“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” – Khalil Gibran
I’m about a week late for Valentin’s Day, I know, but things got hectic.😄
Anyway, let’s talk about weddings and marriage.
Marriage affords you all kinds of rights, privileges, and benefits, right? My son says it’s a bribe that gets the government more taxpayers and soldiers— the assumption being that married couples will procreate. Of course, it’s what they hope. Only decades ago, young, fertile women had a tough time getting a tubal ligation procedure. Doctors willing to perform it would not do so without her husband’s permission. There are people who’d still deny you birth control if they could.
Naturally, too, divorce comes with consequences. Some women wore that “divorcee” label like a scarlet letter disgrace. Real-life Alan Harpers support luxurious lives for partners who kick them out while they can’t afford even a decent life for themselves. I’m sure there are situations where people deserve their downfall, but it’s often wholly unwarranted.
Even a young widowed female is often judged harshly as a single parent as if she had any choice in the matter. I can attest to that. Other mothers are wary of you, often not even knowing how you ended up a single parent. All they know is you don’t seem to have a husband, and though you don’t deserve to be penalized for that, no matter the reason, they prefer the company of other married women. Your child gets ostracized in the process.
Oh, don’t worry, I fixed all that when my son was in the first grade by baking chocolate chip cheesecakes for the school’s annual food festival. The moms and teachers couldn’t resist that cake. 😉 And my son remedied it, as well, by being funny and smart. Eventually, we made many friends, but society is far more comfortable with the traditional norms.
Admittedly, I love the idea of marriage and being someone’s wife but not necessarily its reality.
Similarly, you can include me among those who love the “idea” of a wedding. As for being the center of attention on an anxiety-filled day of continuous pressure, no, thank you, but you go ahead; I’ll watch.
FANTASY vs. REALITY
When I was a little girl, I told my mother I’d never get married—that I was going to be so busy, I wouldn’t have time to be anyone’s wife. At the same time, I was enchanted by the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and madly in love with Prince Charming. He sang:
Do I love you because you’re beautiful,
Or are you beautiful because I love you?
It was a fascinating dilemma for my underdeveloped brain. That song and others from that musical are still on my iPod.
So, I am at least somewhat sentimental, don’t you agree? To be honest, I posted the live performance of “Marry You” above not only because I like the song but because Bruno Mars reminds me of my first “real” boyfriend.
But do me a favor now. Picture your fantasy of an ideal wedding. Got that picture in mind? All right, well, in my family, one wedding reception ended with both male and female cousins entangled in a brawl with people at the wedding next door. One male cousin pulled out a gun. The other (male) went crashing into the ladies’ room mirror in search of someone to fight. At another reception, two of my middle-aged cousins rolled around on the floor, fighting for the bride’s tossed bouquet. And then there was the time the priest stopped the ceremony to wait for my father to finish loudly explaining to his grandson (my son) how to use his new camera. 😮
But there are the moments that move you, for sure. I got all teary-eyed once as someone I’d known my entire life proceeded to the altar with the man she wouldn’t give up on no matter how tough the road got. They are divorced now, and I can’t say I blame her, but you get the idea.
OH, BUT THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL!
What I do love is the planning of a wedding. Of course, I love to plan. I am a novelist. No, I wouldn’t want a job planning weddings, but I’d get psyched creating a dream wedding to marry off my characters— unique destinations, gorgeous flowers, creating an ambiance, picking out cake. I love cake! (Maybe you remember that from above.) And then the music for the special dances and the party! The poet in me comes alive with music, and my emotions are all over the place. Laugh, cry, dance, sing—it’s all good. I’m a fan of all kinds of music, including classical wedding music, which I also have on my iPod.
And you know what else is beautiful?
The devoted couples who happily grow old together. Yep, it’s all so beautifully romantic. I have the utmost respect for the men and women who’ve decided on the person they want to spend forever with rather than continue to look elsewhere for ego gratification. Since childhood, I’d witnessed so much willingness, even eagerness, to be unfaithful. What makes life magical is the bond between people and everything they create together.
(This playlist includes some of my favorite classical music for weddings.)
So, what did I do when I finally got married, you ask?
My fiancé and I went to a judge’s house on Long Island. It was just the two of us, the judge and the judge’s wife, and we couldn’t help laughing like school kids that we were getting married, but it was perfect. I cherished every moment.
He was a kindred spirit that I treasured with all my heart, and the desire or willingness to replace him has yet to come. I liked being married to him, well, most of the time. I also wanted to be spoken for in that there was less explaining to do when I had to say no to an advance. What I liked even more than that was the ultimate realization that you don’t need to explain. 😉
For lyrics to this song (because I love the lyrics), go here.
Gladiatrix fight photo by Hans Splinter