What is marriage?
Mr. Fluvial and I are 19 short days away from our wedding and with all the insanity associated with throwing a big party like this, we’ve worked hard and focusing on the real reason why everyone’s putting on their fancy clothes: We are about to make the public declaration of a fact that’s been true for a long time: we are devoted to each other through thick and thin.
So, while I’ve been thinking a lot about what marriage means to me (serious business!), I’ve also allowed myself to indulge in cheesy wedding websites, magazines, and accoutrements (not the least of which is a hot pink tank top with ‘BRIDE’ bedazzled in rhinestones or a flashing sash that says ‘Miss Bachelorette’ which was likely purchased by one of my bridemaids at a sex shop.)
However, today, one of my guilty pleasures intersected with our very real ‘what is marriage’ discussion. One of the brides used the following passage in her ceremony and I thought it was really really interesting:
“While exclusionary interest in one other human being, which is what we call courtship, is all very exciting in the stages of discovery, there is not enough substance in it for a lifetime, no matter how fascinating the people or passionate the romance. The world, on the other hand, is chock full of interesting and curious things. The point of the courtship – marriage – is to secure someone with whom you wish to go hand in hand through this source of entertainment, each making discoveries, and then sharing some and merely reporting others. Anyone who tries to compete with the entire world, demanding to be someone’s sole source of interest and attention, is asking to be classified as a bore. “Why don’t you ever want to talk to me?” will probably never start a satisfactory marital conversation. “Guess what?” will probably never fail.”
It’s a quote from Miss Manners! (love her)
This passage spoke to me. I’m an only child who was never wild in actions but always wild in spirit. I was not the girl that went on crazy sorority drinking binges but I was the girl who got lost in Venice (on purpose) at age 15. So, my idea of marriage was never one in which I suddenly lost myself in my husband. I would still very much be ‘me’. When an ex of mine was asked to officiate the wedding of his best friend, he turned to me and asked ‘So, what is marriage anyway?’ My immediate answer was: “Marriage is the concious choice to walk hand in hand through life with the person you hold most dear.” I’m not sure why that was so easy for me to define but that’s always what I’ve seen marriage as. I held the value close to me as I began dating again after aforementioned ex boyfriend (although, lucky me, I found Mr. Fluvial on the first try!) and I believe having that intention for my life partner brought Mr. Fluvial to me. I’m so lucky to have found him. (and let’s be clear..he’s pretty luck to have found me too! :))
As Mr. Fluvial and I do the final preparations on our vows and ceremony, the idea of individuality and passion…the Buddhist middle path of marriage…is coming up a lot. It’s led to some pretty intersting converesations and I’m curious to my married Fluvial fans….what say you to the passage? And more to the point, what does marriage mean to you?