Suddenly my heart and soul feel like they can’t contain these thoughts. I don’t know where else to get them out but here. Even though I feel like I’m violating some relationship rules by venting here…
I just got an email from my dad. It was to the “whole family,” inviting us to a party. Aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins’ spouses – yep, my dad has a “rule” that you don’t get the emails unless you’re a blood relative or married in. Though he usually remembers to include his own girlfriend (who he says he’ll never marry).
So why is it that he can’t recognize my union with my boyfriend of eight years as something akin to marriage?
Today, my boyfriend came up in conversation while talking with my coworker. She made the comment, “if you stay together, if you ever decide to get married…” as if those two things were one in the same. I’ve never given any indication that we are anything less than fully committed to each other. And I think she would understand, as she was with her partner for a decade before they married.
Why do people assume we’re not committed just because we haven’t had a wedding?
I’ve gone back and forth about the idea of marriage. Having grown up with parents who stayed married but seemed to hate each other, only to watch them go through a long, messy, and hateful divorce as an adult, I have gone through periods where I was reluctant to believe in the necessity of marriage. I didn’t want to follow in my parents’ footsteps, and I couldn’t do that if we never got married, right?
Part of my fear of marriage also stemmed from some unstable moments with my boyfriend throughout the years. Fortunately, over the past 13 months, we’ve come a LONG way. We’ve proved we can get through the best and the worst of times countless times, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I love him so passionately and I love what we have together. I’ve never been more confident in each of us as individuals, as well as our relationship. More and more, I want the formality of that bond.
But I’m not sure why.
It’s driving him crazy, this new found marriage obsession of mine. Now he is the one who’s content with what we have. He doesn’t see reason to discuss marriage, and gets frustrated when I bring it up. Understandable, considering it’s a regular topic of conversation. But I think it comes up so much because the conversation never goes anywhere. He doesn’t want it. I do. We can’t make it to the “whys” – or, at least, he tells me why he doesn’t want to and won’t seem to listen to why I do want to. Though I feel like we’re on the same page regarding most things these days, we’ve never been on the same page about marriage.
Also, he’s gone through a LOT of life changes over the past year and a half, and has a lot going on in his life right now. I can see how throwing marriage (and yes, I’ll admit, also talk of having kids) into the mix considering everything.
But again, why am I now so obsessed? Is it because I want others to recognize us as nothing less than husband and wife? Is it because I want to call him my husband? Is it because I want to take his last name? Is it because I want to “do right by God”? Is is because I’ve never been so confident in us that I want to celebrate that and seal it with our signatures on a marriage license?
It’s probably all of the above.
Don’t get me wrong. I am SO VERY HAPPY with the relationship we have these days. I think it’s for that very reason that he’s content where we are and I want to formalize it all.
Marriage seems like it would take out all the ambiguity and just simplify things. Or am I complicating things by obsessing over all of this? Would it be simpler to just let go and enjoy what I have now? Or, even more mind-blowing, is this maybe one part of my life where I shouldn’t focus so heavily on simplicity?
I seem to have more questions than answers. 8 months ago