When my man and I decided to get married, which for us was not inferred by getting engaged, it was a big shock to my sense of identity and my view of the world. Apparently terrified of weddings, marriage and all that comes with it, I never thought I would be putting myself and our relationship through it. Yes, it was the socially expected thing to do. Yes, from the outside it all made sense. But on the inside the shock of getting married hit me hard and, for a long time, it felt very, very insincere.
You see, I spent much of my childhood believing that marriage ultimately leads to unhappy relationships and that marriages were destined to fail when you put kids, money, careers and a mortgage in the equation. Being a child of divorced parents, I believed more in the power of divorce as a healthy outcome than staying in a relationship that was no longer working. And as I grew up and formed my own relationships, I never allowed myself to consider what I would do if I was faced with the prospect of marriage. I would defensively distance myself from the decisions of friends and people close to me with an uncomfortable feeling of dread.
Interestingly, I never seem to have questioned love. Love was always clear to me. It was an ingredient in all the marriages I knew that had ended in divorce and that was despite the love that was undoubtedly there. I somehow protected the concept of love and separated it from the notion of marriage and its consequences. Even in my childish view, love was present and more powerful than a marriage certificate. I felt it clearly in my heart and my belly and I saw it between the members of my family, even when things were challenging.
It was that love that I channelled when I found myself wanting to get married. Realising that I want to make that commitment was half the battle. The rest was about making sure the wedding was representative of that feeling. As if our wedding was the expression of our future life together, we fought to make it our own. We fortunately did not have to fight our families; mostly it was internal demons (mine) that proved the hardest to conquer.
But we succeeded. In a totally cheesy, but fully honest way, our wedding was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life so far and it was absolutely worth it. Loads of brides said this to me previously, but I never believed them because they had worn veils and had thrown the bouquet and mostly because they seemed awfully stressed about it all. I decide to write openly about this very personal part of my life and share some of my own experiences in planning a wedding and enjoying it when you never thought you’d be the one making public vows. My honest, heartfelt advice to you is that weddings, just like relationships, are hard. They require commitment, energy, effort and a lot of thought. They have the potential to cause real damage, but only if you let them. They also have the power to make you experience a deeper connection, not because the state now recognises you as married, but through the bond that you form when you decide to hold each other’s hand through time.
So panic not, you can work it out!
Ps: Coming next is a wedding survival guide for the cynical – Stay tuned!
Photo credit: Yes, this is an actual photo from our civil ceremony in London, photographed by the talented yogi (sometimes photographer) Cat Lane.
++ That’s it from me for now folks. Still happily married, 4 months on.
I’d love to know what you think in the comments below and tell me what else you want me to share about getting married!
Massive thanks for being here x