We got engaged twenty two years ago today. We should really do something about the getting married bit at some point but the whole longest-engagement-in-the-world thing has turned into a bit of a running joke amongst our friends. When we got engaged, it really was with every intention of getting married. But life just sort of got in the way. It was more important to build a life together than it was to seal the deal with salmon starters for two hundred of our nearest and dearest. And the longer we left it, the less important it became I guess.
I must admit that I have never felt like there was something missing from our relationship because we weren’t married. I know people say that things feel different when you are married but I honestly don’t know how you can feel more committed than we do after over twenty two years and four children. We have built an incredible life together, married or not, and that is not something that I take for granted. I don’t want this to sound like I am anti-marriage in any way because I’m really really not. And I certainly don’t want to belittle those who take – and more importantly keep – their wedding vows. What I mean is that personally, I don’t think that being married would have changed us as a couple, we would still be together.
I was talking about this upcoming anniversary with a friend yesterday and feeling like a bit of a loon for still marking the date that we were engaged. But as she rightly pointed out, why should married couples get the sole rights to celebrate their special day? Not being married doesn’t make our relationship any less important. For us, the exchanging of cards this morning was more about celebrating us than the date of course but either way, I think we have a lot to celebrate. Over twenty two years is a good innings by anyone’s standards. She was saying actually that having previously divorced, she will never marry again and feels more committed in her current relationship just living together than she ever did when she was married. She strongly believes that they are both still together because they want to be and not because they have a piece of paper telling them that they have to be. I’m not sure if I entirely agree with her, I just happen to think that she has just found real happiness this time around, but I do sort of understand the sentiment behind her feeling that way. Marriage didn’t work for her, but living together has been just the ticket. I can’t help but think that it is the ‘person’ bit that makes it work, not the ‘married’ or ‘living together’ bit but there you go.
I mean let’s face it, when you are in it for the long haul, married or not, it is not all hearts and flowers. How does it go again? For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part… Yup. Tick, tick, tick, tick. I honestly don’t think that extra ring would have made the hard times any easier, do you? As it happens, we are the only couple from our original gang of friends not to get married and the only ones still together. I’m not saying that ‘not being married’ is in any way better than ‘being married’ but it does mean that it has clearly worked for us. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.
We are happily unmarried and actually, I can’t see that changing any time soon (unless we finally listen to our sensible heads that can tell us at least one hundred and one boring old legal reasons why we should be married. Who said romance was dead, eh? Ha!)