I am pondering what it means to different people to be in the position of fiance or “the engaged”. My friends have made it clear, along with many other people who have been married for at least 5 years, that things change when your relationship status changes. Once you move from [insert gender] friend to fiance and then fiance to wife, husband or boo boo bear you take on more responsibility. So, then, I ask what more do you have to do? My answer might be follow through.
Hanna Rosin wrote an article titled “What do you call the person you’re probably never going to marry? Your Fiance!” She explains that it has become a part of our ever changing American culture, this struggle with tradition and freedom. Our tradition is seeking freedom and happiness, and those must be gained individually before they can be shared and learned communally. As Hanna reminds us, girlfriend or boyfriend used to mean you were “going steady”, steady meaning exclusive and not simply seeing someone frequently. Today those terms could refer to a “side” chick or dude who holds a marker for a little of your down time. Your BAE is suppose to be super important but I feel like that missing B is Hanna’s point (and the marker your lover gave the side piece). I’m not your babe because there are so many others to choose from, therefore we are using our endearing terms to rank the lovers in our life. Wifey is a woman who is committed but not married. What’s the term for a man?Could it be that responsibility really is holding us back?
Or is it consequences? Being viewed as stubborn because you haven’t married or had children. Linking yourself to someone your family doesn’t like or know. We must admit that closed doors keep private many critical aspects of a relationship from making love to suffering forms of abuse. But there are also people who never get divorced. What’s the difference between an unwed couple together for 20 years and a married couple together for the same amount of time? Most likely the truth. Money can break people up or keep them together even when they don’t have it. Can’t afford to be married, can’t afford the divorce. I surmise that it’s cheaper to get married than divorced, the license and county clerk cost less than a divorce lawyer’s retainer. And then your partner becomes an X. Ctrl alt delete.
Not so fast, or easy. Playing with terminology is dangerous and foolish. If you repeat something enough you and the person you’re telling it to will begin to believe it. We don’t require wishful thinking or hopeful expressions. We need to be as honest and present as we can. Oh, jelly beans, I almost forgot to mention forgiveness.
Forgive yourself for being who you are and where you’re at in life right now. Meaning, give yourself a break for not doing it like everyone else. When I close my eyes and imagine my family around me I see a lot of fractured relationships. The modeling of relationships is akin to a circus (sans animals)…looks good, nice smiles, great costumes, lots of laughs, great make-up and hair, tricks and high-flying acts. But the truth is there are many complicated layers beneath the surface. I return to the lessons of Getting Ready for Marriage.
The core is WORK. I blame no one person or pairing for the poor examples because I understand privacy, personal choices, and fear. Still, these are the people, the very traditions we come from that validate or invalidate the new world in which we live. The same new world the previous generation had to navigate by breaking and remodeling ideas that didn’t work for them.
And forgive the law for not being ready to face the natural partnerships and families we create. Everything costs us something. What are you willing to pay?