And no matter what words I put down in black and white here, the experienced English teacher in me knows that they will be misconstrued and read in terms of someone's personal context and agenda. Someone reading this will misread me and get it wrong. Someone will get 1/5 for comprehension and I simply will not be able to avoid it. So, please read this carefully. Please.
C'est la vie. Heigh ho. Here goes.
I wasn't born yesterday. I'm middle-aged. I've been married 39 years at the end of this month. I certainly know that marriage does not automatically guarantee a happy relationship.
I've watched the very, very long marriages of family close to me, of the elderly, dwindle into spitefulness and bitterness. Ageing issues deface the 'for better and for worse' promise from the long-forgotten past. Basic respect appears to disappear. It's a horrible thing to watch. It's a cautionary tale. They're very old. I do understand that. And I don't understand that at the same time.
Good relationships have nothing to do with legal contracts. I know that.
My girl's lived with another nice boy before. We've helped move furniture. These emotions weren't there. My girl's lived with this very, very, special, latest boy for quite some time, and we were pleased that she'd found a lovely companion to share time and space with. But, this feeling of being emotionally bowled over, of being overwhelmed, wasn't there. Why did it take a howling gale and wedding cake?
There was no reason to get married at this stage. I haven't asked them why now ? I'm probably not going to. I would have loved and supported them regardless. They appear to have a very loving relationship. They have a lot in common. They are both in their thirties. They're both intelligent, mature, and they love their families in demonstrably kind ways. I love both of them already.
What I wasn't prepared for was the overwhelming feeling of emotion that their public and binding legal commitment gave me.
I have an anthropology honours degree from Sydney University from way back when, so I should know all about society and ritual and ceremony and the way in which societal affirmation creates a sense of belonging, but I didn't really 'get' that message in my very bones and deep within my soul until I saw my little girl married in front of her family, his family and their friends.
It seems that standing up in front of the significant others in your social circle and agreeing to be legally bound to another's tribe is a whole other psychic level in our society. It makes no difference and yet it seems to make all the difference. Is it the idea that it's not 'just' each other, but the whole other tribe??? The other tribe that is eyeing off the other tribe, or in our case, happily chatting to 'the other side'?
Public commitment IS a big deal it seems. Is this us demonstrating our tribal roots do you think?