Married in the mornin’…

England is gushing with excitement over the royal nuptials taking place tomorrow.  The national holiday is the start of a four-day weekend of celebration.  Documentaries abound on past royal weddings and on Will and Kate (excuse me, Catherine).  The airwaves are saturated with interviews of friends who have not spoken to the happy couple in years.  The newspapers have printed every photo ever taken of the future queen.  I, too, have gotten into the spirit, having purchased a Will HEART Kate mug and a union jack top hat.

However, there is one aspect of the hoopla that has bothered me: the media’s insistance on teasing William’s fiancee for all the time she’s spent dating her prince before she got her proposal.  “Waity Katie,” they’ve called her, as though it’s a bad thing (rather than a sign of maturity) to take time to make sure one’s future spouse and, for her, life-long career is truly right.

A goldfish has a longer memory

It’s as though the media have forgotten what William clearly has not – a bad marriage made in the light of a billion viewers can have devastating, and even fatal, consequences.  Even though we love to treat our celebrities as though their lives are purely about our entertainment, those are real people who experience some parts of life (love, happiness, friendship) just as we do.  Certainly, William has never forgotten his parents’ crushing unhappiness together.  Surely, he has not, for one day, forgotten that his mother was hounded to her death, and any woman he might marry would be the prey of the same relentless paparazzi.

Why were the media so severe with this (still) young couple for taking their time and living their own lives in their twenties, before embarking on a life-long commitment?  What does this say about our celebrity culture that we almost expect to hear about wedding bells after a couple is spotted on their first date?  Is the divorce rate any wonder?

The difference between a wedding and a marriage

Many young women spend much of their youth dreaming of the “most special day” of their lives – their wedding day.  I was no different.  I wanted to know the future, to settle something in my life, to know I would never be alone.  I was twenty-two.  Universes could be filled with what I didn’t know at twenty-two, but, of course, I didn’t realize that.  The thing about which I was most unaware is that a wedding is a day; a marriage is every day.

It all seemed so romantic.  Love at first sight.  And he was so sure it was love that he wanted to marry me, after only six weeks!  It all fit in with my fairy tale idea of how love works.  But people behave differently during the “wooing” period of a relationship (usually about the first six months).  They are trying to impress and are on their best behavior.  They try to hide their flaws and may even pretend to be someone they absolutely are not.  In my case, I pretended I was happy being a small-town girl devoted to my man’s career.  My then-fiancee pretended he was romantic and interested in what I wanted out of life.

Because we were engaged so quickly, we were getting to know each other with the pressure of the wedding looming over us.  Any doubts we might have had were overshadowed (for me, at least) by the knowledge that a break-up would be a public affair and would involve telling everyone we’d invited – hundreds of little humiliations.

With our grandparents’ health in doubt, we moved the wedding up to June (a year after we’d met), rather than the original December date.  My mother has often said that she is sure we would never have married if we had not done that.  She is probably right, though I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the momentum of it all, and the excitement of the day, that I’m not sure I would ever have been honest with myself.

It took me four long years to gain the strength I needed to recognize the truth – we’d made a mistake.  And a mistake that could be fixed.  We were two good people, but a very bad couple.

Love takes time

It’s not that I don’t believe in love at first sight; after all, I had it with my current husband (he, on the other hand, couldn’t remember what I looked like after we met, so it wasn’t mutual).  But I believe we must know each other after the wooing period, when we are just ourselves… we must know each other through all seasons and in both good times and bad before we can really determine our compatibility.  Having done so the second time, I have found a partner who makes me happy every day and with whom, life just gets better and better.

With all the extra complications surrounding them, perhaps the media should be applauding the example set by William and Kate, who took their time getting to know themselves and each other as adults, before embarking on the adventure of marriage.  Unlike many celebrities, they are showing that they take this commitment seriously.  Whatever happens, they are more likely to succeed because they already know each other so well.

I, for one, admire them and wish them well.  Oh, and the day off is great… I’m all set for mimosas in the morning!

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 4:37 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Awww…so true. I wish them luck. I remember watching the first wedding on television – it was such a fairy tale and Diana seemed to be the luckiest girl in the world. What a tragedy. I hope Will and Kate’s marriage succeeds.

  2. Well said!!!

  3. Meghan – I’ve been watching a lot about the royal wedding and I haven’s seen that phrase used (waity katie). What a shame! I too, applaud them for not jumping into anything. As you and I both know (your realization took four years, mine took 20 years), a fairytale courtship and marriage does not a marriage make. We don’t jump into any other major decisions so lightly (changing a job for example) so why is everyone racing to get married? Or buy a house? Or have children? These things aren’t right for everyone! It’s being mature enough to know whether it is that makes the difference. Bravo on the post!

    p.s. – I wish I could join you for mimosas. Sounds fun!

  4. well said, Meghan! thanks for sharing good points and lessons learned from your own life.

  5. You say what most of us experience and are afraid to say out loud. It takes great strength to do what you’ve done in your life and by writing about it gives us out here the strength to follow your footsteps! Thank’s Meghan! Love this post!

    • Thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughts!

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