On Saturday, Sean and I got married. In an extremely private ceremony. There was us two, our two daughters, and my best friend. On top of that, we had the marriage commissioner, she brought our 2nd witness, and we hired a photographer to capture the ceremony and take a few photos of us after.
I am going to do this post in two parts. This one, the first, is going to talk about what I thought of marriage and how that has changed. The 2nd part which I will write in a few days, will talk about why we chose to get married in such a secretive way.
Sean asked me to marry him when our K-Girl was still very young. A year or two old. I said yes, but we never really got to planning a wedding. I wasn’t sure that I really believed in the “institution” of marriage at first and then I became really sure that I didn’t at all. Funny how you can be really sure of something in your 20s and then you move along into your 30s and things change.
The past played a role in my dislike of marriage. I mean the distant past of basically “getting rid” of your daughter, like she was some unwanted detrimental piece of property and some other man was going to take on the “burden” of her. That idea of marriage was not something I bought into and not something that I wanted to support. And that’s not the take Sean had on marriage at all, but that idea of it is there in the history of humans. It seemed almost like a dirty thing to be involved in and I just didn’t want to take part in it.
I didn’t know who I was when I was in my early 20s, never mind knowing who Sean really was. We were still figuring ourselves out, growing into our adult selves and already in the role of parents. There was no way I could understand and know Sean when I was focused on a baby and myself. And I knew, simply based on the young people around us that were in relationships, but backed up very strongly with stats, that the chances of us making it, were very low. I really didn’t want to get married if it was just going to end in divorce.
I saw no problems with living together as a family (which we were even without being married) and to progress along buying a house and going on vacation and doing the things that families do without a certificate saying that we were okay to do that. I am a firm believer that families come in all shapes and sizes and I respect the diversity of them. We didn’t need a piece of paper to tell us or anyone else that we were a family. We already knew we were and we didn’t care what other people thought.
People often say that a wedding is for the family, and I think that that is what our society has come to expect. I’m not much for expectations being placed on me and I wasn’t willing to put up a pile of cash to host a party for everyone else when it would’ve been an uncomfortable situation for me. I think when two people get married, it should be about them. Plain and simple.
In my 20s, I was incredibly selfish. So selfish. And so was Sean. I think most people in their 20s are pretty selfish actually. I don’t say that to put young adults down, I think it’s part of the culture we live in (indulgent and extending adolescence as late as we can before we take on real adult responsibilities – even those of us with children) and part of it is us just finding out who we are. At times Sean and I were terrible to each other as people often can be. Yes we were also wonderful to each other at times too, but looking back with hindsight at the relationship, I am so happy that we didn’t get married back then.
I even commented in a conversation with my friend Brian one time, that I didn’t think either of us (him or I) were the “marrying kind.” It just wasn’t who I was.
So why’d it change?
Late last summer, Sean and I had decided that this year we would like to finally get married, though I only told a couple of friends this and again we made no concrete plans. We had each been through a tremendous amount of growth and soul searching and we talked about that with each other quite a lot. It was time to move on to a better place from where we had been previously and we began to do that wholeheartedly. I remember a day when we were sitting, talking, just being completely and brutally honest about some things that had been going on. And it felt good to feel like there was nothing for us to hide from each other. That no matter what difficult times we may find ourselves in, that we could work through them together. This was a different phase of our journey together.
And then I lost Brian in September of last year and I realized how fleeting this life really is. That in an instant, a person you care deeply about can be gone, and that we must make the time to do the things that really matter to us.
Sean is the kind of man I am lucky to know. And if things hadn’t worked out for us, I still would’ve been grateful that he was the father of my children. No one else would’ve done that job with the amount of love and kindness that he has.
Besides being a great dad, Sean is free with his love and affection with all of us, never withholding. He somehow puts up with my “crazy” and rather than finding it unbearable, it’s somehow endearing to him. He is supportive and works hard for us, finding immense value in the fact that I stay at home with our children and homeschool them. He looks at me in a way that clearly tells those around us, that he loves me. Through my changing shape, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, he has always found me and made me feel physically attractive.
Some days he does such things as leave me a handwritten love letter, or surprise me when I wake up with a text about why he loves me. He randomly buys me flowers or does some cleaning to surprise me when I get home from somewhere. He is very clear in his actions and words and intentions, that he loves me.
I have never been more open with anyone else, as I have with him. I have never laughed so hard in someone’s presence, as I have with him. I have never felt so comfortable with someone, as I have with him.
We are passionate. We are friends. We are supportive of each other.
I feel that I can count on him when I really need to. And that’s important.
And at the end of the day, what it came down to, is that I choose him. I don’t have those doubts that I did in my 20s. I understand both myself and him much better, but I also recognize that I don’t necessarily need to understand everything. If we come across a situation that we’re unsure of or that is difficult, we can figure it out together.
At the end of the day, I understand that I love him, I choose him, and I wanted to make that commitment official. To let him know very seriously, that I wasn’t changing my mind.
We are only here for a short while. I feel that my actions in this life define me, and I wanted this to be one of them.