It seems like people start joking about who their kids might marry even before they are born. They buy cute onesies that say "future princess" and "lady killer," call their kids "heartbreakers," and joke about their kid marrying their BFF's kid like it's no big deal. I think it is a big deal, though. In fact, I flat out refuse to joke about my kid "marrying" another kid. It's gross, objectifying, and not OK with me.
That's not to say I'm not somewhat understanding. I think most of us hope that we will at least like the person our child eventually marries (if they decide to get married at all). In fact, I have to admit that it's lovely to dream about my child growing up and marrying my BFF's child. But, here's the thing: I don't get a say in my child's future romantic relationships. My child can marry whomever they want, or not get married at all, and I don't get to say anything about it. Not a damn thing.
It's also kind of weird and objectifying to think we can arrange our child's marriage to their future spouse when they are, in fact, still a child. It's so presumptive, and generally heteronormative. I don't own my kids, and I don't get to decide who they eventually date, have sex with, or marry. My daughters are not future princesses, and my sons are not future princes (no matter how fun and cool that would be), and neither me nor my husband owns them and gets to threaten their prom dates or decide who they spend their lives with. Besides, they're children. We have got to stop sexualizing kids, my friends. It's gross.
And in the end, I trust my children to choose their own partners. I don't want to be the kind of mom or mother-in-law who gets involved in my kids' relationships. Instead, I hope that my kids learn to form healthy, happy relationships with whomever they choose, and come to me if and when they actually want advice about their relationships. Until then, though, and especially after they are grown-ass adults, I am not butting in, and I am definitely not going to joke about my kids marrying other kids.
Because It's Gross
I actually get more than a little bit grossed out when people talk about kids like they are little adults. I mean, they are children. They don't have boyfriends or girlfriends, they don't go on dates, and they certainly don't get married. It's a weird thing to joke about, to be honest. Weird, and gross.
Because It's Heteronormative
Why is it that when people talk about who their kids will eventually marry, it's always a member of the opposite sex? The answer is pretty simple —heteronormativity. Unfortunately, our kids learn from a very early age that they are "supposed" to be straight and that they will, of course, marry someone of the opposite sex. I actually don't assume that my kids are straight. Hell, I'm not straight, so why would I expect my kids to be?
Because It's Objectifying
Whenever I hear people joke innocently about their kid marrying their friend's kid (or Princes George or Prince Louis or Princess Charlotte for that matter), it feels so objectifying. Like, I don't get to decide who my children marry, or if they even decide to get married at all. The same goes for fathers setting "rules for dating their daughters," or implying that they will be on the front porch cleaning their gun when their suitor picks them up for prom. It's so objectifying.
Because My Kids Might Not Get Married
It's actually kind of presumptive to assume that my kids will get married eventually. They may or may not, and I'm OK either way. I am actually not presuming that they should get married eventually, either. Who knows. They are kids.
Because I Don't Own My Kids
I don't own my kids. I don't get to control who they are, who they become, or who they want to marry. Hell, I don't want to. After all, my children are people, not my possessions. They will hopefully, eventually, develop the skills they need to form strong, healthy relationships with future partners of their choosing. I will teach them what I know, but after that it's up to them.
Because It Sexualizes Children
My kids are kids. They aren't old enough to be in relationships, especially adult relationships, like marriage, that include sex. So yeah, I actually think it's pretty inappropriate to joke about them marrying their preschool friends, and more than a little bit sexualizing.
Because Marriage Is Archaic
I've been married twice, and I am still not sure I entirely support the institution of marriage. To me, it seems like an archaic institution, half-based on religious values and half-based on tax benefits. I am not entirely sure it's really necessary for a couple to establish a relationship or a family, to be honest.
Because Child Marriage Is No Joke
Child marriage may seem cute, but it's actually not a joke. As reported by Watchdog.org, there's only one state in the U.S. — Delaware — where child marriage is flat-out illegal. In all other states, parents can consent for their kids to be married. Let that sink in. It's 2018, and parents can force their kids to marry someone in the United States of America. According to the same site, in 25 states there's no legal minimum age to marry. So if you think joking about kids getting married is somehow funny, well, I'm not laughing.