Saturday, March 26, 2011

This is Getting REAL, son!

So Thursday was our meeting with Pastor Bob. We talked about ourselves and our families. He said he thought we were ready for marriage. (Unsurprising, since we've been together for almost five years, have moved across the country together a couple times, and have a child we've been raising together.) So our conversation was less about how to deal with marriage and more about the actual ceremony. He gave us a general idea of how the ceremony will go, told us how the ceremony can be customized and gave us some sample ceremonies. We meet with him again in May to talk about our decisions up to that point.

I am most likely going to cry at the wedding. I was getting teary eyed reading sample ceremonies in the parking lot of Pizza Hut. I think that was when the whole idea of the wedding really hit me. A lot of people say things like, "Don't get too caught up in the wedding, it's all about the marriage!" By which I believe they mean that the wedding planning and the party and whatnot are one day of the rest of your lives, so don't put too much stock into it. That hasn't been a problem for me because the marriage is really the important part to me. But within all of that, I hadn't really considered the enormity of the actual ceremony. Obviously, throughout our relationship we have had many promises and obligations to one another, but they have been mostly unsaid and merely implied. But the wedding ceremony is my chance to vocalize those promises, and vow to uphold them for the rest of my life in front of God and everyone. It's a powerful moment. It's being decisive and making a choice and having the confidence to say how you feel and what you want. Honestly, as patriarchal as the history of marriage is, the ceremony feels like it will be a very feminist moment. It's saying, "I have the choice to marry any man or no man, but I choose you." And it's not an inconsequential choice, it's a lifelong commitment. It's saying, "I've changed my mind about everything from my favorite color to my faith in God dozens of times over my short life, but I know I won't change my mind about having you in it ever." In every way, it really is a huge, powerful, important, emotional decision.

There is some quote about motherhood that a lot of people use that is something along the lines of, "having a child is wearing your heart outside of your body" and it's very true. Empathy takes on new, unforeseen heights when you have a child. Just the thought of bad things happening to Ramona makes me tear up. I love her in a way that I don't love anyone else, and that I probably won't love anyone else except her potential future siblings. But getting married feels like another form of my heart living outside me. Only instead of my heart just growing into someone else without my control or permission as it does with children, I am purposefully putting my heart into someone else's hands and saying, "Please, PLEASE take good care of this because I really need it. I'm giving it to you because I think you can make it grow bigger than it's ever been and bring me more joy than I've ever had, but I'm quite aware that you could just throw it on the ground and stomp on it at any time." And this wedding ceremony is his chance to say, "Your heart is a precious gift I value and want to protect and nurture. I am deliberately accepting this gift with the understanding that you are trusting me to help you grow and become a better, happier person through my words and actions. I would never throw it on the ground and stomp on it. You must be thinking of someone else; I'm too awesome for that."

And then? We make the same promises again! He gives me his heart (which is very thoughtful of him) and then I have to accept the HUGE responsibility to take care of that sucker FOR-EV-ER. And as I stated earlier, I don't think marriage is about occasionally tending to his heart, but actively helping it grow over time to a huge, joyful, heart that keeps getting bigger even when you think it can't. (We're gonna need a bigger boat. Or flower pot. Or chest. Wherever this metaphor is taking you.) And so the wedding is about vulnerability and responsibility all at the same time. You make a commitment and trust someone else to honor the commitment they've made. It's kind of a big deal.

And I really didn't think too much about it until Thursday night. I knew these things are what marriage is about, but I forgot that it's what the ceremony is about. Now I think I'm more excited for the ceremony than the reception. But I'm still most excited for the marriage.

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