It was an exciting day in the Spaniel household when we finally got our wedding invitations in the mail! I didn't take any picturesour focus was on staying dry during the latest torrential downpourbut oh, the relief! I carried them all in a plastic bag inside a plastic tub to keep them dry on the way to the post office, and only managed to drop one into a big dirty puddle on the sidewalk. :( Luckily, that invite was headed to New Zealand, so I can blame the vagaries of international mail delivery for that one, and no one will be the wiser!
In addition to excitement, though, I feel a little bit of... alarm? Like this is a wake up call of sorts. We've been engaged for so long that the wedding has never stopped feeling far off in the future. But it's not so far away, anymore! Catering headcounts are due soon! Fire permits for the candle centerpieces need to be obtained! I no longer have forever to figure out what we're going to do about our guest book! We actually need to start planning our honeymoon itinerary! And on top of that, I still have work to do, classes to study for and jobs to find!
But it's not just the time crunch we're facing that has me feeling a bit overwhelmed. See, I didn't realize this at first, but sometime after the invitations actually arrived from the printers it dawned on me that there was a major part of me that simply never expected to be a married woman, and I feel surprised and amazed and somewhat confused with each step closer that we take towards making me one. Seeing our names there, and now inviting people to witness this event, is forcing me to really confront this version of self I'd previously constructed: the independent, career-minded woman who never particularly wanted children and hasn't belonged to any pro-marriage religious tradition in fifteen years, in contrast to this woman who suddenly just can't wait! to get married and start a family. Forgive my lack of eloquence, but it's just... weird.
Making the decision to get married is difficult to intellectualize. After all, I've been committed to Mr. Spaniel for years now: we're both in it for the long haul and that would be true with or without the legal component. If we were just concerned about our property rights, we could have written contracts to resolve it. Court orders would change our names just as thoroughly as a marriage license. It all begs the question: what is the point of even getting married at all?
I've been struggling with this question for awhile now, and I still can't answer it in a brief statement. As flawed as marriage is, there is something specialand privilegedabout the institution. It's a simple legality that expresses to the world what Mr. Spaniel and I have already expressed to each other, and that has value. I don't just want the rights and obligations of marriage (although I want those, too); I want the recognition from society that being husband and wifeand not just lovers and partnersgives us.
My intent right now isn't to share my politics, just my personal struggle. I find it entirely baffling, though, that in 9/10 of states, we don't allow so many people to struggle with the same thoughts.