National Blog Posting Month: It’s a commitment.
The Jock and I were just getting around to talking about getting married when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I was finishing up the course work for my MSc in Epidemiology, getting into thesis mode and loving my job as an entry level (full time!) epidemiology analyst at the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control (LCDC) at Health Canada. We had a little apartment in the Glebe without laundry (anyone remember Wringers?), but had a huge veranda, creaky hardwood floors and a wood-burning fireplace (priorities, people). We were also planning a trip to South Africa to visit some friends who had gotten a posting there, and the trip corresponded right with the due date of said baby.
We had also just come off of a two year period of attending many beautiful weddings and we were a bit burnt out after the wedding circuit. I was feeling a bit reticent about getting married as I wasn’t quite sure how to do it. In typical Jen-style, I knew what I did not want out of a wedding:
- A church – I didn’t go to church, and it just felt hypocrytical for me to get married in a church when I wasn’t a member of any congregation, and would likely not set foot in a church post-wedding (for anything other than weddings/baptisms/funerals).
- A huge engagement ring – I really didn’t feel good about wearing something flashy on my finger that was worth more than all of our (left-over student) furniture and other possessions combined. It just wasn’t me.
- A new last name (I wanted to keep mine).
- A walk down the aisle to be handed over from one male to another.
But I didn’t know what I DID want. At that time, the ‘wedding industry’ was totally turning me off. I thought it was too overwhelming, extravagant and excessive. All the wedding stuff just seemed to be one big ‘make-work’ project telling people all of the things they had to have in order to have a perfect wedding. And I couldn’t help but to wonder how much registries and gowns and photographers and table settings and catering distracted couples from the enormous life-long commitment they were making.
Actually, I did know what I wanted. I didn’t want my wedding to be mainly about the party. I wanted it to be mainly about the commitment. I wanted it to be just him and me. I wanted to elope. But this was not an option.
The Jock and I were mostly on the same page when it came to what I did not want, however, he did want a celebration. He wanted to be surrounded with family and friends, he wanted to announce our commitment to the world, and took a much more moderate (and reasonable) view that the ‘wedding industry’ could actually help make our celebration special, to make it ours. That it didn’t have to be extravagant or wasteful.
Upon finding out that we had a baby on the way, we decided to postpone our wedding plans as I didn’t want to be pregnant at my own wedding. I wanted to at least have a glass of champagne at my wedding dinner, and I didn’t want people to think that the only reason we were getting married was because of the baby.
So the Jock and I compromised on our vision for a wedding, and we got married 11 months after our son was born, on November 7, 1998 in a pagan ceremony that was held in front of a floor to ceiling stone fireplace (with a roaring fire) and with 22 of our closest family and friends. We exchanged identical silver Celtic wedding bands that tell the story of ‘Longears’ (about loyalty, companionship, and listening). We have been married 13 years today, and together for 18 years!
The order in which we did things (baby before wedding) has at times been controversial, but it sure has made things interesting for the Grade One ‘Family Timeline’ project which both of our children displayed proudly at ‘Meet the Teacher’ night when it was their turn. And it has also reinforced how utterly unfair it is to be the second born in this house since “HE got to go to your wedding! I didn’t! That is SO unfair!”When the news broke about the end of Kim Kardashian’s 72 day long ‘marriage’, I vowed I wouldn’t blog about it. I knew that lots of people would have lots to say about it, and that I likely wouldn’t have anything novel or interesting to add. But with the Jock and I celebrating 13 years of matrimony, I couldn’t help but to get a little reflective about marriage, and how the latest Kardashian publicity stunt has undermined it a bit.
Although the news didn’t deserve more than a collective eye-roll, I did experience a sort of discomfort. The Kardashian nuptials allegedly cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of ten million dollars. I was feeling a bit of rage about how much good that ten million dollars could have done in the world if it hadn’t been spent on something so frivolous, meaningless, and wasteful. It made me want to Occupy Vera Wang.
THEN there was the part about the potential message that reality-TV shows (like the Kardashian wedding spectacle) send to women and teens who tune in:
“Reality shows don’t focus on what it takes to build real relationships—instead, they’re all about persuading women to lower their romantic standards and their caloric intake long enough to con some douchey stranger into slapping a product-placement ring on their hand.”
The quote was taken from an article by Jennifer Pozner that is well-worth checking out. It made me think back to around the time we were thinking about getting married. Back when sensational ‘talk-shows’ (like Sally Jessy) were big on the airwaves. Ms. Magazine had cover after cover on how talk shows undermine ‘women’s issues’.
Lastly though (and I don’t think that the Kardashians can be held fully responsible for this) is how the whole ‘sanctity of marriage’ is supposedly being undermined by same-sex marriage. I don’t know how anyone can even think or believe or let their mind wander in that direction after the Kardashian ‘nuptials’.
. . . . .
As much as I didn’t want the wedding industry to undermine the commitment I made to the Jock 13 years ago, nor do I want this post (and our anniversary) to be undermined by a reality circus today. But I know that the Jock will whole-heartedly understand and support my rant against the television industry on this sacred day So I will extend a special Happy Anniversary to my love, and say thanks for giving me my energy for all these years!
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