I recently found out that one of the very first couples I ever married, some six years ago, was now divorced. I couldn’t believe it. I had tears in my eyes and found myself thinking about them for the whole day. I was so sad for them and so shocked, especially having witnessed the love they had for each other, I couldn’t believe their marriage had not lasted longer. It was good to know though that they had both moved on and were now with other partners and ultimately, were happy again.
Hearing this news really got me thinking. I started thinking about my approach to my weddings, how I work with couples and shape the content of their ceremony. I began to realise that without thinking about it consciously, I am actually very aware that not every marriage lasts ‘forever’, as much as it is the couple’s wish and intention for it to. No couple enters into marriage thinking, ‘Bloody hell this thing might not work out,’ but I think many couples are more conscious and more realistic than before.
I meet so many amazing couples whose love for one another is so palpable, so intense, so fresh, so infectious. I am so on their side and rooting for their relationship as much as they are. They want their marriage to be a success and they want to work hard at it, to make it work, because marriage is hard work. It doesn’t just happen, you have to make it happen.
There are times I cannot bare to look at my husband. Where he has annoyed the hell out of me so much that I refuse to talk to him. And I know he feels the same about me on
many occasions. There have been times when we have tested the hell out of our love but we’ve always come out on the other side of it, the couple we are meant to be. My boy is my soul mate, the father of my child, my wine-loving twin, the reason I get out of bed in the morning, but that’s for now. Who knows what the future holds? Who knows how we change? I can’t imagine that anything will change and I don’t want anything to change, but we just don’t know. We are celebrating ten years of marriage this year, the best ten years of my life and all I can wish for is that we have many decades more.
When I look back over the ceremonies that I have written, I notice that I rarely use the word ‘forever,’ and I tend to say ‘for your time together,’ more. I think it is good to be realistic. I think the word ‘forever’ belongs in fairytales. No marriage lasts forever, they last for quantifiable amounts of time, whether that is five years, 15 years or 50 years. You can always quantify the length of a marriage. A couple who die after being married for 60 years, have not been married forever, they’ve been married for 60 years. Forever has no place in marriage vocabulary.
It is good to enter into a marriage by celebrating your love and achievements together and looking forward to your future lives together, but also to maintain a level of realism in knowing that your future together will be as long as it will be. I think this is why I really want couples to invest so much into their ceremonies too, as much, if not more than the rest of the day. I want them to put their love for each other on a plate, along with all the things that drive them crazy (bad crazy, not good crazy) and get them to suck it all up and acknowledge those things and make a commitment to accepting the bad and the good. A battleground in a wonderland!
On hearing of this failed marriage, I have consoled myself with the knowledge that on the day that they married, their feelings were true, as were their intentions of their commitment. I remember their vows like it was yesterday and I remember they said them with honesty, love and heartfelt emotion. I remember the way they both cried too. So I think as we don’t know what the future holds or what is around the corner, as long as we approach our marriage ceremonies with a 100% commitment to love, respect and make each other happy for as long as we can, that should be the most that we can ask of ourselves. Perhaps, there is no need to talk about forever, but simply a need to talk about the love that we have now and our hope that it lasts for as long as we want it to.