How and When Versus Why

As soon as I got engaged, people asked about the how and when. “Have you set a date yet?” “Do you have a reception location?” It’s all about how it will all become official and when.

But no one asked about the why. Why marriage? Why now? Why Tom? Well, I guess one would assume that the why had already been sorted out. They’d be right, of course. A proposal of marriage is something both sides have considered a great deal, especially when the relationship is five years old at the time of engagement. So with the why already determined, the how and when seem to be the final details left to be sorted out until Mr. and Mrs. are a single team in the eyes of the government.

To me, though, the how and when were the least important parts of marriage. The why is crucial. I love him. He loves me. We are a great team. We fight for each other. And, yes, we argue. We disagree. We compromise. All of that comes with two individuals forming a team. It just so happens that those are the important parts, too.

So when we got engaged and the why was announced by proxy through our commitment to marry one another, it quickly came to light that the how and when didn’t matter to me like they matter to a lot of women. I had never dreamed of a princess wedding when I was a girl. I never felt like I needed a wedding gown or that perfect day when all eyes are on me.

The more everyone asked about the how and when, the more I pushed it away. A marriage is not a theatrical performance. I learned that from my Dad, actually. There was one day after the engagement that I was chatting with my Mom about my priorities and my Dad was cleverly overhearing. I was complaining about this or that, flowers and dresses, and noting that having those things wouldn’t make a difference in the eventual marriage. That isn’t what matters. In fact, it’s dumb. And then from the corner of the room, my Dad chimed in saying:

“You’re getting married, you’re not putting on a play.”

Exactly. Exactly right.

I love my family and friends. They are very dear to me. But my marriage is not a play and I didn’t want to treat it as such. On top of that, I hate being the center of attention. A day when all eyes are on me is pretty much my worst nightmare. If I were to be a typical modern bride, there would be no escaping the spotlight when all I want is some quality time with my brand new husband.

All of this led to us eloping. We eloped on March 23rd at Waltham City Hall and it was an 80 degree day. The weather was strange but the day was perfect. It was short, sweet, and all eyes were on me. It just turned out that all eyes were on him, too. Three pairs of eyes saw our union come to pass: Waltham City Clerk, husband, and wife. While my eyes were on him, his were on me, and it was perfect.

Eloping wasn’t an effort to cut people out. Eloping, for us, was a way of staying true to who we are. We don’t make a big deal about milestones in our relationship so this was no different. A marriage after six and a half years of prior relationship becomes a milestone just like finishing college and moving out on our own were. We didn’t get a massive party for either prior event so we wanted to get married in a way that was meaningful for us.

And we succeeded.

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9 thoughts on “How and When Versus Why

  1. You just made me laugh and cry at the same time! So proud of who you have become! Keep writing – I will keep reading!

  2. Well said.
    Stacey and I will be engaged for 4 years before we tie the knot this summer. There’s been sooo much stress and money into planning this wedding. I’m also not super excited about standing in front of everyone during the ceremony.
    I am, however, very excited about the party after the ceremony. We thought about doing just a small ceremony with a large party, but lots of her family are coming from across the country so we thought it would be kinda rude of us to ask people to come to the reception and not the ceremony since they have to fly here.

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