This week’s Why We Wed is by Morgan of High Diving Board. You may notice she hasn’t been writing much over there lately, because (tada) lady is having a baby! I think that’s probably one of the raddest parts of getting all of these posts up and out- we’re all in different stages, with a different number of years (or months! or weeks, even!) of marriage under our belts. So here’s soon-to-be-mama Morgan on why she wedding-ed, and why she married.
It’s far easier to answer ‘why we threw a wedding’ than ‘why we wed’. We wedding’ed for family. My dad had been diagnosed with cancer 8 months before the wedding, before we were even engaged. He died 2 months before the wedding, and the wedding was a note of grace and joy and light in a pretty terrible time. Throwing a big drinking sugar fueled party was for the family, and it was wonderful and worth it.
But that doesn’t answer the question.
Before David, I had been in a long relationship with a man who wanted to marry me, and I spent more than half a decade trying to stall him – I just didn’t see the point, I said. If we were going to be together forever, why rush? The real reason I only learned after I left – we weren’t good together and getting married would have made it worse, and that I had just been making excuses because I couldn’t see the truth yet. But with David? Oh, we moved fast. I moved in after 4 months. I knew with certainty he would be the man I married before we’d been dating 8 months. I knew early and solidly that he was the man I want to spend the rest of my life, to raise babies with, to travel with, to grow old and crotchety with. The certainty I felt about that meant that I couldn’t wait to be married to him. He is my partner and favourite person and confidant and love. There is no one else I’d rather spend time with, no one else I’d rather raise a family with. Getting married was a simple choice, although one we talked about a lot during the engagement, to make sure we really were on the same page about our wants, needs and desires for the future.
We both grew up in the Prairies, where the cultural norm is definitely to marry. Gay or straight, everyone I seem to know in a long term committed relationship eventually marries. Our parents were/are happily married (I am still learning to verb conjugate around a dead parent) and there are surprisingly few divorces through the extended family, so we both grew up with the notion that we eventually marry. And I’m old fashioned enough that I wanted to have babies while married. And getting married solidified our commitment, as I thought it would.
Getting married to David was the most important thing about our wedding. The reception was just a party. The incredibly laissez-faire attitude towards the reception really came through – we phoned in as many details as we could, and basically scrapped everything that wasn’t deemed important. (Like, uh, decorations, dinner, table assignments, and basically everything that was on the kn*t’s list.)
For all we phoned in the reception? The ceremony ended up being infinitely more sacred than I could have imagined. My mental image is of us and the pastor standing in a circle of light in a dark room, and no one else being there. (This clearly wasn’t true – especially with 150 odd people sitting behind us. But it’s how it felt.) He had to choke back tears as he said his vows – and I remember feeling radiant as I said mine back to him. It was transformative – far more transformative than I would have ever guessed it could be.
And it changed things. We hadn’t been together for all that long before we got married – 23 months exactly, although we had met eight years earlier in university. Getting married felt like the next step, sure, but it also felt momentous. It meant that we were in it for keeps. An example – right after my dad died, I did something pretty terrible, and I offered to call off the wedding and cancel the house deal and all the rest – I had fucked up and knew it. He refused, of course, and we worked it out. Right after the wedding, he did something pretty terrible, and as we fought it out, leaving didn’t come up once in any way. Getting married changed the parameters of our relationship – it deepened things and made us firmly a unit.
I guess, in the end, I got married because I wanted to make private and public statements of commitment to this one man. To publicly declare my loyalty. To choose light over dark, life over death. Togetherness over all else.