Sunday, March 28, 2010

Marriage: The Final Frontier?

It’s been a while but I have the ultimate excuse... I got hitched!
Forgive the self-satisfied tone of this post but I had the most wonderful wedding day ever. Granted, being the groom, my duties essentially involved pitching up on time and looking reasonably neat, which is already not difficult given that I am bald.
My beautiful bride – perhaps the clichés are clichés because they work – was a vision in pink, the summer afternoon in the Stellenbosch winelands forming an exquisite green backdrop as we said our vows in front of our treasured family and friends under the old oak trees of Nooitgedacht Estate. For one who is given to worrying I was slightly disbelieving how every detail dovetailed the bride and groom’s world views so magnificently. There was an African choir and a string quartet. There were pink sequins and formal nuptial blessings. There was Benedictus and Mazel Tov. There was Pablo Neruda and Shakespeare and the Beatitudes and Mendelssohn and Ella Fitzgerald. And, everywhere, were the beaming smiles of dear friends and family.
Ultimately, a wedding is a celebration, and judging from the way everyone partied so effortlessly into the night, we couldn’t have asked for a better start to married life. You’re welcome to peruse the official photographs if you like that I’ve posted here on Flickr.
For some it may seem absurd to spend so much time (and money) on an event that races by in just over eight hours. Certainly, our marriage would be just as valid if it were solemnized in a magistrate’s office, or in Vegas with a Japanese Elvis, or whispered in Latin in a chapel with just us and a priest. But for two people whose combined eclecticism sometimes threatens to obliterate the Universe’s dark matter, we saw fit to somehow combine all three options above, while endeavouring to include all our nearest and dearest. If anything, the day was as much an investment in the special people around as as the public declaration of our (take your insulin, people) love for each other.
A few months on, the magic is still there, percolating quietly in the background while the daily tolls of mortgages and bills continue, as ever. On the surface, nothing has changed in our five-year relationship, other than the words “wife” and “husband” are slowly losing their novelty (and my wedding ring has stopped being a source of localised eczema). Internally, though, I feel a subtle crystallisation of “things I never knew but always suspected” taking place, growing more profound each day. I’m starting to understand how my parents weathered 40 years (!) of marriage while retaining their distinct personalities.
Amid a sea of broken relationships that have pierced the hearts of several close friends, we were understandably nervous – and frequently sceptical – about this Sacrament of Matrimony thing. Our minds regularly chanted, “it’s not necessary in this day and age…” I mean, we’d co-habited for four years and had joint accounts and pets.
But, as Edward Monkton says, “Sometimes the heart should follow the mind. Sometimes the heart should tell the mind to stay at home and stop interfering.” The latter definitely seemed to apply. So we took the plunge. Go figure, I’m happy. It’s like I’m 18 again, but minus all that angst and bravado.
So, there you have it folks. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am pleased to report that I’ve been a husband for four months now… and it’s great.