Thursday, October 23, 2014

We’re goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married…

Wedding Chapel 
Yes. We’re finally getting hitched. Tying the knot. Making it official. Or as the song goes, “we’re goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-rried…” The chapel you see above, specifically. It’s probably news to several people we know as most just assume we already are, what with the two kids, two cats, and one house in nine years and all. And who can blame them?

So why now? Well, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally did it - we figured it’s now cool again to get married. (I’m kidding, people. KIDDING.)

Frankly, it’s because - and here’s the unromantic part of why we’re taking the plunge - I got tired of lying. Not that we were purposely deceitful; I never had any issues with admitting that we weren’t married, but now that we’re at a new place with a relatively clean slate, neighbors, friends, and parents of our kids who meet us automatically assume we’re married. Heck, even the UPS driver does.

And when they refer to My Guy as my husband or me as his wife, it’s just awkward to try to correct all these people we don’t know, so we just let it go (this is where both my girls will giggle and break into that song that never dies from “Frozen”). Sometimes, when calling the bank or utility company, just to make things easier, we use “wife” and “husband” to avoid having to use the ambiguous term, “partner”. Which is ironic, considering it’s the best description of what we are - partners in everything we do; partners for life.

Yet, it seems to need a qualifier or further explanation because it’s also a term used by gay couples and those in business together so instead of clarifying things, it only makes it more confusing. As for calling him my “boyfriend” - I’d stopped that the moment Little Miss was born over five years ago. Boyfriend just seems to trivialize what we have. It also feels fleeting or temporary, even juvenile. Like someone I’m “going steady with”, and I don’t even remember the last time I said that. In high school maybe?

I blame society and our culture for not having a term that adequately describes our relationship. Not everyone wants to be married, and even though our relationship is not any less than those who choose the opposite, without a proper reference that captures the breadth and depth of our commitment, we’re left to patch holes in the lexicon with qualifiers and adjectives. When we started filing papers together as a family, we used to joke that we’ll just start calling one another “D.P.” as in Domestic Partners. Maybe we’d start a movement; maybe we could create a new status quo.

That didn’t take, obviously. “D.P.” just sounds ridiculous - even I couldn’t say that with a straight face.

Since neither of us are religious, we didn’t have to worry about sin. We also went to an attorney to plan our estate and had wills prepared. With the religious and legal matters settled, we didn’t really see the need to make things official. Especially since I’d been married before, in a church nonetheless. So if God and the law couldn’t keep us together then, why would I readily jump into another marriage knowing that those are scarcely the ingredients we need for a happy, long-lasting relationship?

My Guy and I were already happy, so what could marriage give us that we didn’t already have?

The truth, apparently. After moving to Texas, the frequency in which I find myself lying (or rather, avoiding telling the truth) about our status just to go with the flow - my husband this, my husband that - has increased dramatically, and I cringe with each incident. When people assumed we were married, we just nodded and smiled. Sure. Whatever.

And I couldn’t sure, whatever our relationship anymore. Not when we’ve been through so much together. Not when we’d fought so hard to stay with each other. And won. Twice! We love how far we’ve come, and we are incredibly proud of our commitment to each other because of the shit we had to go through to get here.

But when we can’t even have our union recognized in a way that it deserves to be, it’s a little very frustrating. I know I shouldn’t need to justify who and what we are to others, but when we’re in mixed company and I find myself admitting we’re not married, it almost trivializes all the work we have put into our relationship. And that really bothers me.

As long as society reveres the sacred union of a marriage above others and exalts the status of “husband” and “wife”, it feels like there would always be this invisible hierarchy among families, and we’d always be second rate. Which is hard for me to accept, because we’re every bit as committed as those who are married. But I hate that there is no way to outwardly express that with one perfect word. And I hate cringing each time I don’t correct someone who assumed we’re married.

Hence the wedding day in five days, when he’s literally making an honest woman out of me. Admittedly, all of this is a rather unromantic way to arrive at the altar. BUT. Romance is not dead.

It will still be a day full of love. It will be a day all about us as a couple, us as a family, as a wedding should be.

There will only be the six of us - the bride and groom, my best friend, his best friend, and our best girls - at the chapel, but it’s a meaningful six. After all, they’re the people who were there at the start of our relationship, and who stood by and supported us as a couple throughout the years, and our girls were the ones who have strengthened it. I love that they get to witness their parents exchange their vows in front of them, so they can see for themselves that yes, we are truly and deeply committed, and that no, love isn’t just about princess fairy tales and long white gowns.

Love can look like this too.

Even though we were adamant that it would be an informal affair, My Guy refused a courthouse wedding. In our search for a place that best reflects us, we found a little non-religious outdoor chapel that’s part of The Wizard Academy (hah! it’s actually a business school but we thought, hey, we both love the Harry Potter books, how perfect!), and it’s perched on the hills of Austin, which is our favorite thing about our new home. 

It’s going to be both simple yet exquisite, because as unromantic as we might have been in arriving at this decision (no, no one proposed; we just talked ourselves into this), it’s still going to be a beautiful day.

It’s the day I get to marry the love of my life after all. In the end, despite all the fighting of the status quo and the hesitation in giving in to convention, the girl in me just can’t wait to really, truly call the boy of my dreams my husband.