As a little girl I never dreamed of getting married. I didn’t look to marriage as an achievement in itself. It seemed a natural life event that happens to people when nothing else more exciting came up.
Not going on an expedition to the Arctic? Not pursuing a scientific breakthrough? Not part of the board of directors for a large corporation? Not interested in a life of alcoholic artistic pursuit?
Marriage will do. Marriage is something to do.
And those jokes about wives and husbands that you find on hallmark cards? Gross. The constant casual denigration of someone that you spend too much time with disguised as humour:
“He never listens!” / “She nags all the time”
What on earth entices people into such a woefully uninspired institution?
Why are people still venerating marriage as something true and genuine when it so often fails painfully short of love and inspiration?
Fast forward to 2020.
Here we are in one of the most inconvenient years to plan a wedding and get married. And I’m doing it.
In fact, I’m hanging onto the very idea of it and the date we chose for it for dear life.
Like it’s the only thing that matters, like nothing else counts, like if I let go of it I will be washed out to sea.
There are many experts on weddings out there. People say things like
“It’s your day, do what you want.”
And I wonder, is that what you really mean?
They also say
“It’s going to be the most special day”
And I wonder, gee that’s a lot of pressure to put one day.
Some people even say
“It’s going to be the BEST DAY EVER.”
And I think my heart might break under the crushing weight of their expectations laced with my aching desire to meet my own.
Why don’t you just change the date?
I don’t want to. It seems the single thing that remains of our initial plan. It is a concession I refuse to make.
Everything. Suddenly everything matters so much. Flowers, food, photos, videos, time, wine, make-up, hair. Earrings? Boots? Undies? What time? When will we arrive, leave, look at each other, talk about love?
Let me know if I can help, they say.
And I know that they mean it but I honestly don’t know how they can.
At first getting married was about love and then it became about a party and sharing and having friends together.
And now it is mainly about love again.
Somehow it makes perfect sense that we decided to get married in a most inconvenient year.
Our love has forged no linear path.
Our love meanders and overshoots and wanders and strays and disappears down rabbit holes for weeks… sometimes months but is never diminished.
Our love is not airtight. It does not exist in a controlled environment.
People say fill yourself up first before you love another. And I did and I try. But being full is no permanent state.
If you look closely you will find little openings, little pockets where sun will seep in and darkness will seep out. Sometimes it will be other way around.
Love can withstand the shifting light.
The puritanical absolutism of marriage is a big part of what always put me off. The righteous belief that signing paper makes a love more profound or more worthy.
That being wed makes one impervious to the pressures and pitfalls of life.
I realise now there are many ways to conduct a marriage.
I don’t expect marriage to be a union immune to transgression. I welcome the call to commitment with an open heart and open eyes.
I underestimated the weight of this engagement. Getting married this year represents to me, my greatest dedication to hope. It feels solid and true.
And to our dear friends, I hope this lends some explanation to why we’ve made the decisions we have. We love you.