"So when are you guys getting married"? I get asked that question a lot. Sometimes bluntly. Other times in more subtle-but-not-really-so-subtle ways. The inquiries started after I became pregnant nine months after Julien and I started dating. Obviously, the next logical (and moral) thing to after becoming (haphazardly) with child is to order up a wedding. Tout de suite. You know, to cover my shame and continue the sham that I was virgin. And to 'legitimize' the birth of my child. Well, suffice it to say that we opted to continue on in fornication. I mean, Jesus would understand. Now that we've celebrated our 6th year of unwedded bliss, I figured I might as well address it.
So why don't I just get married? The short answer is, well...I haven't been asked. Yes, we've talked about marriage. Many times and in great detail. I've picked out an engagement ring and we've discussed wedding venues. We've decided how many people we'll invite and what our wedding song will be. But for many reasons, some of which I'll address in this post, we have yet to make the trip down the aisle. We came really close when we almost eloped in Thailand earlier this year, but we couldn't get married without Gabriel there. So we decided we'd have something small and intimate with the people closest to us at a later date. We haven't really discussed it much since then.
And I suppose that after 6 years of making a life together and an engagement has yet to materialize, I ought to really start evaluating if one ever will. And if I'm to be completely honest, I have. I have wondered, "Will he propose this year"? I've congratulated many giddy friends and acquaintances on their engagements and fawned over their sparkling diamonds whilst quietly questioning whether or not my time to nonchalantly, but very intentionally, display my newly adorned hand would ever come. I've gotten secretly hopeful when Valentine's Days or birthdays or Christmases would roll around and secretly disappointed when each occasion would pass without eliciting those four words that women wait with bated breath to hear. And when occasion after occasion and year after year have failed to produce THE ring, I've questioned myself and re-evaluated my relationship. And in the midst of questioning my relationship and my partner's commitment to me and our family, I've also asked myself, would marriage really change our relationship? Would it make us better parents? Would it make us better partners? And the answer is, not one bit.
I've realized that I was so infatuated with the romanticized idea of marriage when in truth and in fact, getting married really wouldn't change much about our relationship. I really resent feeling like I have to get married to 'legitimize' my relationship. I think after 6 years and a child, our relationship is pretty darn legitimate. I don't feel like we need to have an overpriced extravaganza (that, quite frankly we can't afford but expect our guests will foot the bill) to prove that we're in for the long haul. That decision was made when we decided to bring a life into the world together. Is he less of a partner to me because he's not my husband? Am I less than a partner because I'm not his wife? Is our family any less of a family because we don't all have the same last name? Absolutely not.
I don't need to get married to affirm my love and commitment to my partner. I think we can all agree that marriage is not the benchmark of commitment. Or love. After 6 years of partnership, in every sense of the word, of mutual respect and admiration, of so much love and laughter, it seems ridiculous that I should need to get married in pursuit of something I already have. Let alone to prove to anyone that we're in this together for better or for worse, 'til death do us part.
Don't get me wrong, I hold marriage in the highest regard and I look forward to the day when Julien and I will make sacred vows to each other in front of our families and closest friends. But we certainly won't get married because it's the "next step", because all of our friends are getting married or because we've been together for X years. We'll do it on our terms, when the time is right. We've never been big on conventional rules, anyway. Clearly.