for all of the congratulations and lovely comments. I'm still getting used to the "being engaged" thing. Nothing has shifted in our relationship, but I know that others (read: family members) imbue the decision to make it legal with their own meaning.
Which is fine. I'm okay with others interpreting our decision to mean whatever they think "marriage" means. I'm even okay with their calling it a "marriage". I just have HUGE-ANTIC, GINORMOUS problems with the word "marriage" because of how the religious right has politicized it and defined it and used it to exclude people in love. For that reason, I will not call the legal arrangement a "marriage".
Oh, don't get me wrong, SM and I are committed to each other. We love each other. We already have a family and a house. Our finances and our lives are inextricably mixed. We rely on each other. We are partners. In fact, but for the legal benefits of this little ceremony, I would be totally, 1000% okay with not getting "married" (unionized!). I admit, however, I do want the legal benefits. The emotional and social benefits? I already have a relationship that is incredibly supportive and happy -- a piece of paper won't change that. The social benefits? I could give a shit.
But I also recognize that it does mean something to SM for us to take this step. And if that would make him happier, I'm totally okay with that too. Now, I don't want this to sound like the decision to get hitched is purely a concession on my part to him. It's not. I do want to do it too, just not for the same exact reasons. Our legal union and the promises contained therein have more symbolic meaning to him, and that symbolism is more important to him than me. I have never been the type to dream about what my wedding would be or design my wedding gown or any of that stuff. It's just not me. Heck, the whole idea of a ceremony focused on me for such a very private sharing of emotions makes me a bit queasy. Forget the big, poofy gown and the walking down the aisle. I'd rather elope. For me, the whole legal thing is important for exactly that -- the legal aspects. I completely eschew, reject and will not tolerate any religious overtones to this union. Here again, let me be clear. For me, the point of making a relationship legal is the benefit of the legal protections. My relationship already has everything else I could hope for. I do not need or want religious sanction. I do, however, want legal sanction. Therefore, there will be no religion. We have love and commitment and fidelity on our own. We do not need the church to make those promises to each other; they are inherent in our relationship already... which goes back to my point that I'd be perfectly happy to keep things as they are, except I want the legal benefits.
I know that sounds unromantic, but think of it this way: we do not need anyone's blessings or sanction. We have that on our own. In fact, we are so commited to each other that we want to ensure that should anything happen to one of us, that the other is taken care of. Isn't that the basis of a "marriage" anyway? Now, we could do that by all sorts of legal documents or we could get unionized. We're doing the latter. It's easier. And it has meaning -- for SM and our families.
And, yeah, we'll have a big ol' party too. Small ceremony, just the basics. But a blowout bash to celebrate with everyone we care about. I can't not have some kind of ceremony. My mother would be devastated. I am her only daughter, and I know that my wedding, whatever form it may take, is something she has been looking forward to since I was born (probably anyway). In the past many years, she has learned that she needed to temper her expectations, but I have always known that my wedding was something she wanted to be a part of. And she's my mom. I'm happy to do that for her.
So while SM and I are making it legal for our own reasons, we will have some kind of ceremony to include our families. We haven't worked out how to do the ceremony (small scale) and still do the party (large scale), but we may do something over a long weekend that involves a ceremony one day and a bash the next day.
I dunno. Is it weird to have a wedding where the majority of the guests are invited not to the ceremony but to the reception? Would you travel out of town for a wedding that didn't include the actual wedding?
But that's what we're thinking. No date yet. Not even a year. On the one hand, I'd like to get hitched now, but I recognize that we can't do that without including our parents. And we are no where near prepared to deal with those expectations and that level of planning and... ya' know.
So, in the meantime, we're happily status quo. The ring hasn't changed how we view each other or our relationship... except that it may have impacted SM's finances just a bit. Others may look at us differently now that we have publicly stated our intentions (and some have even said as much -- and I don't know what exactly that means!), but nope. Just the same old us. With a rock on my left hand.
Labels: family, relationship