wedded wednesdays guest post: why we’re not married

Best of intentions, friends. I had big plans to get Elizabeth’s guest post up early this morning, but something bigger got in the way. A BAT. Yes, a BAT in our HOUSE. I wish I were kidding. Stay tuned — that’s a blog post if there ever was one. Back to the regularly scheduled program.

{We need to get talking about what marriage really looks like. In that spirit, we chat about it here once a week, on Wedded Wednesdays.} 

Elizabeth Ditty and I met earlier this year through networking. She’s a fellow freelance writer, and nothing makes this freelance world smaller than making a good freelance friend. She approached me about contributing for Wedded Wednesdays with a unique perspective: why she’s not married. There is no such thing as a typical relationship, and it’s a privilege to have Elizabeth here today to share her story. Take it away, Elizabeth!

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A Little History

There’s a Japanese phrase, koi no yokan, that doesn’t really have an English equivalent.  In short, it speaks to the sensation that, upon first meeting someone, falling in love is inevitable.  It’s something deeper than love at first sight, which can really be chalked up to infatuation.  It’s that your fate is somehow wrapped up with this stranger.

It is the perfect expression of the moment I met Tyler.

On the February night we met in 2011, he was working a shift he didn’t usually work as a barista in the café at the now-sadly-defunct Borders.  I was having an impromptu write-in with a friend who needed to get out of her house for a while.  The stars aligned, our hands accidentally touched, and that was it.

What followed was an intense spring-into-summer romance, too intense for our wounded souls at the time.  We dated six weeks and then spent the next several months pushing and pulling like spinning magnets.  It was without a doubt the most difficult time of my life.

But by October, we had both managed to find peace for ourselves again, and soon after we quickly settled into the easy, fun-loving, adventurous and romantic relationship we’d both originally wanted.

Much to our surprise, in June of 2012, we found out we were expecting.  I was terrified, but his reaction sealed what I had suspected before: no matter what fate had in store for us, I would love this man forever.

The question on everyone’s minds, once we announced our news was, of course, “Are you going to get married?”

The same question crossed both our minds, too.  We had joked about it once or twice before we knew we’d procreated, and certainly it would have met societal expectations.  We’d discussed it a little the night we found out, too, but only in the manner of the fevered avalanche of thoughts that comes with that sort of news.

It was a few weeks before we brought it up again, as we were both a little nervous about what the other was thinking.  Much to our mutual relief, it turned out we were on exactly the same page for exactly the same reasons.

We didn’t want to get married.

Not then, anyway.  Our reasons were pretty straightforward.

Why We’re Not Married

I’d been married before, and the marriage had not been kind to me.  I’d done everything the traditional way, and it had left me completely broken, not to mention 100 pounds heavier.  It was a marriage built on lies and stubbornness, and I spent the three years afterwards rebuilding my life how I wanted it.  I focused on my passion (writing), I redecorated, I travelled, and I lost the 100 pounds plus an extra 10 to put me in the best mental and physical shape of my life.  In short, I worked hard to become the person I knew I was meant to be, and never again did I want to enter into any situation — especially a marriage — because it was what the world expected of me.

Similarly, Tyler had witnessed his parents’ divorce and had seen both the conflicts that led to the divorce and the ensuing fall-out.  And while his parents are on friendly terms now, it understandably left him wary of jumping into the institution.

We also share similar concerns about the fact that not everyone in this country can get married.  We both have friends and family who have not been able to enjoy the right to legally express their commitment.  So while the tradition and romance of marriage is something we both love and respect, the way the institution is implemented in this country is something we hope will continue to improve.

Thirdly, we didn’t feel like we needed a marriage certificate to enforce our commitment to each other.  We hadn’t been thinking seriously about marriage before our pregnancy, and we didn’t feel the need to rush into one during the pregnancy.  We figured we would have quite a bit of transition ahead of us already, starting with cohabitation and following with figuring out how to raise a tiny human.  Planning a perfunctory wedding seemed like overkill, not to mention the fact that neither of us was interested in a perfunctory marriage.

Where We Go From Here

Welcoming our son into our lives has only brought us closer.  Watching Tyler slip seamlessly into fatherhood has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, and I feel so honored to have him as my teammate in this adventure.

My family members take turns bringing up the question every couple of months or so: “Have you guys talked any more about getting married?”  My answer so far is always the same: “A little.”

What I know right now is this: just as falling in love with Tyler was inevitable, so is the fact that our futures will be intertwined.  He is everything I have hoped for in a partner, and the depth of my love for him — and his for me — continues to surprise me.  We have managed to give each other a beautiful, perfect gift, and that is a much more powerful symbol than paying $50 at a courthouse for a piece of paper.

elizabeth ditty headshot

Elizabeth Ditty is screenwriter with a day job. She also writes short stories and occasionally attempts novels, in addition to freelance writing & editing. Also, she’s a new mom. Elizabeth blogs at http://elizabethditty.com/ and tweets too.

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9 thoughts on “wedded wednesdays guest post: why we’re not married

  1. Love it. I think, sometimes, it’s very easy to get married just because you don’t have a problem with getting married. I mean, you’re committed, you know the love is there, you know you can go the distance, and yet…it’s just not at the top of your to-do list until the other people around you put it there. But in my humble opinion, you should get married because you want a marriage.

    Some of your usual readers, oh Sarah, may not fully appreciate this unique perspective or feel that it fits, but I bet that a lot of us do. And honestly, what I love most about this particular guest post is that it approaches a relationship in a way that somehow highlights them as both individuals and as a family unit. Cute cute, and kudos! 🙂

    • Sweet Erin . . . there are 100 reasons I value your opinion, and what you’ve written above is reason #101. Varied perspectives not only broaden our horizons, but allow us to love others better. I love it too. xoxo, friend!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Erin. I knew Sarah would be taking a risk sharing my story, but I think her series on marriage is extremely valuable, and I thought it might broaden the conversation to introduce a different side of things. I love what you said about the post approaching our relationship in a way that highlights us both as individuals and as a family unit, because that is EXACTLY how we approach our relationship. We’ve both lost ourselves before, so we make it a huge priority to help each other be true to ourselves by pursuing our passions — and that serves to bring us closer together as well as make us better parents to our little guy.

  2. There is something uniquely sacred and miraculous about standing face to face with one man and taking vows before God and family. Making a daily choice to do things God’s way is never easy, but it will birth peace and new life in your heart and soul.

    God’s design for marriage will satisfy you, challenge you, and change you — it’s an adventure with God and your spouse that I am praying you don’t miss out on.

    Blessings to you, Elizabeth.

    • Thank you for your comment and perspective, Lyli. I agree that the marriage ceremony can be a beautiful expression of a couple’s commitment to and love for each other. Having been through one that I believed was God’s will at the time, I must say that I also believe there are other equally if not more sacred and miraculous events a couple can share. My story of the birth of my son is one example (it’s on my blog if you’re curious). I very much do appreciate your sentiment, though, Lyli, and I am very glad you have found such fulfillment in your own marriage. For everything, I am most definitely not anti-marriage. I am simply pro-marriage-with-the-right-person-at-the-right-time-for-the-right-reasons. 🙂

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  5. , Paul. This is the sort of article we used to see in motorcycle magazines published by the likes of Mark Williams, who commissioned writers with opinions rather than the barely competent corporate drones who fill the white spaces between the pictures these days. Br!Pravoosper Keating

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