Saying "I Do"
What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think “marriage”? - Saying "I Do" introduction?? Do you smell a home cooked meal waiting on the table, after a long-hard day at work? Do you picture a beautiful home with a white picket fence? Maybe you think about a gorgeous white dress, that was altered to fit you just right. Or maybe it’s not white at all because your favorite color is black, and you refuse to be cliche on what’s supposed to be the most important day of your life. Maybe you see half of everything you own being taken out from under you if this whole “marriage thing” goes south, and that’s just not a chance you’re willing to take.
Maybe the thought of being committed to one person for the rest of your life frightens you, and all of a sudden that beautiful woman standing next you is looking more like a prison warden, rather than your future wife. Whatever your views or opinions on marriage may be one things for certain; no one ever walked down the aisle, said their vows, and pledged before God and everyone most precious to them expecting to fail. Marriage was not always based on the idea of two people falling in love and wanting to spend the rest of their lives together.
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In the 1800’s marriage was not just regarded as the joining of two people, but the joining of families, businesses, and wealth. Many women had suitors pre-arranged for them by their fathers. Although most marriages were based on the idea of security and companionship, that doesn’t mean that love did not exist in marriage. Once married, it was very difficult for a woman to divorce. The Matrimonial Act of 1857 gave men the right to divorce their wives on the grounds of adultery. However, there was no such act granting women that same right.
Once divorced, the husband would automatically gain custody of the couple’s children, and in some cases, prevent the mother from seeing the children. Everyone’s interpretation of marriage varies according to time, place, and experience. If asked to define a “perfect” marriage my first thought would be my great Grandparents, Minnie and Glen Truesdale. Married in 1937, they were happily married for thirty-two years and had three children together. I never got the privilege of meeting my grandfather, he passed away in 1969. My mother told me that he was one of the sweetest men you could ever meet and that she was his “favorite” grandchild.
My great grandmother passed away in 2009 at ninety years old. My grandmother never re-married. As a matter of fact she lived alone for the rest of her days. I never even saw my Nanny with another man in the sixteen years I spent with her. I asked her one day “Nanny, why didn’t you ever get re-married? ” And she said “Because I already am married, to your Grandpa, and we will be together again soon. ” My Nanny was raised in a time where divorce wasn’t even considered, and being a faithful Christian as well, I know the idea would have never crossed her mind.
The most important point to my story is this; my grandmother lived the last forty years of her life alone, dedicated to her late husband. She vowed to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of her days, and she did just that. As with anything in life with the positives, comes the negatives. So what do you do when things don’t go as planned? When you got married you were madly in love. Every moment spent with that person felt better than the last. When you looked into their eyes you could see the rest of your life. People change, you don’t appreciate each other like you used to because you forgot what life was like before he or she came along.
I watched my mother’s marriage fail. My mom married to the man I now call Dad in 1996. I remember the good times, when they were happy, but I don’t think they do. In situations like these you can’t put the blame one parent, they both failed in my eyes. Dad worked seven days a week, with good intentions, but Mom felt neglected, like we weren’t the most important part of his life anymore. I don’t believe that’s true though, I think he just had his priorities mixed up. He was more worried about keeping a roof over our heads, rather than spending time with us.
She got bored, and boredom turned into loneliness. She was depressed, she got tired of sitting home alone with us kids all day. Anytime she wanted to go out, or do something fun, he was too tired and soon, the loneliness turned into anger. I think she started most of the fights, but I know she was doing it to get his attention. They’ve been married for seventeen years now but have been separated for ten. One of my biggest fears in life is failing at marriage. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life miserable after only a few good years of marriage.
I don’t want to be like my Mom and Dad, married but living completely separate lives. I don’t want to be married multiple times, or ever get divorce point blank period! To be honest I don’t know why marriage is so important to me, nobody else in my family seems to have much regard, but maybe that’s the reason. I have seen so many people around me fail at marriage that it’s the one thing I want to do right. I want to make sure I’m marrying the right person, for the right reasons, at the right time. Marriage is a promise, a promise I intend to keep.