Some might be of the opinion that a twice-divorced, thrice-married woman would be the last person you should take marriage advice from.
I beg to differ.
To that statement, I would ask you why you’d feel that your twenty-something never-been-married relationship/marriage counselor might have sound advice to help you find the path to a lasting relationship?
Do you get my drift?
If you want to learn to golf, are you going to ask your Nana, “Queen of The Lightning Crochet Needles,” who’s never golfed a day in her life? I didn’t think so.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that counselors of all types are very valuable people. As I’ve said in the past, sometimes third-party parenting is what a person needs to see past their emotional entanglements. Marriage is one of those cases.
So, to argue my case, I’ve been married in this day and age, and know what kinds of societal pressures and expectations are placed upon a couple. I was married in my twenties, thirties and forties. I’ve covered quite a lot of territory, and didn’t wind up as a bitter divorcée, but instead, an advocate for strong lasting relationships.
My focus to day is on the nuptials. My niece recently announced that her beau had proposed. It’s Facebook official now, so I know it’s real.
My niece was my first little girl, and I still think of her that way, my sweet little innocent girl. Despite the fact that I am a grandmother by my daughter who is two years younger than my niece, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that my little girl is getting married.
Although I have spent more years away from my niece than I have with her, I’ve come to understand her personality and know that she does not submit to the narcissistic ways of most people her age. For that, I am very proud. So will she hold her ground in marching to the beat of her own drum for her wedding, or will she be pressured to put on a display simply to please others? I pray that it is the former.
Does she want a large wedding of 300 people, or does she want to be barefoot in a field of daffodils with just her man, her best friend, and her dog?
No matter what kind of wedding a couple has, they are going to offend someone.
“Awh. C’mon, Veronica. You’re being rather melodramatic.”
No I’m not. I’m being realistic. Shall we break it down? I haven’t done a chart in a while, so let’s have fun with this.
|Type of wedding||Who will be offended?||Reason for being upset|
|Large, formal||Parents||The enormous expense|
|Mid-sized, formal||Parents and/or Grandparents||Exclusion of distant relatives|
|Small, formal||Parents and direct relatives||Exclusion of cousins, cousins’ date-du-jour, neighbours from the first house you lived in until you were two-years old, your 3rd grade teacher, etc.|
|Destination||Everyone||1. The expense to attend is more than the $100 they were going to give you as a gift; or
2. The large amount of those excluded because of the cost
|Backyard||Guests and next-door neighbours||For serving pigs on a blanket and a cheese platter from Costco, and making too much noise|
|Vegas/Themed||Parents and your Pastor||Not viewing the event as a serious expression of the commitment of marriage|
|Elopement||Everyone||Your actions are selfish for not thinking about everyone’s feelings|
|Any size, any type, but no open bar||Freeloaders and drunks||Self-explanatory|
|Any size, any type, but no kids allowed||People who have procreated||1. Those who feel that it is a slight to little Bobby’s feelings that he can’t be part of this event even though it’s meant to allow adults to enjoy themselves without the distractions or filters that come with children present; or
2. The parents who abided by the rules, but others decided to just bring their kids anyway (and they are always the brattiest, most obnoxious ones)
My grand-sweeping statement of offending everyone doesn’t seem so outrageous, now does it?
So, my advice to all newly engaged couples is lock yourselves in a room and establish your mutual vision for your event, and promise each other that you will stick to it.
Then go one step further. Send out an email, write a letter, or post it on Facebook, with a note to your circle of family and friends that says something to the effect of:
“Dear Family and Friends,
As you know, we have made the important decision to merge our lives. We are so excited to start our life together as husband and wife, and hope that all of you share that excitement for us too.
We ask that, with the joy you feel for our exciting news, you respect our wishes to exchange our vows in the way we envision as the symbol of the beginning of our life together.
At the end of the day, we are the two lives merging, and we must live with the decisions that we make as a couple. With that, we want everyone to know that we will cherish the ongoing celebrations with each an every one of you, rather than just trying to cram it all in to one day.
We look forward to having you as a part of our life. Learning, laughing, and loving all of you for the rest of our life.
We are a couple who understands the importance of building a strong foundation with their partner, so we hope you will all respect our decision to do things our way on this very special day.”
Does it seem harsh? Maybe.
My husband and I both had three different types of weddings each (well… one of them was with each other), and we offended many people with each of them (that’s six weddings-worth of offended people). Has our life together suffered because of all the offended people all over the world? Of course not.
Who is sitting here in the house with me right now? (Other than two dogs and a cat.)
My great aunt’s neighbor who mowed our lawn that one time when I was four, is not here, and has never had any bearing on my life whatsoever. So why should I have thought about his feelings on my very special day?
For all of you heading down the path of legal coupledom—Please, oh please, do it your way.