This Maxim is one that was of far more importance to the Ancient Greeks than it is perhaps in today’s world as many of us either do not wish to be married or for whatever reason cannot get married and so are living coupled but unmarried. Marriage is one of the most important social bonds however, and that is why this Maxim is still very relevant today. This Maxim is also one of the reasons that I, personally, support same-sex marriage – even though people who do not for various reasons would not agree with my interpretation.
This Maxim would seem to me to also be able to be translated as “To be married is sweet”, but that is a strictly personal interpretation and not based on any scholarly translation. And it is THIS interpretation that I base my stand on same-sex marriage upon. Marriage is the union of two people for many different reasons and not all of those reasons are what I personally consider to be “moral” reasons. Ideally, it should be a partnership between two like souls finding one another.
Plato speaks to this in a story about Mankind. In the story, humans originally had two heads, four arms and four legs. Some humans were solely male, some were solely female and some were both. These humans had no need for marriage as they were complete in themselves. It was the Gods who separated the proto-men into halves, and now people have the need for marriage – finding their “other half” and reuniting the whole person. This story does NOT differentiate between same-sex and opposite-sex unions because some of the proto-men were wholly of one sex or the other – and are looking for their other half just the same as opposite-sex couples are.
When a person who wishes to marry for the “moral” reason that they have found the one they feel is their other half, they should. And if they cannot marry in a civil ceremony, they should still commit to one another as that is the message of this Maxim.