~Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I used to watch TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, the bridal TV show dedicated to finding the perfect wedding dress. Needless to say, it was the first series I cancelled off of my TiVo when I moved out of my last relationship.

I was always confused when the blushing bride would sit down and gush about her future husband as a picture of him flashed on the right-hand side of the screen, right above the dress budget of thousands of dollars.

"I'm just so lucky," they all inevitably said.

Really? I thought as I pushed more popcorn into my mouth. Because if I married my current boyfriend, I would be marrying an alcoholic who is incapable being a genuine human being and sometimes puts his hands on me. That doesn't make me feel lucky at all. I'd be all sitting in front of that camera saying, 'I want to change a bazillion things about my fiance, including everything about him, but he'll do, I guess.'


Christopher asked me the other night about marriage.

Instead of jumping up and down shouting 'Yes, please!' like I really wanted, I shrugged, "I don't know. I think it sounds lovely and something I eventually would like to be a part of."

Then Christopher launches into his problem with marriage, like the proper Libertarian he is. Essentially, the government wants to control people and ruin their lives through marriage. "But I have no problem staying monogamous in a long-term relationship, I just don't want the legal contract," he finished.

What the fuck ever. I've heard this argument from conspiracy theorists before- mainly commitment-phobic seniors in college and a specific alcoholic. I am sick to death of this stupid argument.

Christopher gave me the opportunity to argue why I did want marriage. And because his arguments where governmentally centered, I responded in kind.

  • The government wants you to be married. That's why they set up a tax break just for married people.
  • You get your spouse's social security benefit when he/she dies.
  • You also inherit 401ks tax free.
  • And if marriage was bad, then why is the government trying to keep the gays out?

I felt pleased with myself for giving an answer that was based on logic and not emotion. But this invariably backfired on me.

"I can't believe the only reason you want to get married is for the tax break," he snorted. "It's the first thing you said, so it is your main reason."

I tried arguing that he stated he didn't have a problem with monogamy, just the legal contract, so my response was also based on the legal contract part. He stayed with his original response about my callousness for talking about death benefits. It was a tricky conversation for me, even saying the word "marriage" to a new boyfriend and trying not to scare him off at the same time.

"With your background of your parents' divorces, I can't believe you would even want it," he pointed out.

"I'm not talking about divorce," I corrected. "I'm talking about marriage. You seem to think the two are interchangeable."

I then launched into some stat that blames the baby-boomer generation for the divorce rate, followed by another stat about rate of divorce on couples who wed after 25. I believe in marriage because I have to. Because the alternative is too depressing for me to get out of bed in the morning. I'm making different, smarter choices than my parents, so I will be different. M-Joy says so, my therapist says so, and my mom says so.

And then I did something that is completely uncharacteristic of me. I fled the living room in a flurry of tears and flopped down on my bed. I felt like the one thing I believed in was being attacked. I felt like everything in my life is attached to a struggle. I was beginning to feel lucky being with Christopher again, but this conversation led me to believe anything more with him would be an uphill battle. One I'm too exhausted to fight at the moment.

Christopher followed me into the bedroom and quietly spooned me. After a moment he said,"Alright, it's negotiable."

I guess I won that round, but I didn't feel any better. I knew the truth. I would never be the blushing bride who declares herself lucky in love. I've always had the feeling that I'm never going to get married ever since my father moved out of our house and the boys in elementary school would bully me until I cried. No one's ever going to love me enough to declare so legally.


Arwen said...

That's a hard conversation to have with any boyfriend, much less a new one. Also, it's a hard conversation for you to have yourself (as you've admitted). I wouldn't write it off as a certainty that you will never be a blushing bride...as relationships grow, so do decisions and if you and Christopher are to last, compromises will have to be made...and not just you making compromises.

Wow, I hope that's not too preachy or too deep, it's just how I feel about your situation (of which I am only an internet observer). But, I still maintain that you shouldn't write off being a blushing bride from this one conversation that's happened early in your relationship...

Lpeg said...

Maybe because of Christopher's previous relationships, he has become a cynic about marriage. Maybe he has never had a relationship where he has felt that he could potentially be with that partner forever (well, obviously, not, as he isn't married, and you two have only just started dating).

Maybe, in time, he will come to change his mind, if you two are meant to be together. Maybe he won't see it as such a bad thing when he has found the right person, may it be yourself, or someone else.

Coatman was having a similar discussion about women who declared they didn't want children, but how some women changed their minds when they met the RIGHT partner.

I think you should give it time, but don't give up on hoping that you can be a blushing bride one day. It is a scary thought to think of the future without that, I know, but hang in there. It's only the very beginning of this relationship, and there is so much to learn and grow from.

Sarah said...

Also, I don't want to look all crazy psychotic writing about Christopher and marriage in the same thought. The conversation I had with him was just a trigger to a much larger gut feeling I've had all along.

... said...

Being married, I have to comment. All of those girls that say they are so lucky and everything is all hunky-dorey in their marriage is a big fat liar.

Marriage is a relationship with no easy way out. I'm not saying I'm not happy in my marriage, but seriously, I have to wake up every morning and make the decision if it's worth it. There are always struggles.

I always say yes though. Marriage is about always wanting to try.

AfterGirl said...

Not ever being married is not the worst thing in the world. I am 52 and never been married and couldn't be happier with my life. Would being married to the last boyfriend be better than being single all your life?

I sometimes think I am living an "alternative" lifestyle (almost like being gay).

Hang in there you are doing so good.

Anonymous said...

You're lucky you even still want to get married! After my last boyfriend, I can't fathom even wanting that. BTW, I found the courage to break up with him three weeks ago after re-reading your entries about Scott from the beginning. Our exboyfriends are the same person. Thank you for helping me.

trinity2 said...

I want to be the blushing bride even though it would never be legal in this state Joey and I are still going to have a ceremony. I see it as a celebration between two people and not a marriage by the state.

gekkogirl said...

Bullshit. Sarah - there is NO reason why you are not going to be the blushing bride and why there isn't going to be a man that thinks he is LUCKY and WANTS to be married to you. You know it might even be Christopher.

The true essence of being married is nothing to do with the legal contract at all. Christopher is halfway there already and I suspect its the terminology he has a problem with rather than the spirit of the commitment.

Give it time Sarah and remember love, you are loved you are lovable and you will continue to be.


Sarah said...

Anony- Usually when I see an anonymous comment, I roll my eyes and prepared myself to read what a horrible human being I am. Yours truly stunned me and all I can say is that I'm sorry there are two people in the world like that.

Gekko- I need to write down the last sentence of your comment and read it to myself 10 times a day!

AmyB said...

I honestly don't believe that to be true. You WILL get married if - and/or when - you want to. In the posts about Christopher, I always feel like he's testing the waters, trying to discuss things openly, but then he takes you cue and retracts. So basically, when you first said, "I don't know. I think it sounds lovely..." he immediately found a way to put his own fears about it back in his pocket, automatically assuming you feel the same way. I personally think it might be time to test him a little more. You called him a new boyfriend, but is he really? And if not, how come you're withholding from more serious topics? You have a right to know, after all...

MamaBear said...

You know why you'll get married? Because you want it more than anything, and you're not a passive force in your own life, in spite of all your ambient female role models.

And also, you are lovable. And loving and caring. It's a good mix.

Whether it's this guy or not remains to be seen. :-D

dont eat the token said...

It's too soon to know... we all evolve over the years. It's so possible he'll be singing a different tune in a year or two. (I don't think it's bad at all to wait years to be wed.)

Angela said...

Ah, whoever said soemthing about you not being a passive force in your own life - that's what I was talking about (a little bit), in a comment I wrote about your recent date #9 (although I maintain that weirdos need love too).

When I was younger, I wasn't eevn sure that I wanted to get married, and thought that if I did so, that it would happen after the age I am now - I didn't put myself out there, spent my time doing other things that I enjoyed, and daydreamed. I finally started to get up the nerve to let someone in, but I chose the wrong person. Reading these posts reminds me of how I overlooked red flags - and of other times when I would panic, when it seemed as though he was feeling more interested in me. Underneath it all, I've always felt that nobody would really love me - that I had a nice little figure, but I wasn't the one that men went goopy over (conveniently forgetting boys who both respected me and wanted me, but I let insecurities get the better of me).

My beautiful cousin was a young, twenty-one year old bride, and they were cheating on each other three years into their marriage.


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