I recently had a conversation about the bride of a wedding I will soon be attending. Before she was engaged, one of her friends announced that she would be getting married as her longtime boyfriend had finally proposed. The bride was excited for her friend, but was sad when she told her boyfriend the happy news. The boyfriend asked what was wrong and she replied, “It should have been me.”
It took all of my strength not to roll my eyes when I heard this, though I’m sure my forehead scrunched up in that familiar you’ve-got-to-be-freakin’-kidding-me look. I just can’t help myself some times.
I could not believe that an intelligent, successful, beautiful woman in a loving relationship could find herself saddened by the good news of a dear friend. I have never been able to understand why women put so much pressure on themselves to get married.
As a child, I was never that little girl who fantasized about her wedding day. I didn’t have a color scheme picked out or favorite styles for rings and gowns or the perfect location or where I would go on my honeymoon. In fact, the closest I ever came to thinking about marriage was telling my mother that someday I “would get married, have kids, get divorced and take the kids with me.” Yes, I actually said that as a child.
Though my extensive chick flick collection has at least three films where “wedding” is in the title and countless others that feature a ceremony, I guess I’ve just never found the idea of marriage all that romantic.
Yes, I was one of the millions who woke up early last April 29th to watch Prince William take Kate Middleton as his bride, princess, and partner in life, but it was so much more than the wedding I wanted to see. As with the Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed-Simmons nuptials, I was eager to see two people who love each other share their feelings with the world. Both of these couples had been together far longer than the average “starter marriage” lasts and it’s so clear when you look at them that there is genuine affection shared between man and woman.
I love the idea of a partnership built on trust, commitment, and love. However, I do not believe that shelling out money for a piece of paper that legally binds two individuals and an extravagant ceremony that costs thousands and lasts hours is the end-all-be-all of life. I have a hard time accepting that a couple who is legally “married” has a stronger relationship than a couple who choose not to have the State involved in their union.
I have a great example of a successful marriage in my family. My Aunt Carol and Uncle Mike Brady have the longest-running marriage in our family and still seem to genuinely like one another after all that time. They are friends as well as lovers and I think that is so important in the grand scheme of things. Of course after all that time, they undoubtedly would love one another, but the fact that they still sneak kisses and loving embraces is something to be admired.
Their marriage has been the shining example for my siblings Darrin and Bree—we often joke that Bree married Uncle Mike as Orson is just like him and their marriage runs in parallel to our aunt and uncle’s—and they both acknowledge that they’ve looked up to the relationship Aunt Carol and Uncle Mike have.
I have as well, but my ideas on marriage have not changed.
I will admit, I look at engagement rings online and I have never been able to pick one that would be perfect for me. I take that as a sign that even if I like diamonds and would prefer something larger than two carats—what girl wouldn’t—I am just not won over by a piece of jewelry. To me it’s just that: jewelry.
The Fonz and I once discussed the matter of a proposal.
Fonz: I know you’ve said you don’t want to get married, but do you want to be proposed to?
Me: (long pause) You know, I think it would be really awkward. How do you tell someone ‘no’ and continue to be together? That would basically end a relationship right there.
Fonz: (looking stunned) Wow, I really didn’t expect to hear that, but you had no hesitation when you said it. I thought deep down you would still want someone to ask.
The truth is, I would love love love to spend the rest of my life with someone. To be two old fuddy-duddies on a porch tickling grandchildren and pinching each other’s bums is a fantasy. I just don’t need the State to validate my relationship with someone or a ceremony where all eyes are on me. I don’t need a license. I don’t need a registry. I don’t need attendants in matching dresses standing beside me. I don’t need a reception. I just need love.
And shouldn’t that be enough?