T, my partner, does not. Want to get married, that is.
The ‘M’ word came up again this weekend. Probably because I brought it up for the seventeenth time. “So I’ve been thinking about getting married…” I began. “Let me stop you there”, came the response. And stop me, he did.
The will-we-won’t-we, do-we-don’t-we discussion has been surfacing every few weeks since we found out about Whoopsy. Firstly, there was Discussion 1. entitled ‘Do we get married because we’re having a kid?’ It was quickly decided that this is not 1957 and we’re not from rural gun-toting families, so no shotgun wedding would be necessary. Discussion 2., quickly followed, entitled ‘But now everyone is going to think that I’m the girl that you knock up, but don’t marry...’ There wasn’t really a conclusive agreement at the end of this discussion. Maybe I am the girl you knock up but don’t marry… Maybe we shouldn’t open that can of worms.
My position on marriage is simple. I pushed out a 8lb 8oz baby and therefore I deserve a really big party wearing a really pretty dress with all the food that I like best. I don’t try and pretend that my reasons for wanting to get married are deep. I love to throw parties and I can’t think of anything more satisfying than planning and throwing the biggest party that most people will ever throw. Yes, it would be great to crystallise our relationship, bring our tribes together, demonstrate our love to one another and commit to work together as a partnership for as long as we live, but if you told me that I had to do those things at a registry office wearing a cream pant suit, I’d probably lose interest in the whole wedding thing fairly rapidly.
My partner, T’s, position is less clear than mine. First and foremost, he doesn’t know whether he believes in the institution of marriage. However, he says if he did want to get married, he’d want to marry me. But on the other hand, he thinks we’ve been together too short a time to commit to each other through legal means.
He’s got a point. We’re a relatively new couple, still getting to know each other in some respects, and trying not to put too much pressure on ourselves. When we argue the option to break up is ever present, since neither of us has decided – or at least verbalised – that the other one is ‘the one’. We’re probably very similar to most couples out there who have been together for twenty months. What makes us a little bit different is the fact that we also have a nine month old baby. You’d think that this teeny tiny fact would fast-track the relationship. I certainly did. I thought, given that we skipped the part of a relationship between the first few drunken, ecstatic weeks of fucking and having children, those other milestones that commonly come in-between the two would just get ticked off the list at some point with very little consideration or resistance.
Since we’re not married, not engaged, do not co-own a house, the only shared commitment we have is to our Whoopsy Baby. And even then, the commitment is to raise Whoopsy as co-parents, but no where in the small print does it say that we have to do that as a couple. There is no real commitment between he and I that tells each other, and the outside world, we choose one another, we’ve chosen this and we’re sticking with it. Right now, every day, we have to choose to fight for our relationship and make it work. There is no agreement that we’re in it for the long haul. And there is no legal obligation to love one another.
He has asked whether I want to buy a home together in the next year. I think that’s T’s way of finding a compromise: a legal commitment to our family that actually has a potential return on investment. I counter offered him my own compromise: a ‘We’re not getting married’ party. A huge blow out black-tie celebration under a gorgeous sky, free flowing champagne accompanied by a deep raspy blues band. A wedding with all the trimmings but no meat. It’s actually a great solution because not only do I get my wedding, but it’ll keep the divorce costs to the bare minimum.
I see it working like this: I’ll bowl in in a long dress, wearing a flower crown, to the blues version of ‘Gold Digger’. The guests, all of whom are dresses in tuxedos and ball dresses, will applaud as I reach the centrepiece of the room – the champagne waterfall. Above the sounds of the champagne crashing into the fountain we will make an announcement that we have decided to live in perfect non-matrimony. However, we’ll add, we still be accepting gifts. After a quick speech by T to explain why I’m the girl he wants not to marry for the rest of his life, we’ll get on with the best part of a wedding: the conga.