Third Time’s the Charm?
I went to a third wedding yesterday.
Third for the bride. I do not know how many times the groom has been married, if at all.
The bride was a mother and a grandmother. Her five-year-old grandson gave a speech, “Hello?” he said, his eyes widening at his voice through the microphone. “I love you, Grandma Katie.”
The ceremony was simple in the park’s gazebo. The priest spoke of true love, perfect unions, and gratitude for the sovereign above. They kissed as husband and wife. We stood and clapped.
How did her other weddings go? Did she speak different vows? Did her sister make a different speech that didn’t mention the couple growing old together? Did anyone suspect that it would end one day?
At Last, My Love Has Come Along
Justin is my boyfriend. He is the first boyfriend I’ve ever had. I was 30 when we met in 2015 at a party in San Diego. Exactly thirty days and something like twenty-five dates later, I moved to San Francisco. We kept in touch. Less than a year later, I told him I loved him too.
I was a relationship virgin. Before Justin, there was the boy that kissed my sister, the so-far-normal boy who was not-so-normal, the boy I met on the Subway who changed his morning commute instead of breaking up with me, and the boy who told me “I have a girlfriend now” over Skype right after I took off my shirt.
There were a few other boys too. Sharon Jones was singing about me in the song 100 Days 100 Nights. No boy was ever my boy for more than three months — The first month they told me I was funny. The second month, they told me I was exhausting. The third month, they ignored me until I finally figured out on my own that we were no longer dating.
I Don’t Not Want to Marry You
In 2019, Justin drove us back to his home in San Diego, my entire San Francisco bedroom and random kitchen stuff packed into boxes, just barely fitting into the eight-foot bed of his pickup. We listened to the This is Enrique Iglesias playlist on Spotify for the entire eight-hour drive.
We talk about getting married. He tells me he wants to marry me.
He asks, “Do you want to marry me?” And because he is a dude, not a woman, he laughs when I hesitate and can never completely say yes. Eventually, I say, “I don’t not want to marry you!”
I love him. He makes me happy. I don’t want to break up, nor can I think of any reason we would in the future. There is no red flag. No gut feeling to get out. No little voice I am ignoring. There is nothing. When he says, “Do you want to marry me?” all I can think is, “Not right now.”
I’ve never been one of those girls who dreams about her wedding day. The idea of one day being the most perfect and best day of my life seems like a lot of pressure. The sheer number of decisions that go into planning a wedding make my head spin. A gracious guest, but never the hostess. I like to participate, but not plan.
Ok, so I don’t fantasize about our wedding. That’s not a reason not to get married. Right? So what else is holding me back?
These days he is working so hard. To manage and grow his plumbing company. To pay for and renovate the house he grew up in, which he purchased in 2016 from his life-long landlord. When he is home, he is tired. Understandably so.
My boyfriend can be absent. But my husband cannot. “I’ll want to marry you when you have time to be married.” And on that day, the world will keep spinning, but we will stand still, ready to start our lives together.
Beyond love, there is one obvious and righteous reason to get married. To have children, of course.
On our first date, I told Justin I did not want to have kids. This is not a political or environmental statement. It’s not a statement at all. Call it a personal preference.
I don’t particularly care for children, and pregnancy completely grosses me out. Perhaps in my forties, that maternal instinct will kick in. However, my ego does not need to birth a baby to love the child as my own.
With no biological clock counting down the last of my thirty-something fertile years, I can continue to hold down the snooze button on the subject of getting married.
Another nagging thought about marriage: I am scared. How do I know he is the one? After all, this is my first relationship!
Maybe I am just under the seduction of love and unable or unwilling to admit that our lives are too different to merge long term. Every couple has their issues. He says he is working so hard for our future together. His devotion to the future renders him absent in the present. Lately, we’ve been fighting more. Is this what I really want?
But then he walks through the door. And I smile without thinking. Because I really do love him too.
Watching the bride throughout the reception, I understood this was not just another wedding, another marriage. It was the start of something new with the hope, faith and certainty that this love will be the love that lasts forever.