Recently I have noticed a lot of memes and articles on my Facebook page about “finding the one”, “searching for your soulmate”, “how to get your man to wife-you-up” (when did “wife-up” become a verb???), etc. and it got me thinking about marriage. My past marriage, my parent’s marriage, friends’ marriages…basically, marriage in general.
In December my cousin Jamie got married. I was chatting with a family member about it and she said that Jamie didn’t want a wedding. Jamie and her then hubby-to-be, Kyle, just wanted to go to the local city hall and get married. No preacher; no big white dress; no flowers or cake or reception hall. Nothing but her, Kyle, and the judge.
However, when nagged by some friends and family members about the regrets she’d feel for not having a wedding, Jamie succumbed to the pressure and had an “actual” wedding…apparently to some people, a city hall wedding is a “fake” wedding. Whatever.
I remember talking with some of my family members and just being annoyed about the whole ordeal Jamie was now tasked with taking on.
“Marriage doesn’t begin with a wedding,” I said, “Marriage begins when you wake up, see your spouse sleeping sweetly next to you, and ponder to yourself, ‘how can I suffocate this SOB, get rid of the body, and still make it to work on time’. THAT’S when marriage begins.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am a hardcore romantic and love the idea of spending the rest of my life with someone I absolutely adore and can’t live without; tackling whatever challenges come our way; living our own version of The Notebook.
But I think too many people, both men and women, get snagged up on the notion that marriage begins with a wedding. And when reality hits, things go sideways, hearts get broken, expectations aren’t met, and divorce comes dancing in like the devil at a fireworks factory.
I know this because that was the case for me.
Looking back on my marriage, I wasn’t in love with my husband, I was in love with having a wedding and “getting married.” Once the flowers had died, the honeymoon ended, and we stuffed the wedding cake in the freezer to save for our first anniversary, life swooped in and opened a can of whoop-ass on us that we couldn’t recover from. What idiots we were…bless our own hearts.
I’m not saying that every marriage results in divorce- but a lot do. According to a February 2018 article in USA Today, approximately 40-50 percent of marriages in the US end in divorce. FORTY TO 50 PERCENT!!
Interestingly, Oklahoma has the highest divorce rate in the US according to the article (sorry Blake Shelton. You and Gwen might want to relocate if you decide to tie the knot. Just sayin’).
A guy friend of mine made an interesting comment about marriage a while back. He flat-out-matter-of fact-ly said that marriage isn’t for men, it’s for women.
According to SR and his male friends, they chose to get married because that is what their now-wives wanted. However, marriage or no marriage, they would still be in a committed relationship with their partner to this very day and can’t imagine life without them. While they don’t ever regret getting married, the guys felt that the women in their lives needed a wedding to feel that the commitment/relationship was “real”.
Which brings up what I think is another misconception about marriage-you can’t have a committed relationship without marriage.
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are the prime example that marriage does not need to be in the mix for a successful committed relationship.
In a September 2016 article written by Olivia Blair in Independent, an online news magazine, Hawn talks about her and Russell’s more than 30-year marriage-less, yet very much committed, relationship.
“I would have been long divorced if I’d been married,” Hawn said. “Marriage is an interesting, psychological thing. If you need to feel bound to someone then it’s important to be married. If you have independence, if you have enough money and enough sense of independence and you like your independence there’s something psychological about not being married because it gives you the freedom to make decisions one way or the other.”
“So, for me, I chose to stay, Kurt chose to stay,” she said.
Hawn’s quote really hits home for me. Age, past relationships, life, etc. helped me realize that I’m not wired for marriage. I am a much better partner when I am an independent person in a committed relationship. I love my individuality and I don’t want to lose that. I do hope one day to meet my soulmate, life partner, boo, or whatever he wants to be called. But I don’t need a ring to feel that our relationship is real or lasting.
Does that mean I am not a loyal partner, ride or die girl, till death do us part? Nope, I am all that and more.
Does that mean that I’m against marriage and anyone who gets married? No, not at all. We all must do what works best in our lives and makes us happy- and that includes marriage for those folks that desire it.
And I must admit, I am obsessed with big, sparkly, ballgown dresses and wedding cakes, so marry on people!!
Thanks for reading,