He’s Not Dead . . . He’s Married.

Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity. Author Unknown

For some inexplicable reason Hugh Hefner’s name (of Playboy fame) came up in a recent group conversation and someone wondered if he was still living and I laughing suggested, “He’s not dead, he’s married.” Many yucks followed.

Hefner, 86, married 26-year-old Crystal Harris, a former Playmate. This was Hefner’s third marriage and her first. They were married last December. These sorts of “arrangements” are a bit baffling to me. Hefner obviously does not need to “get” married to have sex with Playboy centerfolds. He’s had multiple long-term relationships (relatively speaking) with “Bunnies” he’s featured in Playboy. One can hardly fault him for that. The question arises as to the motivation for the young Ms. Harris. Two reasons come to mind. She’s not particularly bright. Or, it’s that sexy bulge in Hefner’s . . . um. . . back pocket.

I’m inclined to think it’s a combination of both. She may not be the brightest bulb in the pack (although she certainly does light-up the page), but she is brilliant enough to grab the “golden” ring. A marital pre-nup was probably Hefner’s dowry (ah, the price one pays for youth), so regardless of the outcome of this, uh, union, Ms. Harris will be well compensated. As well she should be. This marriage was a transaction. As are all marriages.

One of the funniest things I regularly witness on Park Avenue is the gray-haired lad (in his 50s or early 60s) with a young, snot-nosed child in tow, walking slightly behind his pram-pushing “trophy wife.” She’s maybe 33 and is invariably yacking away on a cell phone. The child in the stroller is crying and our “lad” has the deer-in-the-headlights look of “My gawd, what have I done?” Cruelly, I inwardly laugh.

Marriage is a human construct. It’s not a gift from god, unless, of course, your god has a wicked sense of humor.

My 42-year-old, once married daughter thinks marriage 50 years from now will be a dramatically different institution. That, yes, marriages will occur; folks will legally “hook-up” to have children but expecting two people to be contracted to one another “for life” is untenable and presumptuous. You never really know the person you are marrying and people inevitably change. My daughter speculates that in fifty years, folks will be married (or attached) a number of times, reflecting how we change as we mature, just as our expectations (needs & wants) revise as we grow as individuals.

My sister (Saint Sandra of Socorro) has often remarked that marriage is the most difficult “thing” we humans do. It begs the question, why is that? Mythologist Joseph Campbell talked at length about the Golden marriage and what it takes to achieve its rewards. Campbell advocates the surrender of self to marriage. Talk about a difficult concept. Biblical scholar Jerry McCant observed that, “You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself. Successful marriage demands a certain death to self.”

Euphemistically speaking, the death of “ones” offers the possibility of a life for two. Sublimating one’s ego poses the question, to what end? That is a conundrum all of us—at one time or another—confront.

Robert Anderson, author of Solitaire & Double Solitaire said, “In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.”

Many tire of the game.