Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony.
No, I did not go and get married, although a lot of my friends and some of my family have been asking me a lot lately “Why not?”
Some of my homeboys have recently sent me messages via sms and on facebook about getting married, about them getting married. I even recently met an old school mate I had not seen in over ten years, and part of what I learnt in the less than five minutes we spoke was that he was getting married in September.
When he told me he was getting married, I was happy for him. Genuinely happy. And then I got home and stopped and thought about what he was setting himself up for, and I was not envious of him.
I have never been married before, so maybe I am not in the best position to talk about this, but I have friends who have and, amazingly, no matter how much they try not to, they end up frazzled – either as a team or as individuals – at the latest by the wedding day.
Boy meets girl; boy and girl fall in love; boy and girl decide they cannot bear to live without each other; girl is checking her calender, ticking off the days till he pops the question; boy is checking his pocket for when he can afford the aftermath of the question, while going through the “Is she really the one?”, “How do I ask her?”, “When do I ask her?” questions phase.
The question is finally asked during sex, during dinner, during a walk, over the phone, via sms, by any of the thousand means available; girl says yes and then proceeds to shed a few, or a lot of, tears which I don’t get because she had always hoped the question was going to get asked!
Breaking the bank.
In my experience, no matter how little or how much money they have, it is never a can of beans to plan and execute a wedding.
The first thing that hits them is how different they really are – they disagree about the venue, theme, clothes, catering, music, guest list, rings, date, the big picture and the tiniest details.
Then there is the actual execution of these things after the days and nights of bickering and fighting every step of the way.
We fast forward to the actual day itself.
One can be forgiven for thinking that since you had a whole year to plan the wedding, the ceremony will go according to script.
You both wake up early and discover that:
Bride: After spending the last week between the cake maker’s, the caterer’s and decorator’s; in meetings and call conferences with your maid of honour and other bride’s maids; checking in with your fiancé; spending all of yesterday going through everything with a fine-tooth comb; going to bed pretty late and sleeping in snatches, you wake up and watch as everything is falling to pieces around your ears. The horror!
Things are not as they should be. Then, there is the hairdresser not coming with enough attachment or the right colour for your hair; the make up artist hopping from foot to foot because you won’t sit still; the bride’s maids falling over each other and not getting anything done.
Groom: After a week of feeling like an ATM, shelling out more money than you thought you had; riding the teasing of your boys as they usher you into this new life; taking a crash course in wedding planing because your phone could ring at any time of the day – or night – and you would be needed to make a decision on an item, or a choice between two; explaining why that choice and then reassuring her that her choice is equally good and then hanging up confused because she had already made a choice and did not really need your input; playing mediator, counsellor, councillor, sparring partner, comforter; spending the last two days trying to convince your boys you don’t need a Bachelor’s party and losing because they went ahead and organised one anyway, you wake up to a morning of non-stop phonecalls because the Jeep her uncle promised her is not there yet. “I am neither the jeep nor your uncle,” you want to yell, but can’t.
The jeep has been delivered, but the decorator is nowhere to be found. The decorator is done and the bride is sitting there waiting, but the driver as taken a leave of absence without informing anyone.
It is bedlam; absolute chaos!
The good thing is, in my experience, whether you fret about these things or not, unless one party leaves the other standing at the altar, the ceremony comes and goes. You say your vows to each other before men and God, you mean those vows – even if only at the time you are saying them. People applaud, then you go and wine and dine them. Eventualy, they disperse and go home.
Considering that marriage is a ‘for life’ institution, what remains after the wedding is what was before, what will come up from time to time till death separates one partner from the other. It is a question really, a reality: Why Did I Get Married?
PS: A very good friend shared this with me, and I in turn felt a need to share it with you. I think of it as The Love Jones.
He loved me, loves me – so he said. Fire, passion, witty back and forths, friendship, play fights…
And then fights, quarrels, hurt, pain, coldness. It all changed, seemingly in the blink of an eye, but it had been creeping in slowly.
Contradictions, extremes… That’s how I remember him, remember us. No, it is how I cannot forget us. I love him and I hate him, and yet I love him. He’s brought so much pleasure and yet so much pain.
Still I return again and again. Each time, I initiate, I make the move. He doesn’t push me away, If he would, I could probably move on, move past this limbo I find myself in. Probably.
(We share kisses.) Kisses that always start as no more than breath meeting breath, then the faintest touch of lips, then a deep joining that draws from the centre of my being, pulling from that spot between my legs up through the restless butterflies in my stomach and finally coming out my mouth a deep moan. Kisses that say so much.
Yes, I remember and I love him… No, I hate him. That’s what I’m left with, kisses that can’t be forgotten; A hate, no, a love that won’t go away.
In the same space alone together (with him), my heart rules, but with distance, my head dominates. And so it remains … I hate him…. No … I love him.