someone’s husband.
Or put it this way, would you get on a cruise ship if you found out the guy running the bridge had an official title of “Husband?” And if you did get on board, would you have counted the lifeboats before you set sail?
Anyway, there’s not much question that marriage needs to be patched and rebalanced, and I’m not a huge fan of the prior patch either. But I don’t think it needs to be abandoned either. Besides… really good mods that gain a fanbase, have a funny way of making it into the full game. (wink)