My fiancé and I are getting married sometime in the next two weeks, depending on how you look at it (we picked a destination wedding, so the legal part is happening separately).
We’re. Getting. Married.
Marriage is a big deal, right? And for all its common-ness, it’s a provocative subject. As an institution, marriage had little to do with love until relatively recently. And it had little to do with two equals creating a partnership until even MORE recently (not-so-fun fact: most states didn’t consider marital rape a crime until the late 1970s).
The median age for getting married is going up, and the number of marriages most of us will have in our lifetime is going up.
Marriage is evolving, as things do.
Joe and I are both pretty pragmatic people. We know the marriage statistics, advantages and pitfalls. We know exactly what tax benefits our union will result in, and we’ve made some strategic choices. We elected for pre-marital counseling by way of the Prepare/Enrich assessment, which gave us data (Pie charts! Graphs! Percentages! Yay!) to analyze.
Our engagement has been filled with preparatory exercises designed to help us understand what we’re getting into, and why. And by all accounts, we’re doing everything right, if not romantically (nothing says romance like empirical data).
But I’m getting the sense that we aren’t preparing for marriage, exactly. What this actually feels like is preparation for continuous preparation. Or continuous change. Or maybe just continuously taking another person into consideration.
Because we’re both in our thirties, we have established independent-everythings—routines, schedules, habits, friends, etc. Every day, we make micro-decisions about how much our physical and emotional worlds should overlap, and where we can each bend and flex to accommodate. And sometimes we hit surprisingly hard edges. (I just think beds look better when they’re made!)
Ultimately, we’re both asking ourselves why we want to do this. For me, the answer is pretty simple. I love him, and I see how our personalities naturally support and balance each other. We accept each other. We challenge each other. We’re kind to each other. We have fun together and we respect each other’s independence. We both like learning. He makes really good quiche.
And when I think about my future, I want him to be there—even though I don’t know exactly who I will be or who he will be.
So in these days before we sign our papers and stand with our families and agree to keep picking each other, I’m feeling some mixture of totally chill and excited-bananas. The bed is messy. The quiche is in the oven. And despite our best preparations, neither of us has any idea what we’re getting into. Which is half the fun, right?