I was never one who dreamed of having a fairytale wedding growing up and in fact was quite the opposite. I opposed the idea of ‘marriage’ because I believed that you didn’t need a piece of paper to prove that you loved someone. I saw marriage as a ‘money trap’ but as I grew older I realized that my opposition against marriage was because of how A. I had never been in love, B. saw how disastrous the majority of marriages had turned out in my family and C. was never taught to see marriage in a positive light. With the exception of my dad, my uncle and my distant cousin, marriages were violent, damaging and dramatic in my family. Even the marriages that have stood the test of time have been a ‘loveless’ or dramatic match, especially in my father’s case, we all know how that turned out. But I digress, at this moment in time I still can’t see myself getting married but I no longer fixate on the negative connotations that have indoctrinated my personal beliefs. I have been a bridesmaid and a guest of honour at friends and family weddings and have enjoyed watching people bless each other with all the love that they have left to give. In short I’m not opposed to other people getting married, it’s just I can’t see myself ever getting married.
It’s a strange predicament to have. Growing up my biological mum had always been obsessed with the idea of marriage and the reason why her relationship broke down with my father, when I was 2 (1/2) was because he was not ‘ready for marriage’. After all, my mum was 18 when she got pregnant with me, 19 when she had me and my dad was 21. Eventually at the age of 25, she married my step sibling’s father ‘Z’, while my dad married my abusive step mum at the age of 27. But I pity them both; my father is married to an abusive woman and my mum is married to a man that she never loved in the first place, all so they could both get their ‘dream fairytale ending’. Except in real life, fairy tales cease to exist but we are loathe to admit when we are merely dreaming. My aunty on the other hand had an abusive marriage, yet like most cases at the time, the abuser in question was never punished for their crimes. My aunty never married again, although she was close to with the father of my cousin P, until she caught him cheating on her while she was still pregnant. Again, my foster mum has not been with another man, after she divorced her husband more than 20 years ago and that is ok. After all, its better to be single and happy than in a loveless marriage, especially when you have kids too.
I have witnessed marriages turn sour and see the children get caught in ceasefire, all the while thinking, the most un-selfish thing to do would be separate. It’s not fair to bring up children in a toxic environment by any means and if you are staying in a marriage just to be civil for the kids, chances are it will make the situation 10 times worse. I knew someone who was married and every day their kids would see their parents fight and argue, until one day the children upped and left, as soon as they were old enough to get their own place. The parents are divorced now but it took them a long time to realize just how bad it was to stay together for the sake of their children and in fact have a better relationship with their children as adults than as kids. But not all marriages are as ‘crazy’ as they are in my family; my distant cousin for example is a beautiful reminder of how amazing marriages can be if you have found the one.
They met as childhood sweethearts, have two beautiful girls and a baby boy on the way and have been married over 10 years. What started as loves young dream has blossomed into a beautiful partnership: sure they bicker like crazy and pick fights over who did what, but like any marriage, they ‘talk things out’ and deeply understand each others point of view. They are soulmates and it warms my heart every time I see them together because its evident that they are still madly in love with each other as they were back then. It warms my chilly heart to see marriages that stand the test of time because in this day and age, divorces are on the up and even couples who have been together 30 years are still calling it a day.Imagine though, to find someone who you know completes you and you want to spend the rest of your life with? That must be a truly special feeling indeed.
But what are my thoughts now? I grew up in a culture which was resolutely Catholic, my heritage is Portuguese and my parents are from Madeira. In Madeira people marry young and very rarely get divorced, while careers are very much gender-orientated, with little room to escape the ‘glass ceiling’. But here in the UK, I was brought up first by my parents, who were Roman Catholics, then my dad and stepmum who were Catholics and finally my foster mum who was an atheist .
From the ages of 12-13, I briefly called myself a Muslim, after getting in touch with my biological mother who converted to Islam, but by 14 was resolutely an atheist and still am to this day. I have been brought up around religions which believe ‘that marriage is necessary’ but when I was old enough to have my own independent voice I realized that no matter who I meet, whether they are a soulmate or not, I can’t see myself getting married and that’s ok. I have never been the person who envisioned her wedding day because crowds make me anxious. I never dreamed of a perfect wedding dress because I’d worry about how much money it would cost. Most of all, if someone ever proposed to me, would I say no? Chances are yes I would, not because I didn’t love them, but because I don’t need a marriage to prove that I love someone.
And That’s Ok.
What Are Your Thoughts On Marriage?
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