Well, I’m getting married. That’s right – me. The fat little brummie kid with a penchant for The X-Files and cake, a once hopeless romantic with the unusual juxtaposition of abhorrence for marriage is actually getting married. In just over 15 months time I will give my life and my name to an incredible woman who has turned every notion and concept of love and marriage I’ve ever had on its head.
I used to have big beef with the idea of marriage. I’d stand on my soapbox bleating that I didn’t believe in it (though I was kindly reminded that, unlike fairies or aliens, marriage was proven to exist therefore I did believe in it, regardless of my feelings) and that it was a completely unnecessary act that drained time, effort and money from all sides, that brought a huge bunch of people together for one day to celebrate something that they already knew: he & she are together. That was the one thing I never really understood about this matrimonial act: why sign a bit of paper or make a promise in front of the Big Chief that was just confirming what you already knew? Traditionally our grandparents met, ‘courted’, got married then moved in together, had kids and the rest is history. These days those traditions don’t exist – it’s fair to say society’s moral compass has started to point in a different direction now and new ways are more socially acceptable: whether for better or for worse, we do things differently now. To me, a mortgage and kids was a stronger commitment than saying ‘I do’. To bring life in to the world together, to raise children together, to work to provide a roof over the head of your family and to continue a blood line – that to me was akin to marriage. If you’re doing that, you know you’re going to be together for the rest of your lives. Getting married was more about crossing the I’s and dotting the T’s for all the legal benefits of sharing a surname. I thought all this and more about the subject – until I met Caroline.
It might get a bit soppy so if you wanna turn back now then that’s cool – I think you get the point I’m making by now.
As I stated at the start, the strange juxtaposition I previously held was that I was a hopeless romantic who was hopelessly entertained by romantic comedies and the stories they crafted about true love, yet I was never a believer in the ultimate and definite commitment of that love. Even when it got to the point in these flicks where it would cut to them getting married a year later I’d scream at the screen like Brenda in Scary Movie – “girl, you stupid!” But what I realise now is that I never really knew what it was to be in love like that. I’ve been in love before, sure, and I mean no disrespect to anyone from my past as they have all played an important part in my life and were there for an important reason, but some of my apprehension towards the institution of marriage lay in my deep-seeded fear of commitment to something that never felt like it should. Caroline has altered my perspective and improved my wellbeing and outlook on so many aspects of life; she is an incredible, strong, brave, selfless, beautiful person and the feeling it gives knowing she feels for me what I feel for her is indescribable. The relationship is effortless and in the brief moments effort is required I give all that I’ve got. Part of me still chases her each day like it’s the first time I’m getting to know her. The flame will never die and I know in my heart of hearts that that’s true. I feel like I’ve known her my whole life; we found each other in the darkest of times; she has guided me through anxieties and difficulties I never could have faced alone or with any other. In short – it’s the reason I’m marrying her.
I get it now, I get why people get married. It doesn’t matter if you have an extravagant church wedding or a five minute registrar signing, what matters is that two people are saying to each other: I’m not going anywhere. Being married and having it as a reminder – whether it’s a ring on your finger or your signature changing – will stick with you during tough times. It will remind you why you married in the first place, what you gave, what you promised, what you committed yourself to. It reminds you that out of 7 billion souls in this world, yours fitted like Cinderella’s shoe. It will make you appreciate what brought you together and what kept you together. It will tell you that times won’t be easy but you can see them through together. It says, “I wanna grow old with you.” It says a lot of things and I guess you’ll never really know what it’s saying until you find that one person that utters those right words.
Caroline – Here’s looking at you, kid.