I Never Wanted to Get Married

... But now I am


I was never someone who cared about weddings.

I don’t mean that in a bragging “not like other girls” kind of way, just as a statement of fact. I was never the sort of kid who dreamed about their wedding day or drew pictures of my dress, or played dress-up themed around weddings.

Even as an adult, I’ve never cared about weddings or getting married. I planned to spend my life having casual flings, never settling down, and enjoying an old age surrounded by more animals than people. When I met the person who became my first love (not my first lover, by any means, but the only person for whom I’d ever felt romantic love), I was still content to just be with them for life without having any desire for a dress or a ring or legal paperwork.

In fact, we were together almost a decade before we decided marriage at some point would probably be a good idea, and even then it was almost entirely because we couldn’t think of any other way we could get the most important members of our families—spread across five countries in three continents—to actually come together and meet.

Not being interested in marriage, commitment, or the trappings of relationships has been an aspect of my personality for so long—and the second-most often aspect of myself I’ve had to defend, just behind my complete lack of interest in having children—that it had become, in my eyes, a core part of Who I Am.

Which is why I’ve been struggling, and honestly experiencing more than a little anxiety, over the growing realization that I am actually really rather invested in the wedding we’ll be having in the next couple of years. Especially once we’d settled on an approximate time frame. To my surprise, I have rather strong opinions on everything from the theme to the food. I’ve even been feeling anxious about the aspects of the wedding I’m handing over control over.

I’ve been having some self-doubt about the whole thing, really. If the commitment-phobe of the family could turn out to be this excited about getting married, might I also be wrong about my lack of interest in having children? And even if I know I still don’t want kids, will my sudden interest in a wedding that actually costs money and requires effort be taken as evidence of my changing mind and, therefore, a green flag for people to restart their old habit of nagging me about reproducing? It didn’t help that spouse-to-be, an incurable romantic who’d been engaged to his previous love at the mere age of seventeen, continued to proudly declare to everyone—and I was never sure whether it was for my benefit or his genuine feelings—that the “only reason” we were getting married at all was to have a good excuse for a family party.

I’m ashamed to admit, for a brief time I did get quite defensive about things. I didn’t do an official announcement about our engagement for months, to the point that my best friend called me one day to ask, surprised, if I’d gotten engaged and why hadn’t I called her with the news. I avoided discussing anything about the wedding with anyone—no giggling chats about dresses and flowers with friends and family, no serious talks about budgets, and no concrete dates.

Eventually, thankfully, I got over it. I realized that it isn’t the concept of marriage that excites me. It’s getting married to this specific person that I love—creating a ceremony to celebrate how awesome they are and how much I care about them—and then sharing that message with the other people I loved. It’s creating something that reflected our values and interests—a big party full of family that all of them will say was “so totally us” as they shake their heads and laugh.

Because I met someone so wonderful they were able to make a chronic commitment-phobe like me not only fall in love with them, but want to spend the rest of my life with them. And someone that awesome is worth celebrating.

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