Inspiration – Marriage
I’m a married woman, and have been so for over two decades. It was natural, to me, for my marriage to creep into my writing a bit.
Oh, the marriage proposal! It’s an occasion for romance and solemnity, but sometimes some silliness as well. In A Kind of Blue, Lili‘s unexpected pregnancy means that Doug drops to one knee when he drops the testing stick – and then he pops the question. In Truth, Bron works hard to convince Sophra’s parents that he will provide for her and love her, and that he won’t physically hurt her, seeing as he’s a Gorn and she’s a Cardassian.
He conducts a Jewish wedding for Karin Bernstein and Josh Rosen, and for Shelby Pike (she’s a convert to Judaism) and Andrew Miller, during both kick backs, and conducts a Muslim ceremony for Azar Hamidi and Maryam Haroun both times as well.
Because Chandrasekar Khan is Hindu and Hoshi Sato is a lapsed Buddhist, he may have conducted some sort of combined ceremony for them as well, but neither version is shown. He also conducts a Vulcan ceremony for Tripp and T’Pol, but that is only shown for the first kick back in time and not the second.
Cultural traditions or at least something from the Bible (often the Old Testament, and that’s only because I’m more familiar with it) are also inserted into a lot of these ceremonies. For Karin and Josh, for example, it’s the story of Ruth.
In A Kind of Blue, Lili and Doug marry in the more or less traditional Calafan style. This includes not only the two of them standing up and saying vows, but they are accompanied by required attendants. Treve and Miva aren’t exactly Best Man and Maid of Honor. Rather, they are meant to symbolize the openness of those marriages.
In Together, when they decide to open up their marriage to Malcolm and Melissa (and, by extension, Leonora), they copy the Calafan style of doing things. That is, there is a primary daytime male-female twosome union, and a pair of nighttime lovers – one for him, one for her. This arrangement, and the traditional Calafan way of doing things, are both possible because of the psionic properties of the entire Lafa System. With shared dreaming that can often become steamy, married couples can have a second relationship and almost “cheat” but with far fewer consequences. For the Calafans, the cheating aspect was eliminated by keeping the Mirror Universe Calafans on their own side of the proverbial pond. But when the Mirror teenaged High Priestess Yimar decides to throw open the door permanently (it was opened a crack in order to let Doug through to the Prime Universe), things get a bit stickier. The Calafan people initially adapt because interbreeding is impossible between Mirror and Prime Universe Calafans (although it’s possible between Mirror and Prime Universe humans). However, by the time of Richard and Eleanor Daniels‘s births, interbreeding is possible (they are both part-human from both universes, part-Vulcan, and part-Calafan from both universes). I have not yet explored how the Calafan people handled this final barrier being brought down between the two universes.
For Daranaeans, marriage is a commercial affair, as wives from three separate castes are purchased by their husbands. Divorce does not exist; wives are merely sold to others if they are found wanting. Or third caste females are given over for medical experimentation.
Seppa’s life changes when she is sold to Brantus to be his third caste wife. But they love each other, and are a good match, as he is with his two other wives, Anatha and Raelia, in Flight of the Bluebird.
Seppa’s mother, Inta, dies as a result of domestic abuse, and the secondary wife, Mistra, is very nearly convicted of the murder of her unborn male fetus, in Take Back the Night. It is the Prime Wife, Dratha, who helps to get Mistra exonerated.
And in The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, the secondary wife, Libba, and the third caste wife, Cama, are not treated well at all by the Prime Wife, Thessa. The triangular dynamic works in her favor but against the two of them.
There are any number of between the sheets moments for married couples that are covered in many of the stories, particularly in Together and Fortune. In You Make Me Want to Scream, Keiko Ishikawa O’Brien reveals that things with Miles are very, very good. Married people having a good time are also all over the E2 stories, including two instances of characters (one male, one female) losing their virginity.
There’s more to marriage than weddings and sex. There are homes and families to be dealt with. In Pacing and The Gift, Doug works on making a home for Lili. That home is being added to in Temper. In Fortune, Malcolm realizes he needs to do something similar. However, because he’s less mechanically inclined and isn’t around as much, he doesn’t help build the home, whereas Doug helps build his own house, as is revealed in Together.
Children aren’t a part of every single marriage, but when they are, they are of course a huge part of any couple’s (or group’s) life. Tumult covers some of the ways that children can change the dynamic. And older children, as in An Announcement, can change it again.
Later Years, to Death and Beyond
Marriages with longevity mean that people experience each other’s inevitable declines. In A Single Step, Zefram Cochrane and Lily Sloan Cochrane quite literally depart at death, as do Doug, Lili and Malcolm in Fortune. In Candy, Kevin O’Connor is the main caregiver for Josie (Jhasi), his critically ill wife. To honor their marriage, he takes her to renew their wedding vows. Jonathan and Miva are shown in later years in A Hazy Shade.
The E2 stories contain a few calls for divorce, and one during the first kick back in time is conducted by the Captain, between Mara Brodsky and Robert Slater. The cause is adultery – hers – as there is a child who clearly is not Robert’s, and turns out to be the son of Star Trek: Enterprise canon character Walter Woods, who she later marries. In the second kick back in time, this is avoided when Mara and Walter marry and Robert, instead, marries Ingrid Nyqvist. In Together, Lili and Doug fight bitterly and consider divorce, but ultimately decide against it, particularly to protect not only their love but also their son, Joss.
People don’t just ride off into the sunset. And I prefer it that way. They have lives and arguments and privacy violations and sicknesses and sorrows. But they also have kindness, sexiness, togetherness and some pretty profound joys. It doesn’t have to be in the context of marriage, and sometimes it isn’t. But for the characters who do get married, I hope I’ve done their unions some justice.