I got this letter in my email… about a second ago, and I had to answer it NOW. The media has been drumming a constant tune of, “In this economy people are waiting to get married.” And as the recession drones on and on (oh, I’m sorry, ‘the recovery’) someone needs to step in with a big can of sane. And um, I’m nominating myself? So here is reader Rowenna’s question:
How do you know when you’re ready to get married? In the online wedding community, most of the women seem to be on a similar track – they’ve been proposed to, and they can start planning their wedding right away. My experience is very different than that. My boyfriend and I have been ready to get married for at least a year. We’ve been discussing it for a long time. We know we want to get married, we know we want to start our life together, and we are so ready for that. But we’re not engaged. We’re not planning a wedding. We decided that we would start actually planning the wedding once we were in a good life position. We wanted to wait until we had secure jobs and were in a good position to move in together. Unfortunately, things have not worked out well. I am in graduate school in one city, and my boyfriend lives almost an hour away. We expected things to “work out” much sooner, but several job opportunities fell through for my boyfriend. He currently has a temporary job, which has the possibility of becoming a permanent position, but the problem is the uncertainty. How can you plan a future when you have no idea where your future is going?
We are so frustrated right now, because we just want to be married, and yet we know it’s the “smart” and “responsible” thing to wait until we know what’s going on in our lives. It seems silly to get married without knowing what our future is… but I can’t help but feel that no matter what happens, we know that we’re going to get married – should we let those uncertainties about the future dictate our plans? And is it stupid to get married if there’s a chance that we won’t be able to move in together for another six months or so?
Should we just be patient, or should we just go ahead and get hitched, disregarding what other people will think or say? To be clear, neither money nor family support is a part of what’s stalling our decision. Help!
Ok lady. You know how they say that life is what happens while you’re busy making plans? That’s actually true. As you wait and wait for the perfect moment, life is happening. Right now. So a few thoughts:
First, there is no perfect moment, ever. If you’re waiting for everything to be ‘right,’ you could wait a long time. Second, the reason we get married is to tie our destiny to someone else. It’s to vow to be with them for better or for worst – to stay with them when they are unemployed, to figure out how to make do when things get really tough. That’s the power of the marriage vow. It’s saying, “Even though I have no idea what the future will hold, I want to tie my life to yours anyway.” When you’re ready to make the promise, you’re ready to get married. Period.
Sure. Maybe you wait till you can live together, maybe you work out some specific details. But you don’t wait and wait for something vague on the horizon. Maybe it takes your husband a year to find a job he likes. Fine. That’s a year you can spend married, supporting each other both literally and figuratively, or that’s a year you can spend apart, waiting. But it’s still going to take him the time it takes him to find a great job. Not getting married won’t change that. And trust me, supporting each other is something I know a little about.
Most of us here grew up during a prolonged economic boom. We got used to the idea that marriage was more about economic better than economic worse. We got used to the idea that you get a good job, you get everything lined up, and then you get married. But that’s not how life is anymore for many of us. We seem to have forgotten that when times get hard, that is the very best time to become a family. That is the very best time to combine forces and try to make it together. That’s what our grandparents did, and our great grandparents did. They took each other in worse, and worked together to create better.
So for all of you, today, some inspiration. Here is your antidote to all the media stories of people waiting to get hitched till the great recession is over (whenever that is…)
Here is a tiny recession wedding, where the bride altered her mother’s wedding dress.
Here is a tiny courthouse wedding, where the bride grinned her face off.
Here is a wedding thrown together in three weeks, because the bride was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Here is a wedding that took place in the bride’s parents tiny crowded perfect living room.
And here, here is a sneak peak of the Local Squared wedding. The wedding where APW & the *amazing* Kate Harrison joined forces to give away wedding photography to a couple that really needed it. (More of this wedding coming soon…)
So. To all of you waiting and wondering? You don’t get perfect. You just get someone that you want to spend imperfict with. And that is the biggest gift in the world.