Posted by: norstarnewengland | December 11, 2009

Marriage is What Brings Us Together

We either said it ourselves, or one of her sisters would tease us that they would say this during the wedding ceremony, perhaps as a reading:

“MA-wej…is what bwings us togethah…”

This would be usually followed by the usual giggles and retorts.

That sentence said with an affected lisp comes from the movie Princess Bride. A clip from the scene is here [let’s see if this link lasts a year]. Other quotes also voiced were “the dweem within a dweem” and “do you have the wing?”

Of course, they didn’t go through with their threats – but – during the ceremony, as I am standing there with my bride, there was an opening statement by the minister and two quotes read by people we had picked. I caught at least two times when one of them was trying to keep still and not laugh out loud when one of the speakers started a sentence with ‘Marriage.’ One particular passage had the word marriage in it at least three times, and she said it was getting harder and harder to stifle that laughter each time. I had to control a smile when the minister said, “Do you have the rings?” But, we made it through in dignity and in joy! Since this is a blog about change, I’ll not bore you with the details. Just that it all came together in a wonderful celebration – that despite the tropical downpours outside.

In defense of the need for a wedding ceremony, there are reasons for ritual, and I think the wedding ceremony is a good example. The ritual’s purpose is to provide that bridge from thinking as separate individuals to thinking both as a single entity and as linked individuals. Now, the ritual should be tailored to the individuals to help them make that tradition. For us, we chose a simple more traditional wedding ceremony, where we picked our vows and quotes to be read. There was the placing of the rings on each other’s fingers with a form of the “with this symbolic ring I thee wed…” statement. There was the usual procession down the aisle to the altar and the joined walk to the door. What were missing were the two worn out wedding songs – I substituted the movement from Beethoven’s 9th, Ode to Joy. We also ‘threw out’ the idea of throwing the bouquet, well, because just about all of the women were married at least at one time. So I had the bright idea of giving the bouquet to the matriarch of the now joined family, her grandmother, who was overjoyed with the presentation and didn’t take her eyes off of us the whole rest of the day! But the ceremony plus the reception did what it was supposed to do. Families and friends had the chance to mingle with one another. And the two of us are closer together than before after going through the whole affair, having fun along the way.

Do I FEEL closer? The answer is, yes, though I felt close to her before. Some of it is the fact that society views marriage as an outward symbol of a lasting commitment. Internally, it is the fact that I find comfort knowing that there is a companion that will be there and that also has a vested interest in me. I don’t think that there was a time in the ceremony that there was a “Sha-zam!” moment and I suddenly felt that I was married. But, by the time we were on our way to Williamsburg, VA, for our honeymoon, it was definitely different. The best way I can express it is that I was thinking less of us being a couple because we were one; like reminding myself that I was married, then it just became implicit that I was married.
There is also the fact that I had to change my habits or rituals in life. For instance, I want to make sure that when I come home, I don’t just go flop down at the computer in the office. There is room for being alone, but there is also the time together, completing tasks at hand such as sitting down, usually in the kitchen, paying bills and writing thank you notes.

There is also the difference in how other people now perceive us as a couple. I found a blog entry that expressed it so well, that I include the link here and find that I can’t add to it other than to say I agree with it and have experienced some of it, myself. I have to say that we fell into most of the traditional divisions of chores – it wasn’t planned, it just happened. I can do the laundry, while she can mow the lawn, but so far, neither one of us has done so. She does pick up the shovel faster, though and admits to being almost obsessive about removing the snow from the walking and driving areas. But, that’s what marriage is about, too – diving the labor so that living is a little easier.

To tie this up, despite the superficial and mocking intention of the statement, “MA-wej…is what bwings us togethah…,” I find that there is a lot of truth to that statement. It is the marriage that brings us together. The wedding is that bridge to get to the marriage, and if done with the right intentions and right, thoughtful planning, will send us in the right direction.

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