The best type of wedding to attend is one that is not yours. The second best type is one where no children are invited. I have horrible memories of a wedding I attended a few years ago where the couple had shamefully had an illegitimate child a few years earlier and without a shred of shame allowed the toddler to roam the whole altar during the ceremony, flower arrangements to knock over and almost topple the holy candle.
Unfortunately that wedding was my own and said child, now almost 20, still regrets that she didn’t burn the place down. Maybe that’s why I think kids shouldn’t be at weddings, or more specifically, my kids shouldn’t be.
After two years of not going anywhere or doing anything, we would have accepted any wedding invitation, but the stipulation that no children ended up in our mailbox was just the icing on the cake.
When our youngest expressed his dismay at being left in the care of his church-arsonist older sister and begged us to bring him, we were able to show him the invitation which clearly said no children. We are so sorry we lied we would love to bring you but unfortunately we have to drive upland to a beautiful castle for the night without you. boo-bye!
As anyone with children will attest, you will never leave the house when you should have, resulting in us being very, very late. I’d like to say I enjoyed the journey to the wedding site, but apart from the fact that there are plenty of Laois hamlets with names like post-punk bands – Spink, Wolfhill, The Swan – the rest was a blur. But we made it – sweaty, arguing, stressed and late, but not the last to arrive and that’s all that matters.
Weddings are a great time to reflect on our own experiences of married life. I tend to drift off and become a bit Philip Larkin when I think about how our lives all contain this hour.
If we’re trying to figure out what year we were married, we have to account for our daughter’s age when we ran up the aisle. When we want to figure out how long we’ve been together, we take our daughter’s age, add nine months of gestation, and then add a very short and fun half year.
We got pretty much everything wrong – I was still in college when we had our daughter and looking back I think we both would accept that we were too young and really knew very little about life. I’m not saying I have an honorary degree from the University of Life now, but I was particularly immature and naive at the time.
“You can track your relationship by measuring how deep the gorge gets on each side of your mattress.”
I knew even less about marriage than I did about having children, and yet I stumbled into both with a cheerful, “How hard can that be?” If I were to give a speech to my younger self on my wedding day, it would probably be quite a downer, less about the Oxford definition of love and more like Red’s third and final parole hearing Shawshank Redemption.
My advice would be to forget the usual, never go to bed angry – I’d tell young Bill to prepare to go to bed angry a fair number of times instead. Chances are that what you were arguing about was caused at least in part by lack of sleep, so getting a good night’s sleep is the best way to deal with it.
In fact, I would recommend any young couple to get the largest possible bed so nobody has to sleep angry on the couch, they can just squirm to their respective edges and feel like they’re a world away. That way, you can track your relationship by how deep the gorge gets on each side.
If you have more than one hill in the middle, it might be time to get help. It doesn’t have to be pastoral care, not even reading a few books – by Esther Perel mating in captivity is a good motivator to keep the middle bed moraine flat. Don’t take anything as guaranteed. Not them, not yourself, not your own personal story, because all the things that bring us together might as well become things that drive us apart.
But the most important thing is that there is no single definition of what marriage should look like or what its functions are. We’ve made it this far through a shaky kind of love with a by-order of stubbornness, but if we could both go back we’d change a lot, not in each other but in ourselves. And we’d try to enjoy it all a little more .
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/i-blundered-into-marriage-and-having-kids-with-a-cheerful-how-hard-can-it-be-but-weve-made-it-this-far-with-a-wonky-kind-of-love-41853255.html I stumbled into marriage and had kids with a gleeful ‘How hard can that be?’ But we’ve made it this far with a shaky kind of love