"When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
-When Harry Met Sally
So I wore this Lovestruck dress (similar to what Leighton Meester wore for the Vera Wang Lovestruck advertisement- that one where she was on top of a fire escape acting all cute and pretty...)...I'll link the video below... Anyway, I always make it a point to dress up whenever I am attending a wedding, simply because I value the commitment it takes to declare your love and loyalty and enter a sacrament so precious and binding. To have that for ourselves... I would say that while we may not all want it but let's all be honest here...most of us do right? Whether it is just a simple ceremony or the whole Puffy White Dress package, I would want to believe that it would be safe to say that for most (again not all) women, when they have found a person that they want to share their lives with- making it legal and more importantly, sealing it in the eyes of God becomes a step they find themselves wanting to take. It may not have or ever have been a conscious goal, one might probably have been one of those eye rolling "I'm never getting married" types but then they meet a person who probably changed their minds. The pressure to marry in this society has steadily eased up and I am no stranger to encountering the common arguments people say as to why they have decided not to marry or just simply because they want to take a dig on the institution that I so firmly believe in. "Marriage just doesn't mean anything anymore." "What do we have to prove?" or "People get married for fear or for obligation." and the list goes on and on. These may seem like pretty legitimate and reasonable ideas...to them. But my personal value of marriage is simply not cheapened because someone else does not believe it. I am lucky enough to say that I know a lot of couples who have been together for a long time and I am glad I have so many of them in my life. Most of them have told me that commitment and loyalty is not something that you just decide on when you are 26 and want to settle down- because for them, being on their partner's team is something that's decided and worked on every single day as both parties in the relationship evolve... for no other reason than because they love each other enough to honor their promises and to be there even when it gets difficult. This just does not mean that there are no indiscretions that could merit the breaking of the promise... simply, it means that the promise is something they want in their lives to begin with...something they would want consider every day. I would like to think that when beginning to simulate any relationship, everyone has this in mind... unfortunately that is not always the case. For most of us, when we find that person and we feel that love that just swallows us whole and we want to entangle our lives so completely with somebody else's- I would like to sumise we will find ourselves wanting to make it "OFFICIAL."
I mean it is the exception rather than the rule but I do not want to disregard the union of couples who have been happily married for 25, 30, 50 years (my grandparents, for instance) so I do have to say that I do believe that there is that kind of love that will last. I mean they are living, walking proof that for some people marriage does after all hold a distinct value that brings something to their lives so to simply state and tell them that marriage means nothing- that one cannot and should not knowingly commit for life and that they are together out of fear would be downright ridiculous because aside from the fact that I don't believe in all such anti-marriage claims... I mean if anything-who am I to talk- the longest relationship I have had was for 4 years and I was brutally dumped without a fight or a two weeks notice... yet somehow I still believe that it is possible to have love that has no expiration date. For instance, there are couples who despite not being under any pressure to get together legally, get married out of love and a desire to unite two families in every way they can be united. Then for some people, changing names and becoming in-laws holds the promise of a deeper and more familial level of commitment that holds a profound appeal and like those couples who have managed to make it to their silver or gold anniversary, there are people who have proven to me that this holds true even after the luster of new love and the so called "honeymoon stage" has worn off.
The answer is simple: it is that for cultural reasons, religious beliefs or for legal reasons, I find that it is still important to take that formal step and more importantly, publicly, with all of their favorite people there to witness and celebrate two people formally and officially declare themselves a unit, a team, a family. Such was the case for that day for April and for Neil and I was happy to have been able to witness it. I find that no matter how secure and committed one is in their relationship, there is something satisfying about the words "wife" and "husband" and not in the "look at me, I have The Ring" kind of way but in the signals those words give- the permanence it implies, the social recognition your partner receives. To a couple who is standing on the precipice of a life together- like for young people who want to get married at any age or life station where many would call it out as "stupid," these generalizations about what commitment means are delivered as truths and while it is true that certainly no one can predict the future or ensure that they will love their partner with as much strength as they did the day before until their last day, personally, that is part of the appeal to marriage.
After all, I have nothing but respect for love in all its forms: no matter how you choose to express your love with a person... at the end of the day, it is how you treat each other that really matters. We are entering a world full of different kinds of love- love that us beginning to have the freedom of expression that was once reserved only for the most traditional unions. Personally, I do not need everyone to get married to prove to me that I am making the right decision by believing in it and for seeing the value in it. The cultural and historical weight of that commitment holds meaning for me, and I think that even though it is no longer demanded, or quite as expected, and even though we all know that becoming a wife doesn't mean we'll never end up as an ex-wife... there is a reason why we still keep coming back. Weddings, as they signify a beginning of a marriage, are a joyous occasion for me and I am lovestruck to get to be able to see two people make that commitment. Even though I am not in a solid relationship as of the moment, I have no doubt that there will come a time when I want to be with someone for the rest of my life. I might not know when or how this will come to be... but I have faith. Just allow me to take my time on this one... It might be scary but so are most big decisions in life. Sure, falling in love for someone is wonderful. Also, breakups can be the inspiration for a million new beginnings... but the love that exists between them - if it can last- is more powerful with a whisper of an "I do," than the rest of it is with a scream.