Wednesday, January 27, 2010
My first marriage was one created out of love and desire but also need and practicality, too. By the time we ended up in South Lake Tahoe standing in front of the drunken (he'd been at another wedding or two before ours) justice or Reverend or minister, my finally husband and I had a ten-month-old baby.
We hadn't the romance leading up to the wedding only the fact that we needed to have one. Both my husband and I felt trapped in something that we'd certainly created and were both unsure of what to do next or how to do it. I was excited and worried and nervous--he was depressed and unclear and concerned. As you might imagine, hilarity did not ensue. Not one aspect of the summer months of 1985 bring much good in terms of memory except my son.
Yet for more than twenty years from that August day in 1985, we made a go of it, and I never stopped believing in marriage even when ours ended, the divorce official in December 2007. Despite a great deal of acrimony at the end, I always knew that when marriage worked--when two people pulled together for one or more reasons--the bond was a good thing.
Plus, and, I never lost my belief in the mystery of it, the way two people are brought together quickly or over years--the way suddenly, someone knows that it is right, time, perfect.
And yet, it's not necessary when we are older, really. Unlike my husband and I in 1985, there is no biological imperative. There's usually some financial incentive or, at least, a great insurance plan on one end or the other. There's the desire to pull things together tightly, to show each other and the world what the relationship means. But careers and families are likely already made when two middle-aged (or older) people get married.
But let me tell you that on Christmas Eve night when I pulled a small ring box from my stocking, I was amazed and overjoyed and happy. Kneeling (yes, folks, on his knee), Michael asked me to marry him. In the box, a ring. On his knee, the man. In my heart the answer: Yes.
I've never been engaged like this before, an engagement based on only one thing, the true desire to bring our lives together. Four years of relationship and all the word means brought us to that place in the living room in front of our children and my mother.
"Yes," I said. "Yes."