I waited on a man who went on a voyage to India to better understand himself. After his travels he was at peace with the fact that he didn’t need to get married. To his surprise, when he came back his girlfriend proposed to him. (Perhaps he should have ran these reasons for this ‘voyage’ by her. He could have saved himself a lot of money.) He said,” yes,” but asked why it was important to her.
She said she wanted to profess their love in front of their friends and family, each other and God.
As for getting married for my family…
I do see an importance to this when it comes to the older people in my family who enjoy a good ol’ fashioned wedding. When Mike’s grandmother passed away, I felt badly about not giving her the chance to see her grandson get married. I also have several relatives who may not be able to travel because it’s just not safe for them to do so. If there’s any regret at this point for not getting married, it’s for not doing it in front of them.
As far as my immediate family; God love em, but it’s just not enough for me to “take the plunge” in order to appease the otherwise mystified, “hilarious”, or just plain blunt comments.(And clearly, there’s way too much analyzing going on in my head in order to think this would be reason enough.) Nonetheless, even though this is my choosing, it’s not like I’ve somehow become resilient to them.
In her book, Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert says getting married helps family members understand the importance of this person in your life and allows them to accept him as a new member.
Luckily, Mike hit it off with my dad from the beginning. They share nerdy history books and watch documentaries about war. Sometimes my dad tries to give him his clothes. It isn’t very easy to say “no” to my dad so Mike usually ends up saving them for theme parties. (Obvious picture to the left.)
When it comes to my family, these are the times I think being married could help:
When I told my parents we were moving in together.
Every year after that we’ve since continued to live together (four total).
When I see my oldest sister stare blankly at Mike after trying not to internalize his very “Larry David” comment. (To his defense, she has never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm. To her defense, sometimes you just need to know your audience.)
The first time I announce, “I’m pregnant.”
Any time after that (if) I continue to announce, “I’m pregnant.”
When my conservative parents still have my thirty-five-year-old, live-in boyfriend of seven years sleep in a different bed.
When we go home for events where my extended family and parents’ friends are there.
Basically, when we go home.
To me, getting married in front of each other holds the most weight. If it’s something that is important to Mike then it needs to be important to me. I understand that Mike eventually, wants to get married. I have a hard time with getting married because I think it can make people a little nutty, and I’m just not sure I’m impervious to the “nutty.” Therefore, not getting married for whatever crazy reasons I have, is also important. And if you think about it, I’ve clearly voiced my concerns.
So if we just made a minor change, “for good or for bat-ass crazy” then we’ll all be happy. I will never say “I told you so” it was right there in our vows.
(I’ve already touched on the getting married in front of God. If the curiosity strikes see Somewhere Between Church and State.)