my marriage thesis

A dear friend I met during my writing course was married this weekend, under a steely, stormy sky. She asked me to say some things about marriage during the ceremony, because she and I have talked extensively about what it takes. And I’ve thought about it a lot, being a romance writer and everything.

This is what I came up with:

  • One of the most wonderful parts of marriage is the comfort and familiarity of it. But as marriage is so often a contradiction, the opposite is also true: marriage can’t flourish without allowing room to be always new and surprising. Because people are always new and surprising. Or, as I once heard it put: Remember – you aren’t marrying yourself.
  • When you’re married, I have found that love can transform from being a fuzzy feeling, to being implacable – a bedrock you can build a life on, that asks for transformation and trust and acceptance, when those things seem impossible.
  • Which is probably why I’ve found that the single most important practice in marriage is kindness.
  • The most confronting part of marriage for myself – and most people, I imagine – is the fact that you’re promising something you don’t know you can fulfil on. But if you were to vow, “I will be with you until it doesn’t work any more,” that wouldn’t be a promise – it would be a statement of fact.
  • When you commit to something beyond what you know you can do, “I will be with you always”, you are calling yourself to be great. You are creating something entirely new, where all the inconsistencies and complexities of marriage become possible.
  • There’s a line from the move Valentine’s Day: “Love is the last shocking act left on the planet.” I agree. Today you two are taking on something shocking – something worth striving for, and worth being great for.

Comments 4 Responses

    1. anna cowan Post author

      I think some people really got it, some people were bemused by it, some people were thinking about other things! :-) The celebrant said some very standard things about communication and trust etc – all very valid, but I was glad to get in some sentiment of the grittiness of marriage.

  1. Rosina

    Anna, have you considered becoming a marriage celebrant, yourself? You could make such a difference in otherwise mundane, perhaps perfunctory (albeit special for the participants) ceremonies.

    Your writing is superb and your ideas inspired. I remember, I remember ……

    Love, Rosina.

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