When I told my father that we were getting married, he asked, “why?”
My father has been married many times, so this was both an odd question, and the perfect question from him. After all, James and I have been together for almost 10 years. We committed to each other a long time ago and have been each other’s partner for better or for worse for many years already. So why bother getting married?
As we have gone through the heartaches and stresses of planning this wedding, I have to admit, that question has come up in my own mind many times. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we putting ourselves in the spotlight for scrutiny from family and friends? For people to judge our every decision? Why are we throwing this big party and spending our every penny to feed and entertain family, and friends who we consider to be like family, many of whom hardly seem interested ?
So, in putting together our ceremony and deciding what our officiant will say, and what we will say to each other on our wedding day, I’ve thought a lot about the question my father asked me, and this is what I have come to decide.
We are getting married because we want to. We are, as a quote I found on the Internet said, “tying ourselves to the strength of an institution that has stood the test of time, has helped people survive great hardships, and has helped them embrace enormous joy…” Because as humans, we are naive to think we can go through this world alone. We are at our best when we are with each other, when we work together, when we support one another. This encompasses all human relationships — friendships, romantic relationships, sisterhood, brotherhood.
So when we have a wedding, we are, essentially, inviting you into our community. You are standing witness to our commitment to each other, and are thus making a commitment to us as well. To help support us, to love us, to be there for us. And we will do the same for you. It is as much about the two of us as it is about all of you, because we all endure struggles, and we all celebrate joy, and we do it together.
Here’s a snippet from Jewish feminist writer Anita Diamant about marriage: ( via apracticalwedding.com)
“Why marry? Because marriage publicly affirms the possibility of moving toward another person without reservation. With that momentum, we are propelled toward the center of the heart, toward the center of the universe, and however far that gets us is farther than we’d otherwise go alone. Why marry? Because every wedding enacts a personal connection to the universal story of the human hope for wholeness. Every wedding is an invocation of peace and wholeness and connection and joy. Good wishes flow from family and friends, through history and community, with wings and prayers and everything that might turn out to be holy in the universe. So that’s why Jim and I got married — to receive that shower of blessings, hoping with all our hearts to make them last.”
My hope is that those of you who are coming will realize that you were not arbitrarily invited. You were invited because we see you as part of our community. So when we ask you to take part in the wedding in some way, we would hope that you would accept that as an honor, and not as a burden. We hope that you would recognize that you are special to us in our lives. So thank you so, so much to those of you who have helped, or have offered to help. We appreciate you more than words can say.