I was in the car with Josh the other day and I brought up something related to weddings. I was met with the usual relatively uninterested response. Frustrated, I asked him why he never showed any interest in marrying me. “That’s not it at all,” he said. “I already know that I’m going to marry you, I promise. I just don’t see any reason to rush.” Finally satisfied with a verbal promise that he would, in fact, marry my needy ass, I let it go. But laying in bed that night, I kept thinking, “Why do I care so much?”
I have flip-flopped on the idea of marriage for as long as it’s been an even remote possibility for me. Sometimes it’s the ultimate dream and sometimes it’s the impossible commitment prison that inevitably leads to infidelity and lifelong resentment. Truly depends on the day. But why have I been so enamored with the idea of an institution that doesn’t even have a clear origin or purpose? I have no cows to be inherited. There is no pure bloodline to uphold. Even the social pressure to marry for the purpose of reproduction is out the window. So why do I care at all about a piece of paper that legally binds me to another human being?
I’m certain that this is how divorce works.
Think of every Disney princess movie you’ve ever seen. What’s the ultimate goal again? Defeat the obstacles and marry the prince. Was that not stressed as the dream? What about when you were a teenager? Wasn’t the underlying message of countless girly magazines, tween novels, and TV shows to meet and marry the Man of Your Dreams™ ? Hell, most of my favorite songs are about getting married (I was convinced that I wanted a flash mob proposal to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” for a solid portion of my life). And for once this is not me commenting on how this is society’s fault for pushing a marriage agenda. I find this all to be totally natural. At least, pushing the idea of courtship and, eventually, reproduction. Biologically speaking, THAT is the one and only ultimate goal and it’s hardwired into the existence of every living thing. So I can’t be too frustrated with the fact that marriage is advertised somewhat as measure of success. It has justified procreation in many religions for hundreds of years.
But weddings themselves often become the dream, not the marriage. The beautiful dress, the lavish gifts, and all of the attention on just you two. It’s an appealing picture for anyone, especially women who have grown up like me, imagining that this is the dream that will lead to happily ever after. The marriage itself, however, can often fall to the wayside when reality sets in. My mom has always told me that marriage is totally different than being in a relationship. And to some degree, I do believe that. But it isn’t like being in love with a totally new person in a totally new life. You’re not Cinderella- the fairy tale party does, in fact, end when you take off the dress.
“Til death or something mildly inconvenient do us part.”
I tested it and I told myself to think about my relationship with Josh as if we were never going to get married. Did that change my feelings about us? Not at all. And that’s when I realized that I needed to stop treating marriage like an end goal. Something that’s going to make life sunshine and rainbows forever. I’ve seen relationships fall apart quickly after a marriage simply because it was not the magic “fix-all” solution that it was cracked up to be. A piece of paper and a fancy ceremony will not fix the problems of your relationship. You can’t just put a rug over the floor when you know that there are cracks in the foundation.
Does the idea of a big party celebrating our love sound great? Totally. Am I into the idea of putting that handsome guy on lock forever? Absolutely. Am I concerned about planning that any time soon? Not so much. Right now, I’ve got things to write, games to finish, and a man to love unconditionally, with or without the license.