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22.3.11

That peace of paper


Any young couple who has been together for a long time (and, of course, any not-so-young couple who have been together for longer than a month) will find themselves asked The Question.

Are you going to get married?

In the hot seat this week was my younger friend. He has been living with his girlfriend for years and as far as I know she has had an eye on her bare ring finger for well over two years now.

Guess what, no ring.

He says that he's not sure he believes in marriage. Why does he need to get up in front of everyone and declare what he already knows and she already knows? It's just a piece of paper.

I disagree, my dear friend. It's weddings you probably don't believe in. Marriage is something else entirely.

Marriage is a promise. A promise to grow together, to nurture, to forgive. It's a promise that no matter what, no matter how pear shaped things go (literally as well as figuratively, as it turns out), no matter how needy, you will care for that person. It says, 'I will be there.'

Marriage is optimism. It flies in the face of all we know - that life is fleeting, that people change, that promises get broken all the time. It says, 'you make me believe.'

Marriage is selective. There's no-one else you're married to, just your match. I may have been with others, I may look at others, I may wonder. It says, 'but I choose you.'

Marriage is security. It makes plans that run further than we can properly imagine: holding weathered, bony hands on a somewhere-shaded verandah while white rocking chairs rock and voices creak. It cries at the thought that one day one of you will be here and the other long gone. It says, 'you are not alone, you will never be lonely, I'll hold your hand just to know that you are there.'

No, it's not just a piece of paper, my friend. It's the biggest-half piece of you.
The peace of you.
__________________________________________________

I rewound this post on 30.4.2011 at the Fibro.
[Image by Tania Lippert]

69 comments:

Sammie said...

You just put 'marriage' perfectly in my eyes.
Coming up to our 1st anniversary and reflecting on the past year your post made such perfect sense and is exactly what I believe marriage is too.

MomAgain@40 said...

Having been through a divorce, and doing it again! I also want to echo your sentiments! It does say something totally different than just being together!

ClaireyH said...

Agreed, but do also love a wedding, and have never ever been to a bad one.

Felicity said...

Oh Bella this is a sentiment very close to my heart and I thank you for writing it so beautifully.

Biggest of hugs to you dear friend,

Felicity xx

Anonymous said...

Very interesting... it is different for everyone. Don't question the commitment of your brother though... even married people get divorced. Speaking as someone approaching my 25th not married anniversary, I have to say we are devoted and I wonder if we are less for the lack of formal commitment?

Melissa *Suger Coat It* said...

I love this. So beautifully written. A wonderful way to present both sides to your brother, for his consideration.

And I love it for me.

Cheryl Gerbera said...

I totally agree with you. Love this. Yes, it's not just a piece of paper. Finally somebody says it.
I'm walking down the aisle very soon.. and there's a beautiful ring in my finger now. While some people still question me WHY... I just want to stay that it really isn't just a piece of paper to me. It's a promise to hold forever, and to be there no matter what.

xo
http://sourcherryandcurlchocolate.blogspot.com/

Karen Wilson said...

And my arguement to men who don't think marriage means anything is always that if it doesn't mean anything then there is no reason *not* to get married if she wants it... LOL

Lucy said...

Interesting. The lovely husband and I are married. Now. We got to it late. But we didn't bother for a great many years. I was reticent to become a bridezilla. We were both reticent to bow to familial pressure (particularly from siblings...)

We lived and loved together for ten years before we decided to get married. Olivia and Charlie were already born. (I was a breastfeeding bride. Delightful!)

Committment, for me, came with the joint aquisition of not a ring, but a dog and a garden and a couch.

BUT, I am glad we are married. I like to be a Mrs. I like that all of our names match on the Medicare card.

And I like very much that my siblings now can relax...

xxx

Just Martha said...

Well said dear Maxabella! As a nearly-21 yr veteran (I was married at 6 years of age...haha) I agree that it isn't just a piece of paper. I really like your 'peace of you' Totally agree...

Victoria said...

We are not married, I would love too, but his scared his family is all divorced he doesn't want that to happen to us.
I don't push when his ready he'll ask.

Everyone views marriage differently, maybe his happy they way they are, scared that it will change.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

I love your description of marriage. Tis beautiful and true.

Brenda @ Mira Narnie said...

usually i cry with laughter at your posts - now i wipe tears of absolute wonder and awe.

so poetic and beautiful. s
so magical and true
so just and divine

i love all that you love of marriage and all. and to all the people that scoffed at me getting married at 19 - they can read this and quake in their little un-married boots! being married rocks!

Another great reason why i love you Bella xx

thatblogyoudo said...

Ah marriage, it really can be beautiful, and after 4 years with my boyfriend i finally bullied him into it. :-)
married now 7 years next month, happy and contented to just be the halves of a whole.

Cate said...

stop it! you'll make me cry :-)
xxxCate

Jacki said...

So beautifully written! I love the idea that maybe people don't agree with the wedding (as opposed to the marriage) and that's why they're reluctant to pop the question! Thanks for that!

Anna Bartlett said...

How do you write so beautifully? I've been a married-y for 15 years now, and it's surely not always easy, but I'm really glad we did it.

Jane said...

Pure. Succinct. Eloquent. You are the best, Bron. J x

Mama of 2 boys said...

Every bit beautiful, every bit true and so eloquently put, as always, Maxabella. I have come to realise that the ones who say they don't "believe" in marriage, are probably the ones who shouldn't venture down the path. But hey, who knows, people can change for the ones they love.
It may sound corny, but hubby and I just knew... within a very short time... we would be married one day. It took 5 years for it to become a reality. But we knew.

Vanessa said...

yeah...
So beautifully worded.

Cinnamon said...

So, so, so well said. Just lovely. I think I'll share it with my Mr. and see if he gets all misty eyed too.

therhythmmethod said...

Lovely.
Yeah, some marriages are shit. But not mine, because we look after it and each other. I believe in it, gumboots and all. Hard slog, constant maintenance, but oh so worth it. Mr Karen has my back ALWAYS, and I have his.

Daydream Living said...

You have put a little magic to the words marriage, thank you, I loved reading it.
Maureen

Kelly said...

So beautifully, beautifully written.
Marriage is all that, and so much more.
I even got a little teary xx

Amy xxoo said...

This may sound strange but i'm totally serious - i'm getting married later this year and i'm struggling to find readings for the ceremony that really resonate with me.
Bella - could i have your permission to use the bulk of your post as a reading at my wedding?

You can find me at www.amywellsblog.blogspot.com or amywells@live.com.au if you want to give me your answer....

Leah said...

You can have that commitment and feeling without a formal marriage. A ceremony and legal status speaks nothing to my emotions, intentions, boundaries, sticktoitiveness. As evidenced by all the relationships that go awry with it . I appreciate it matters to some (most?) but it's not a deficit to have what a wedding or a marriage offers some without the wedding or the marriage. I feel freer for us not needing anything but our own selves to feel secure in our relationship. He did propose but we realised we would have been going through the motions and maybe one partner can do that for another if it matters but both doing it is ridiculous.

Katie said...

My comment is to huge to be posted right here.

You can read it here

http://cockamamie-carnival.blogspot.com/2011/03/holding-my-hand.html

Natalie said...

Just beautiful, lovely Maxabella -
am all welled up with the sentiment and honesty of this post. Thanks for a wonderful start to the day xx

Fiona said...

Not getting married, unless I need to for visa reasons. So I don't agree with you. I agree with Leah.

Fiona said...

Plus, I don't necessarily agree with the language in the wedding vows, and the legal agreement.

Nor do I think monogamy is the only way.

BabyMac said...

OK, so can this be my speech at my little sister's wedding on Saturday?! Seriously.

mel @ loved said...

This is beautiful & so, so true! I remember when we got engaged, sitting on the couch together the next day & there was something wonderful, something truely different about us it was magic too hard to explain..

Kelly said...

I used to believe it was just a piece of paper until I had children and decided I wanted to be married. It took awhile but we finally did it. And it all feels complete.

Tammi said...

That is such a beautiful way to look at marriage and so true. My hubby and I have been together 20 years this year but it took us 8 to get to the aisle...we both felt more complete after saying our vows :)
xx

littlebetty said...

Totally right

Sammy said...

Beautifully expressed!

Wendy said...

Well, said, M.

Mel said...

Beautiful.

flowerpress said...

Put just perfectly. Really beautiful :-)

MultipleMum said...

I didn't really expect this to be so. I thought marriage was a piece of paper so the Geege and I were in no hurry. I was surprised when it happened how different things look. I love this post :)

Leanne said...

Hear hear, Maxabella, hear hear ... (or is that here here?)

Kirsty said...

I too love this post & it feels just right to me.

I'm not sure the piece of paper needs to be there or that you even need witnesses to make it real but I think if you're it it for the long haul then a "marriage" is right...even if it's in the back yard with only the kids & the dog present. I reckon your partner needs to hear you say it out loud.

Lovely...& I'm glad I've got the piece of paper...to remind me that I chose him then & I choose him now.

Miss Pink said...

Oh you! I am a blubbering mess! I know you know my thoughts on this, my situation with this.
It is NOT a piece of paper, and anyone who says that i say "So why not sign it then if it's just a piece of paper" It is so so much more. At least to me.
My parents are unmarried. I despise it still to this day.
I am unmarried and less than impressed we have literally seen it all, been challenged in ways some couples never ever are, we are still standing and i am still told "Not yet". Not yet? What else do i have to prove, what else could i possibly give you when i have given you everything?!
I am definitely bookmarking this for Mr Black.
Afterall relationships are about giving to your partner, caring for their needs, and if it isn't important to one person why not give it to the other when it is so very important to them?

Heather said...

The way you write is a true gift. Beautiful. xxx

Joni Llanora said...

what a touching post yet again!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel @ Little Bits of Lovely said...

Beautifully written and I 100% agree with what you are saying. I think people who 'don't believe in marriage' can get confused between weddings and marriage - which as you point out are entirely different. After 1.5 years of marriage and our share of ups and downs already it really makes a difference knowing that your husband/wife will be there no matter what. Great post xo

Sarah said...

I'm sending the link to this post to my brother. You put it far more eloquently than I could have.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Great. Now I am all teary. It's one of those days.
Lovely post! xx

Jade said...

Beautiful.

I was never one for weddings. I hate being in the centre of attention, so we did our wedding our way and never forgot that after the wedding, it was marriage.

So many people forget about what happens after a wedding...

stink-bomb said...

love is love and you don't need to be married for that love to be long-standing and be able to weather all manner of things thrown at it.

our marriage isn't the piece of paper we both signed, that is just a piece of paper with words on it, a memory from the day as such.

our marriage is our love for one another. it's our fights that we have, big stand up and shout ones, it's the making up afterwards. it's sometimes having to admit 'damn he's right' and vice versa. it's me supporting his love of motorbikes despite me holding my breath when he goes out on them and not breathing out til he's safely home again. it's moving to the other side of the world, away from everything he knew, to make me happy. it's him choosing me over his family when they made him choose.

it's still being together after losing countless pregnancies and him looking at me and telling me that i am all he needs.

all that would have happened, we would have gotten through it all, together, side by side, piece of paper or no piece of paper.

~x~

beautiful post - you've inspired my own!

Megan Blandford said...

Beautiful - you've summed it up perfectly. x

Jess said...

Beautiful! I want to get married all over again just so i can have this as a reading...it says it all perfectly.

Kymmie said...

Beautiful! And never a truer word said. xx

Carly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simoney said...

Wow.
Wow.
This is just beautiful.
I had goosebumps.
thankyou.

Jane@flightplatformliving said...

yep all is pear shaped here in every way but my marriage is peace and working together and team george. well said, so true and beautiful xx

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

I used to have a problem with marriage - I actually thought the idea of a wedding was a bit silly, all that money on one day - but the marriage bit I just couldn't understand. I was heavily influenced no doubt by my own parents' broken marriage.
Then after a few years with my boyfriend I started looking at it differently. I started thinking it was about growing together and evolving together.
So turns out I just hadn't met the right guy yet!

cjtato said...

That is so beautiful! Love this!

Dropping by from Weekend Rewind. :D

tinsenpup said...

That's really quite lovely. Not to mention a compelling argument.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

You are so very right about the difference between a wedding and a marriage. I think you've translated "for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health" in a wonderful way. People hear the old well known phrases but don't listen to what they mean.

Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. :)

Aakriti Malik said...

Phew....soo many comments..U are a lucky lady Maxabella:P..I had to scroll all the way down, but no qualms.I truly agree to every words u wrote, and perhaps that is where teh sanctity of marriage lies in letting the other person know that "I will be there with you and for you, until eternity"..":)
here's my post: http://aakritimalik.blogspot.com/2010/07/passion-to-write.html
tkcr. Aakriti

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

You did a great job with this post. Peace.

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

Melanie said...

Wow! I'm speechless...

Caz Makepeace said...

what a beautiful post Maxabella! It was great meeting you last night. i'm really enjoying checking out your site. This is a solid piece on what marriage is all about.

Lee said...

Love. Wish my partner would read this. xo

Erin said...

Totally agree:)

Lecinda said...

Wow.

That just summed up my opinion of marriage and weddings (which I have been struggling to define for years now) perfectly. The bells of clarity are ringin' for me now!

Thank you :)

Katrina@capturingmomentss said...

This is perfection

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