I just finished a book by Elizabeth Gilbert (she of Eat Pray Love fame) called Committed. This autobiographical book is essentially an exploration of the idea of marriage that ends with Liz convincing herself that it’s okay for her to marry the love of her life. At the start of the book, having been married and divorced, Liz is adamant that she will never marry again. She even has a pact with her lover that they will never marry. In the end, she is married to him.
It’s a topic that’s been in my thoughts a lot lately. Why get married? I’ve been married. When my marriage ended in 1995 I decided that marriage really wasn’t for me, and that I’d never do it again. I still felt this way five years later when I met Simon. And he was fine with that. He didn’t want to marry me either. At this time in my life, I’d describe my feelings about marriage as ambivalent. I couldn’t see the point of it. I thought to myself, ‘Why get married at all when you can live with someone and have all the same rights as a married couple anyway?’
Then my life changed again. It happened in increments. Simon and I separated and I reevaluated some of my attitudes about life. I decided that I might like to get married someday, if the right man presented himself. I don’t even really know why this shift in thinking happened. Possibly as a reaction to the breakup. I was saddened at the ease with which we could extract ourselves from each other’s lives.
And then I met Stephen. Just before I met him (I’ve mentioned this before) I made a list of what I wanted in a man. One of those things was to be with someone who was open to the idea of marriage. I think it was probably on our 3rd or 4th date that Stephen said that he preferred to be married. It was one of the deal-sealers for me (along with numerous other things).
And now I find myself about to marry the man of my dreams. I try not to think about what it all means too much. Every now and again a stray thought creeps in …”why do I want to marry this (or any) person?” … “where did this desire to be married come from all of a sudden?” … “what if it doesn’t work out?”. I put them aside because I know they don’t matter. What matters is that what I’m doing feels right. Exactly right.