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