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But What Does It Mean?

October 2, 2010

There are so many phrases that get tossed around like a ship in a hurricane when you first get married.  You know the ones… “Oh, this is our happy ending!”  “When will you begin your family?”  “Oh, you’re here alone?  How come?”  “This is the best day of your life!”  But what do they really mean?  Stop and think about it with me.  What you are really saying or asking when you utter one of these phrases?

When people are planning their weddings, a lot of people claim that this is their happy ending come true.  Ending?  Since when is a wedding an ending?  I have always believed it to be a combination of a beginning and a continuation.  Sure, I could see it as the end of dating and singledom, but why focus on the ending part?  It makes it sound like people are only excited not to have to date anymore, forgetting that they now have something bigger and better to look forward to:  spending their lives with the person they have chosen (hopefully with the right mindset).  Your relationship does change some when you get married, but you don’t forget all of it.  You add to it.  It’s not an ending, folks.

“This is the best day of your life!”  I tried arguing this point with my father before the wedding, but he maintained that the phrase can actually be correct.  Maybe I’m simply a constant optimist, but doesn’t this one sound a little pessimistic when you get down to it?  Weddings are indeed some of the best days of people’s lives, but the best day?  What if you have children?  What about the day(s) he/she/they is/are born?  What about all of the other days when you and your beloved have spent time together to get to know each other on a deeper level?  I asked B if he believed that our wedding was the best day of his life.  While part of me wanted him to say yes, he was honest and said that it was among the best days; it was hard to pick one singular one.  There were days on our honeymoon when we got to experience our new marriage that may have rivaled some of the happenings of our wedding day.  There could have been days when we were dating that could have done the same.

Plus, doesn’t it sound like your life is all downhill after your wedding?  There is no other event that could possibly be as much fun after that, so don’t even try.  Seriously?  Who made up this rule?  I try to have some sort of fun every day, and while none have measured up to our wedding, I don’t plan on stopping just because someone put it out there that the best day of my life has already passed.

Now that I am married, there is a common greeting when I show up alone to something:  “Hi!  How are you?  Oh, where’s B?  He’s not with you?  Why not?”  Of course, I am sure they are asking simply to show their support for our relationship and their caring nature for B, but the feminist side of me questions it.  Can I not show up to something without my husband?  Have I lost value as a singular person because I have attached my life and name to another person?  I don’t believe that I have, but others could disagree.  B is a part of my life, a big part, but not my whole life.  I have thoughts, feelings, moods, hobbies, and interests that are separate from him, and he doesn’t always want to tag along when I want to enjoy them.  This coming summer, I plan on visiting one of my best friends in Washington state for a week… alone.  Mr. Library is certainly invited, but he doesn’t have the vacation time.  Instead of saying I cannot go, I’m going anyway.  I’m still my own person and I want to go visit a friend.  Hopefully the flight attendants don’t kick me off the plane for not having my husband with me…

Finally, –and this one gets me every time — there is the question most newlyweds start hearing on their first full day after the wedding:  “When are you going to start your family?”  Well, I’m pretty sure I started it yesterday when I married my husband, but thanks for asking!  Babies do not a family make.  A family can be two people, eight people, ten people, three people, a person and an animal… whatever!  A family is what you make of it.  Just because we’re not having kids right off the bat doesn’t mean that we aren’t a family.  Do you get a new bumper sticker when you get pregnant that proclaims your status as a “real” family all of a sudden?  Not that I am aware of.  My husband and I are a family.  Sure, it’s a small one, and we made add pets or children later in life, but for now, we love our family.  We have our own personalized mailing labels.  We have our name on the buzzer system outside of our apartment building.  We are a family.  Babies not included.

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