“How’s Married Life?” I’ve been asked that question a lot lately. The problem with that question is that it suggests that Married Life is a lot different from Unmarried Life. Aside from the few days of dreamy bliss that followed an incredibly fun wedding, it hasn’t been much different at all.
AC had recently been at the wedding reception of a couple were together six years before getting married. That’s a long time. “What do you suppose happens after six years that inspires two people to say, ‘I think we should get married now’?” I asked. “I’ve never heard a good answer to that question,” AC replied. Come to think of it, neither have I.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about my husband. Rather, it’s the purpose of the institution that has left me puzzled. Phil and I were together for almost 3 and a 1/2 years before we got engaged, and somewhere in that time, it struck me. This is the man I love and love being with. And I’d still be with him, same as always, even if we hadn’t gotten married. I imagine the same would be true for many of our other married and soon-to-be married friends.
Marriage is said to be the ultimate commitment, but we had already made our decisions to commit ourselves to this other person long before. It just kind of happens that way, no formal ceremony needed. And in that time, most of us even did the things that traditionally came after the wedding. We lived together. We had already started setting up a life together.
But, if we had already been doing all of these things, essentially being Married without the actual formality before we finally did make it official, what meaning does Marriage actually have for us? Does it ever feel different?