Thursday, October 16, 2014

Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Altar

I got pregnant and the destination wedding we were planning was given a solid no by my doctors.  But something else happened too.

Gay marriage was legalized in Michigan for a very short amount of time. Why would that impact my straight nuptials?  Easy. I watched two friends who'd spent 14 years in a committed, loving relationship get married.  They didn't spend a year planning,  there was no bridezilla moment, and they didn't spend 20k on a party. They grabbed some nice outfits they had in their closet and stood in line with hundreds of other couples at the court house. Afterwards,  they headed to a restaurant with close friends and family to celebrate. It was beautiful and honest and not about little girl dreams of weddings.  It was about them and their love and their ability to legally say, "my wife." It was the most meaningful and memorable wedding I've ever seen. Now after all the hoopla, they are still so happy to call each other wife.

It hit me; the wedding planning,  the crazy expensive dress all of that stuff? Not really about being married.  Usually it's about the bride or groom and their own fantasy of being the center of attention.  And that's kind of the opposite of what it means to be married.  Plus, I've know many brides who feel completely let down after the wedding.  Even depressed. I mean they spend so much time planning for. One. Day. Then it's over. There's nothing else. It's over. Big day and 20k gone. Like a little kid on Christmas after the gifts have been opened. Especially if they lived together first. Nothing changes and that big thing you were anticipating is gone. Over. Done.  Then it's back to work and cooking and cleaning and all the same old mundane things that were there before. The let down? I'm convinced it has to do with the long absurd build up beforehand.  It has nothing to do with love or commitment.  It has everything to do with what we're told all growing up is the thing we really want. Your husband or wife should be that thing...not the wedding. And I saw that with my gay friends.  It was so special because it was absolutely about the love they always had and were not able to express legally.

My opinion was further solidified by a recent study that indicates the more expensive the wedding the less likely the couple us to stay married.  The why that is wasn't studied. But a wedding that cost 20k was 3 times as likely to end in divorce than a wedding that cost less. I suspect it's because those people were less concerned about being married than they were about having a great party and impressing other people. The old football touchdown dance after the ceremony always baffled me. Why the raised arms and showing off? Obviously because you have an audience.  And that seems to be what  most weddings are about: the audience.

So now...even though our destination wedding was tiny compared to many of these over the top affairs,  I'm not sure. When I marry Chris it will be about me and him. Do I even want an audience?  Or would it be better to make a commitment to each other in private?  The most beautiful wedding of famous people I ever saw photos of was JFK Jr. and Caroline Bissette. Tiny, private in a tiny candle lit church. They could have had over the top easier than the average person. But they opted to make it about them and it was breath taking. The most idiotic wedding?  Any egotistical celebrity. Kardashian? For less than a year? Ick.

I'm still considering what I want to do. We've toyed with a few ideas. I'm not worried either way. The relationship between us is most important and even during the first few weeks of having a baby it remained strong. I braced myself for more stress and more division.  But instead, his ability to be a good Father just solidified and intensified my feelings for him. There's just something about a man who can be the type of Father Chris is. 

So who knows. There's a good chance I'll say my vows on a mountain top in a tiny chapel and nobody will know until we get back. Me, him and our favorite song...sounds like the most beautiful,  romantic way to exchange vows ever.