A Proposal: Let’s Stop Making ‘Wedding’ One of Life’s Key Check Marks.by Joy Engel on April 28, 2011
I tried to keep the cynicism alive, I really did. But it’s hard to be anti-Royal Wedding while also being friends with Chiara and communicating daily with a colleague in London. And once I realized that being interested in the Royal Wedding essentially means day drinking and talking about fancy hats (two of my favorite pastimes), I was all on board.
Like all short-lived obsessions, I’ve thrown myself into this. I watched the Lifetime movie, I read some articles about their history and crowned myself an expert on Wills and Kate. I think they’re nice. I think they actually love each other. I think she has glorious hair. And that’s a lot for me to think about a couple I will never actually meet. Let’s have some more champagne.
My wedding enthusiasm is slightly dampened by the enthusiasm of others. You can’t turn a page of US Weekly without someone criticizing her for working. Or for not working enough. Or for moving to a small island in Wales (on that score the criticism seems to be directed more at Wales as a place than the size of the island) to be with Wills. Or for sticking around too long. Regardless of what Kate’s done or not for her relationship, she can’t seem to do it right. I don’t pretend to know her or her motivations, but I will relay one little anecdote: Apparently, when told by a classmate that she was “lucky to be dating William,” Kate retorted, “He’s lucky to be dating me!” Girl is doing just fine.
The other night I was watching the Geraldo Rivera Show (apparently he is still around? And is paid to talk about things in a public forum? The mind boggles), who had some guests (He even has guests! Bless.) whose specific role was to give “tips” about how to “avoid being a ‘Waitie Middleton’” and get your man to propose sooner rather than later.
As someone who is younger than both Wills and Kate, the concept that they should have married prior to this week is terrifying. Terrifying. There are days in my life when I feel suffocated by my responsibility to my cat. My cat! Don’t even get me started on how boyfriends make me feel.
I’m pretty sick of marriage being thrown around as the end prize for which everyone seems to be jockeying, and this wedding is one massive example of that trend. Your life will be filled with many things, lords and ladies (sticking with a theme here). You’ll have friends, careers, adventures and interests. You’ll have loves. You’ll have breakups. But you may never have a marriage. And it’s high time we stop making “wedding” one of life’s key check-marks.
But we are on a dating site. So it’s worth noting that we are all looking for something else to fit into our lives – it’s just time to admit that it doesn’t have to be marriage. At the end of the day, I think the thing for which the majority of us are searching is someone to hang out with, to share our coffee and our news, someone who doesn’t irritate us past the point of exasperation, with whom we have chemistry and someone we respect. It doesn’t matter if you put a ring on that person (especially when the state doesn’t ‘allow’ some of our nearest and dearest to put rooms on their beloveds, ahem), what matters is the understanding the two of you have.
I’ve had friends who’ve gotten married and made it work. And I’ve had friends who approached marriage as something they were supposed to do, and been miserable. I’ve also had friends who never got married but lived happily together for years (I think we can all agree that Brad and Angie are happily partnered and perhaps finally stop asking them about their plans to “make it official”). Marriage is something that’s personal. In no way should it be seen as one of life’s “musts.”
During the course of their relationship, Wills and Kate defied historic relationship convention. They’re not going to the alter as virgins, heck, the kids have lived together for years. They broke up and got back together. They probably had sex with other people. When we put on our fascinators, pour our champagne (I’ll take two glasses, thank you) and wake up at an ungodly hour tomorrow, we should toast to more than just a conventional marriage. We should toast to the boundaries they pushed. And hope, even if just a little, that they’re helping all of us to see marriage differently.
Joy Engel lives and works in Portland, Maine where she tweets far too much and solves the occasional murder-mystery while riding around on a bicycle. Everything she writes is her personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of her employer or its clients.