I just finished reading I Don't, which I guess was supposed to be about the history of marriage, but would have probably been more appropriately titled, A History of Why Women Suck. Maybe they went with that title originally and it didn't test well in the markets? There were a few interesting points made - especially the one where women are supposedly these insatiable witchy creatures who have almost limitless power to fuck over (literally and figuratively) the patriarchy, but for the better part of history are treated as lesser citizens. It's like putting an atomic bomb in a stuffed animal. Like...be gentle with women because they're all soft and stuff. But also watch your back, because internally they have the ability for complete destruction. That's sort of a neat juxtaposition.
Ultimately, though, the book's sort of disappointing and not really about marriage at all. If you're really looking for a well-written cultural history of marriage, What is Marriage For? is decent.
Here's another one of those seemingly incongruous moments where I don't really believe in marriage, but am a married person. It's sort of similar to the way I view the whole love thing. It's an institution. It exists, and some people take it to extremes to try and make it somehow justify or validate things that don't need justification or validation. One of my least favorites is the idea that marriage somehow "guarantees" things. Followed closely by the "supposed to" argument. One of my better friends said this when she got married - she didn't want her relationship to break up, so the apparent opposite choice to that was to get married. Like somebody was holding a gun to her head at their 1-year anniversary and saying, "you either have to break up or get married. Because just being happy together is for shit." Mostly, like everything in life, it just makes me think of Tommy Boy. "If you want me to take a shit in a box and mark it 'guaranteed' I will. I've got spare time." That's the impetus behind the whole thing. Marriage doesn't guarantee anything, or make anything better or more valid.