August 21, 2012

To Marry, or Not to Marry: that Is the Question.

A Letter to My Future Children.

Children, I hope that some day this letter will give you the courage to listen to your own true heart instead of what your friends, family, society or the world will tell you is right.

Because I didn’t. I bought into what the society told me is the right thing. Of course, it’s not the world’s fault. In fact, I am quite aware that I convinced myself.

I was engaged just like the majority of my friends. It was normal. My partner and I had been together for almost 10 years. It was the expected thing to do. The rush of weddings among our friends started about five years ago. We went everywhere for weddings—from Mexico to Jamaica to local maritime towns. It was always a good time. Brides always looked glorious and the girls had picture-perfect dresses, makeup and the smiles. One after another, they tied the knots very happily.

And of course, I was the next to go.

I was in the last few, in fact, due to tie the knot. But in the past five years, I have watched friends enjoying their married lives or other friends untying the knots and still others trying to figure out whether to untie or not.  Does a 50 percent divorce rate ring a bell?

There was a time when I desperately wanted to be a dashing bride.

Who can blame me for wanting that? They all looked absolutely gorgeous and incredibly happy, as if war, debt, and environmental crisis never existed. Who wouldn’t want that? Then, a man I loved dearly asked me to marry him.  We had spent countless nights and days discussing our future. I was excited, nervous and felt affirmed. We started the usual, well-known process of wedding planning. Everywhere I went, I was asked the same set of questions: “When is the big date?” “Did you get the dress?”  “How about the photographer?”

As months went on, there was a desperate sense in our relationship that we must start ticking off the to-do list. I used my busy schedule as an excuse for not wanting to actually face the wedding planning ordeal. In fact, I dreaded it. As I ignored the whole process I began to dread it; then I began to fear it; then in fear, I collapsed totally and lost control of myself.

After countless talks, tears and drinks with my beautiful friends who love me absolutely unconditionally, two months before the wedding, I spoke to my partner and called off our wedding. We had a rocky week or two and we were once again on the same page, happy as ever. That’s right. It didn’t take years of therapy for both of us to be happy again.

People assumed many things about our relationship. Some shared complete disappointment, anger, frustration in both of us and very few blatantly took sides for their imagined war between myself and my partner. Many silently understood that in the end, this was our choice. But in the midst of all this, plain and simple truth was that we were happy. We were indescribably happy—perhaps happier than ever.

I did not choose to cancel the wedding so I can be a rebel and disapprove of societal values and systems. I am not against the concept of marriage. But I am a believer and a life-long defender of choice and freedom. My reasons for not getting married are largely different from others—but I am sure many who choose the non-marriage path would say the same thing. We all have different reasons to either marry or not to marry. What I truly appreciate is that I had a choice. And I had great friends and family who supported me regardless of my choice.

So my future children, if you do come into this life, please know that this is my wish for you: that you surround yourself with people who love you regardless of the choice you make and that you live with complete trust in your heart. In the end, you are responsible for your own happiness.





Editor: Alexandra Grace


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