The below is PART 2 out of three in this series. Here you can read, How Do You Know Forever is Forever? PART 1.
Once upon a time, I believed marriage was important. As children with two parents or children who have witnessed co-parenting; most of us had a vague and distanced concept marriage. We knew that mommy and daddy (or mommy and mommy; daddy and daddy) lived together and had some sort of romantic relation to one another.
In kindergarten there was a boy named Michael, who told me he wanted to marry me. I was so flattered that I followed him around giddily asking for reassurance. "Do you still want to marry me?" One day I followed him to "the circle" which was duct tape on a classroom carpet; marking a seating arrangement. I crawled from my place in the circle, next to his and for the last time, smiled wide and asked, "Do you still want to marry me?" To my surprise he snapped at me with exhaustion; "YES!" From that point on, I stopped following him and he stopped chasing me.
It probably wasn't until high school that I drew a clearer picture of marriage. Although it was still fuzzy in my brain, I had a better outline. I entered my first relationship and he and I both harbored the idea that there was no point in entering a relationship if you weren't in it for the long haul. I was pleased to find a like-minded person in the midst of flimsy relationships and casual sex.
At the time I had the idea that I would want to get married in a church. I wanted to wear a white flowy, "fairy dress" while sporting body glitter. I'd go barefoot and wear a silver wedding band, and my husband to be would wear whatever he'd wear on an average day. I am not close with my family members so I had no need for them to be present. I envisioned that my partner would leave family out of the ceremony as well. Friends needn't be involved as the ceremony would be quick and there would be no reception.
When I reached my early 20s, I decided that all I needed was a court room. I didn't need the wedding band; a silver band with the lowercase worker "ever" engraved on the top and I certainly never wanted a blood diamond. I didn't need a pretty dress, I didn't want the pomp and circumstance. I didn't want to walk down the aisle, I didn't want to be the center of attention, and I didn't want to stand before a religious figure whom I had no relationship with or had never met before.
A courthouse wedding would be easier. Sure I'd be standing before a stranger, but it was just procedure. I realized that we as people do not necessarily need to stand before a pastor, priest, rabbi, in order to be married before the eyes of God. Churches are a piece of tradition but the earliest of marriages didn't include them. I didn't need a kiss, I didn't need rice, I didn't need vows. I needed a relationship.
Even further into my 20s, I changed my mind once again. I've never been one to change my mind so much, but in this case I'm glad that I did. I started to question why we held certain traditions. Traditions aren't necessarily a bad thing, but I find it's important to question any tradition.
I came to find that I had no idea what it truly meant to be married before the eyes of God. For those of us who believe in God; we do everything before the eyes of he/she. We pee before God; does that make it sacred?
I found myself resistant to the idea that the government had the ability to define my relationship. This is marriage; this is not. This over here is commitment, that over there is something else.
My fantasies changed. I had warm and pleasant envision of my partner and I waking in bed one morning and smiling at each other. We'd have a brief conversation about how much we loved each other and then one of us would pop the question. We'd kneel on the bed together; face to face and marry each other.
"Will you marry me?"
I liked the idea of marrying without a license because I felt that it was entirely possible to do so. I asked myself a silly question; what if a character from Gilligan's Island wanted to marry another? Would they have to wait for rescue in order for this to happen? A rescue that might never come? I say no.
Even further down the road I sorrowfully concluded that I would have to concede if I wanted to be next-of-kin to my partner. So, my vision changed again. I decided that I still liked the idea of my partner and I marrying each other in bed, and THEN later we'd trot over to the courthouse. We'd marry each other first so as to signify our real relationship and not one that society had built for us. We'd marry legally out of necessity.
When I later learned that in the state of California, I could be granted next-of-kin rights without marriage, I was elated. I've always considered California to be my home, and I don't plan on leaving it.
The next obstacle is finding someone who doesn't mind foregoing holy matrimony. My mother loved telling me how I was essentially cutting out a large population of men. This is true, and it is frightening; but I can't force myself to want something I wholeheartedly do not want do not want.
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