Frankly I’m mostly surprised when I remember I’m married. It was a good day, resembling a village fair more than anything else. I picked the clothes I wore the night before from my existing wardrobe. We exchanged our vows standing in a circle of family and friends on the grass outside a village hall. The sun was shining, it was June – the longest day.
A friend gave me a photo later that always makes me laugh; most of the adults are smiling towards the camera but the children’s faces are turned like sunflowers to some distant spot beyond the lens. It’s actually the bouncy castle, out-of-bounds until the words are over.
We’d actually got legally married in the previous october with a couple of witnesses and Zeph in the registry office. It was the day after his first birthday and he clutched the rings in his hot chubby hand. We held him between us as we spoke the vows and I remember feeling fiercely glad he was there. I’m not saying it wasn’t a special day but to me, standing together and making promises in front of the people who matter to us was more momentous.
To be honest the contract we made with our hearts when we committed to having Zeph and being together means more to me than either of these. It meant a lot to Steve though which made it important to me but our marriage certificate is not something that keeps me here with him.
Intimacy is not easy, nor is trust but now I have let them into my life I would fight hard to keep them. Is marriage more than the sum of its parts? I would describe Steve as supportive but I’m not a vine climbing his tree. I’m not that keen on mirrors as it is and I don’t look at him to see myself reflected back. But I wouldn’t say he doesn’t see me – often I’m mystified about how he sees me but I go to no effort to disguise myself for his benefit.
I find it very restful being with him, he’s at ease with my hollow inner being. We have a lot to say to each other. We disagree a lot, it doesn’t seem to matter. We agree on a lot as well, shouting at the radio in stereo, passing books back and forth. I don’t need him to improve, I like him as he is, but I’m not afraid of things changing. I’m assuming that goes both ways – pretty confidently.
I’m much more likely to describe Steve as my partner than my husband. I feel it’s a good description, we have decided to form a partnership in this life, in the raising of our children, in the sailing of this mouldy haphazard ship. We are complicit in our day-to-day decisions about washing up, animal acquisition, where to pile the latest stack of books, what kind of washing powder,erotic fantasy life and our breakfast choices. Personally I think it’s all these little details that build the bigger pictures.
He hates it though, (the ‘partner’ phrase.) Like that would stop me..
Someone I know is getting married soon, they’ve recently wondered aloud some of this stuff which is why I’m here at the screen,waffling on. On the whole I think rituals, whatever they are, are important. Essentially though – when I look in my heart- the only crucial lasting bit here for me is my internal decision to be here, to try it, to not detach – to throw a gossamer spider-woven thread from my bubble to his.
Everything else is trimmings.