“I, Brown Socks, take you, Tinkerbell, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
Those are some great words. They make me cry every time.
Unlike most single, 30-something girls, I love weddings – the actual wedding ceremony, not the wedding reception. Sure, the wedding reception can be a fun night, with all the right ingredients: a worthy cause for celebration, beautiful people ready to party, food, booze and music. Yet somehow most wedding receptions are somewhat stilted affairs, weighed down by the limited mingling due to seating arrangements, speeches, first dances, more speeches, bouquet and garter tosses and speeches. Oh, and the speeches. It’s hard for party to really take off when there is a scripted schedule to adhere to. Nevertheless, wedding receptions are rarely terrible, because a room full of people waiting to celebrate their friends/family’s milestone is never a bad thing.
What I love is the actual wedding ceremony. Witnessing the vows.
Those vows are incredibly intimidating- even the standard definition of the word “vow” on Google is daunting. Because they are so encompassing, it is difficult to find two people willing to undertake that level of commitment with each other. Believe me, I know. I’m still at the stage where I’m amazed if I make it to a 2nd date, because most of the time I don’t make it to the end of a conversation. It blows my mind to that two people can get to the point of wanting to spend their lives with each other.
I’ve only been once in love. After years together and several months discussing marriage, he admitted that couldn’t bring himself to undertake that commitment with me. That hurt. I watched my father stay by my mother’s side through 30 years of relentless “in sickness”. I consider his behaviour the most honorable and brave thing I have ever witnessed. I’ve seen the wreckage in my friends’ lives when those vows are broken and a divorce happens, much to their own dismay. That scares me. I’ve seen married family members navigate strained years only to pull through, radiating love and happiness. That inspires me.
Marriage is hard, everyone knows that. It requires bravery & faith & luck – to get to the starting line and to finish the race. Those are 3 attributes which are foreign to me.
I don’t hate weddings, despite my single state. I love them. They remind me of why it is worth it to spend a fortune in therapy, to bother going on blind dates, to grow comfortable with the excruciatingly uncomfortable state of vulnerability when it is so tempting to chuck everything and become a cat-less cat-lady. They remind me of what is at stake. When I look at my friend Brown Socks and his beautiful wife Tinkerbell, my heart aches for them, because I know that the Universe will throw them some curveballs, like it did my parents. Yet I am proud of them for embracing vulnerability and love and deciding to face those curveballs together. There is a heroism to facing everyday life, and marriage seems like the most heroic thing of all to undertake.
Also, the chance to wear a fancy dress. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!
Bonus: for those of you who haven’t heard of the amazing tumblr feed #myfriendsaremarried check it out NOW.