it’s one of those magical times – an expanding moment of independence within marriage. He gets the rest he needs, I get the time to follow my solitary pursuits and look at naughty comics online.
I’ve just finished reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. Two things are lingering:
1. She and her finace had performed their own private vows to each other, which for them sufficed. I definitely stand on the same side of this line as her friend, who said in frustration, “Marriage is not prayer”.
To her, their private vows sufficed, and it was coming to terms with what society demanded that she found so hard.
To me, her very reluctance to get married makes it clear that speaking your own vows to each other and speaking them legally, with witnesses, are very different things. They had already vowed fidelity to each other, to love each other always, to be kind and true. But something about making those vows legal and official absolutely terrified her.
(I don’t blame her. It is terrifying.)
It’s different for everyone, of course, but I know a lot of people who have experienced the same as me – that getting engaged/married (for me it was really the engagement) changes everything. People tell themselves all the time, “We’re practically married anyway, it’ll just be like a big party to celebrate that”.
But having someone with the authority to do so declare your union official is something else altogether. And there’s something about that particular cultural ceremony that allows vows to really happen. That’s what’s so moving about weddings, right? In that moment, they really are going to love each other forever.
2. It was a long time and a lot of panic before she came across the idea that marriage can be subversive – that it’s a cultural reaction to the human insistence on intimacy, in the face of anything.
This is what romance novels say. It’s what people so often miss about them.