Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the Subject of Nuptials

This weekend, I attended Charlotte’s wedding. It was lovely and romantic and perfect for her and her groom. It was also her second marriage. She is one of several friends I know who has gotten divorced and remarried in the last few years.

The night before her wedding, I spoke to another dear friend from high school who told me she is getting a divorce. Four of my closest friends from teenagehood are currently separated from their husbands. It’s strange.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the disillusions of marriage. About how people—women in particular—go into it expecting a fairy tale. But the reality of the situation is far from that. I find myself trying to become a scholar on the subject, examining failed relationships, looking for patterns and warning signs, trying to create some sort of formula that will ensure I get it right when my time comes.

It’s hard not to get a little swept up by the romantic notions of tying the knot. I can see how it’s easy to ignore red flags when you’re blinded by the white dress idea. I wonder if this was what happened to my friends. I know it almost happened to me.

Thank goodness the relationship fell apart before I fell down that aisle. Thank goodness the pain caused me to be super vigilant when I moved on, watching Mr. Wonderful’s actions like a hawk—seeking red flags, but finding only goodness.

I am hopeful that the foundation we’re on is strong. Strong enough to last for decades.

We’ve been dangling our toes in the topic quite a bit lately. At Charlotte’s wedding, we caught ourselves discussing vow writing, the idea of my dad giving a speech (which neither of us could picture because he’s NOT at all a public speaker), whether or not we would have bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Last week, we even exchanged IMs about ring designs. He told me he’d have to take my sister shopping with him when he was ready—and I told him he could propose without a ring and that we could shop together; that I’d wear a dead worm around my finger if he gave it to me.

I’m trying to curb my expectations and not allow myself to start arranging flowers and brainstorming favor ideas in my head. I know I need to just focus on how lucky I am to have him in my life, and leave it at that. But there’s something so damn alluring about planning that special day.

13 comments:

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Somewhere out there (or inside your heart/head), there is a healthy balance. The acknowledgment that we live in an imperfect world. The acknowledgment that people change. The recognition that you have to be really sure before jumping into marriage.

But, balanced on the other side is that passionate ability to love. And dream. And plan. And I really hope that whatever tarnishes the world around you doesn't tarnish your ability to cherish the times (past, present and future) you have with Mr. W!

Mike129 said...

I have the feeling that you will get it right. I really do.

(But I'd hold out for more than a dead worm if I were you.)

LesleyG said...

I think one of the most common delusions people have about marriage is that it will always be the same, that the people in it will always be the same. But when you realize that you'll change, and your partner will change, and that somehow you will have to find a way to continue loving a changed person, that is special.

In the meantime, it's hard not to stop our brains from working the way they always have, isn't it? :) Go easy on yourself-- you're better at living in the moment than you give yourself credit for.

Big Sister said...

Tell him I'm ready to start shopping for the dead worm.

blakspring said...

i think that age has a lot to do with it too. i'll bet most of your friends who are now divorced or getting divorced were in their 20s when they got married. people still change so much as adults. if i had been older and more self-assured i would have seen the warning signs and been honest with myself. i was young and naive and thought that everything would work out if i will it to.

you, on the other hand, are not naive. you are your own woman who is in a healthy and genuine relationship. that's the best foundation there is.

Dingo said...

I agree with blakspring, I really think that age has a lot to do with it. But everyone's marriage fails for different reasons.

I think a dead worm ring would make a nice complement to your mud pie groom's cake.

Amy Turpin said...

I suggest rather than looking at your friend's failed marriages, and trying to avoid the problems they ran into, focus on the MANY people you know who are in happy, fulfilling, wonderful marriages, and focus on what makes them work. It's easy to focus on avoiding the bad, but then you lead yourself to a glass half empty mentality. Instead learn all you can about those people who make it work, and you'll have a much better chance.
As one going down the unhappy road, I must admit, it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.
And, to add to what others have said. People do change with time, but if you really enjoy spending most of your free time together (of course with some individual time so you don't go crazy), you will change together and you'll have a better chance of choosing the same forks in the road when you arrive at them.

brookem said...

i think it's hard not to get swept up in the passion of it all. you know, that whole when harry met sally line about knowing when you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, wanting the rest of your life to start RIGHT NOW.

at the same time, look at you go. you're living your life to its fullest, enjoying the hear and now. not rushing anything, not being niave. you're not letting past heartbreaks and failed marriages around you get you totally down. i think it's good to be realistic about marriage and all that comes with it, the good and the bad. but at the same time, like others have said, it's damn nice to be able to let youself be excited about planning a future with someone.

Danielle said...

I never had dreams of the actual wedding, but got caught up in the concept of having a "husband" and being a "wife". So caught up I guess that I didn't stop to see that neither of us were capable.
I think you are ina healthy spot and when it happens it will be right!

geekhiker said...

My only thought is this: don't get so caught up in thinking about "the wedding" that you forget to think about "the marriage". :)

The Coconut Diaries said...

As long as you realize that there are days when you will want to kill him, days when he won't be your favorite person, and days when he will use your brand new decorative towels to clean a spill AND you'll still love him anyway, you will be fine. Oh, and it helps having married friends who can say "No, mine does that, too!"

Sizzle said...

I've been thinking on this a lot lately and I have never been one to daydream about marriage. Hell, I have a Mae West quote postcard on my fridge that states: "Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution."

But then I met Mr. Darcy. And well, I changed my mind.

I think there is something to be said for those of us who waited. Maybe in other eras I would be considered a spinster but at the ripe age of 37 I finally feel like I am ready. I know who I am. I am rather fond of that person. And I'm grown up enough to understand the nuances of relationships. I can enter into marriage, if that happens, with a clearer picture of why I am doing it.

At least that's what I am telling myself. :-) Because somedays I just want to plan a really bitchin' party. Heh.

This is exciting news about Mr. W and you!

Anita said...

Just keep doing what you're doing, thinking what you're thinking, because I believe you've learned your lessons and made the right choices along the way.

I've never seen you happier and better. Savor every non-engaged, non-married moment now because for you, together "as long as you both shall live" is just around the corner.