Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Children Are Not Superglue.

C and I often find ourselves among a group of people who are just learning that we plan to marry soon.

Que wedding advice monster, suspended from the ceiling and swinging through the room. Actually, I must admit that I've been really lucky in this department. Aside from the occasional "OH, you absolutely must consider having my cousin prepare your centerpieces!! What color popsicle sticks should I tell her to buy?" - I've received little unwanted wedding advice.

There is, however, another creature that lives inside people. I've named it the Bitter Marriage Counselor Hyena. Sometimes it's laughing as it chews on my confidence concerning the potential marriage C and I will have.

I believe that these people do have good intentions. And most of them have been and/or are still married as they release the hyena.

A recent example comes from a woman learning that not only are C and I going to get married, but we don't plan on having any children. We are very much accustomed to dealing with the "Aww, come on. You know you want to..." "She will change her mind" "It's different when it's yours" and other type discussions. We can do those with our eyes closed.

What we weren't prepared for was that this woman basically told us that as we manage to arrive at an anniversary or six, we will find that we MUST have children....or at least a pet. Her reason? Without a pet or child, we WILL discover that there's nothing new. We will have done it all. There will be no excitement, no fun, quite literally we will be on the brink of comas without that element in our lives; and we will welcome said coma.

She did offer us one glimmer of hope though. She said we might make it if we decide to travel a lot.

And no, she doesn't currently have any children, but she does have pets. 5 of them. And a husband.

Wow. She's got skills. Her directive of MUST HAVE children combined with the promise of saving our marriage was most creative. I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

But I don't buy it. Not for a second.

C and I know that we have no idea how to make a marriage work. We are flying on pure, perhaps naive, blind faith.

Besides. We have fish.


Rev. Brandy said...

C. and Z.:

As the resident clergywoman of these here parts, I am happy to report to you my take on the whole marriage thing. Keep in mind, I am a 35-year-old, never married, childless ("spinster-in-training" to some. The cat really does it for me, but hey, I can't help that I love my kitty!) woman who performs weddings in her free time. So, by all means, please take this for what it's worth . . . which is probably not a whole lot.


I have performed about 70 weddings in just over two years. And I can tell you that I have already had one separation, soon-to-be divorce. But on the day of that wedding, man, you could never have convinced me that less than six months later, I would hear from the tearful groom, asking me to email him a copy of his wedding ceremony in a last-ditch effort to win back his wife. In that moment, when they spoke their vows to each other, they meant them with every fiber in their being.

I always tell the couples that having a wedding is easy. Making a marriage work is just that --- it's work. And it's also the greatest adventure two people can embark upon because at the end of the day, you're doing it together. You have committed to a brand new way of being with another person . . . committed to trusting them completely when you don't even think it's possible to trust yourself . . . committed to loving them even when you don't like them very much . . . committed to the journey, especially when you are scared to death about where it is leading.

Marriage is not for the faint-of-heart, for the weak-stomached, for those too rigid or easily broken. It is very much like what the Skin Horse describes in "The Velveteen Rabbit" --- it doesn't work for those who need to be carefully kept. It works for the adventurers, for the dreamers, for those who laugh harder and cry more readily. It works for the gardeners, who understand that their marriage has a soul, just as they do, and know that the soul of their marriage requires nurturing to bloom, to flourish. It works for the children at heart that can find humor in life and, often, themselves.

Most importantly, I think it works for people who realize that whether they believe in continuity of the soul or not, you are only going to get to be ZooooM and C. in this lifetime --- this one --- and you have to make it count. Every moment together, sharing what you have is a gift. And it doesn't matter what anyone thinks or anyone says --- not even me, as well meaning as I am. No one knows what the two of you share, together, in the moments when it is just you, two. It's those moments that will make the whole thing hang together when it really feels like life is falling apart.

And that's what will make it work.

Now, I only wish I lived in CA and could help you both write your wedding ceremony! :o)

ZooooM said...

Thanks Rev. I honestly do appreciate the insight. And I too still love my kitty more than I love chocolate. He comes right after C. Even though he lives with my parents and thinks he's king of the world.

Thank you for sharing on the separation. As one of your commenters stated, I've always wondered how the person performing the marriage felt when things went south.

C and I agree that we absolutely have to talk talk talk. The whole time. It has served us well to this point. We've watched our own parents divorce and re-marry; so in some ways we feel like observing has taught us some, but not all.

And both of us have been through some previous learning in the relationship area. Never married, but some very long term committed deals that too, led to breaking up for whatever reason.

We have given each other the most precious things we own, and that's our trust. We trust each other so completely that when circumstances scream one thing, we can look at each other and know it isn't so. That the story being told is the truth. We promised that no matter how much it hurt, not matter how hard it was, the truth had to be told. And that honest feelings had to be discussed. If I get my feelings hurt, I tell him. He doesn't make me feel like a drama queen. We discuss it and get over it. Leave it in the past.

We know we are going to hit some rough times. Every marriage does.

And I do wish I had gotten to know you before now! We were having difficulty finding an officiant for the wedding due to our lack of church attendance. You know, the required Church Wedding Counseling Camp they make you go through? His own Uncle is a minister and wouldn't marry us without that. And I respect that he works that way. I honestly do. But it's not for me. And C wasn't into that either.

We got a friend of ours to be commissioned for a day to perform the marriage. In CA, there's a little known law that anyone can marry anyone if they get commissioned for that particular day by the court.

Still don't know if we are writing vows. I know I'll barely be able to speak as it is! C is pretty good at interpreting the zoom - but other people are going to be confused!

Rev. Brandy said...

Thanks for sharing all of that, Z. I can't wait to hear how your wedding becomes a unique and precious expression of the two of you, together. I know your wedding will be perfect as you have chosen your friend to officiate. What a cool provision in CA law! Please feel free to borrow liberally from my website, if you are still looking for ceremony ideas!