I was asked why don’t I do this blog like I do the other two blogs…
And it was not hard for me to answer that question with another question, one which sounded like “Yeah…why DON’T I turn it into one of THOSE blogs already?”
There are a lot of websites around that give people advice as to how to save money, and those kinds of things are and should be reserved for those who have nothing but time and patience to shop all day. I am not that person anymore. I have given myself all the time that I need in order to become all the advice-giving-clue-having-no-crap-taking-feminist-mom-healer-wedding-minister-person type human being that I need to be, and it was without hesitation that I would take this time to do exactly what it is that I do anyway but in this case it is specifically for those who are getting married very soon, or maybe even not that soon.
I get a whole LOT of questions, mostly about the human nature part of relationships, particularly about those between men and women, and most of those ones about marriage and how things fall apart. This is not the way that I like to do things, the falling apart part, but my thought is that if I can reach just one couple and plant the seed in their heads that you get to do your life your combined way, then I have done my job, not only as a person ordained to perform marriages, but more, as the healer that I am in my daily practice.
I was asked to write it, not because people need to get a clue, but marrying people need to have one walking into it…hence, this is FOR THOSE ABOUT TO WALK…down the aisle, that is.
And yes, of course, these things which I will write about also could and most of the time will apply to the rest of the humans on the planet as well.
The wedding is only a tiny part of the marriage
Weddings are, by and large and as long as someone’s drunken auntie does not make an ass of herself, a whole lot of fun! Come on! You know they are! You get to dress up (ok, sometimes you don’t have to dress up, at least when I am who is performing the ceremony, but that is neither here nor there right now.). You get to eat free. You get to drink free. You get to do a whole lot with lots of people, some who you know, and many who you don’t, and at the end of it all, the thing that is changed is not only the bride’s last name.
What once applied to two separate people now applies to one couple, and what used to be your last name is now your “maiden name,” and what used to be your life is now still your life but is now shared with someone who might not realize just how irritating it is for someone else to replace the toilet paper roll the wrong way. (There is no wrong way, by the way…just sayin’…) He who used to be a bachelor is now a husband. She who used to be a nice young lady is now some dude’s ‘old lady.’ Clearly, just from what has been shown to you here is a lot more than a whole lot of words which apply to two people, and these whole lot of words carry a whole lot of meaning and bring with them a change in the energies within a person simply and only from thinking about this paragraph on its own, let alone all of the other things that go on within a marriage that is brand new.
The wedding, kids, is only one part of the entirety of the whole. The wedding is that one last party, the last hurrah, even as it is the first party that you and your beloved will throw for what is now your combined bunch of people who, at one time was “his” and “hers” but is now “ours.”
When you think about that thought for a minute, and you wrap your head around it enough to where it won’t make your brain freeze up like a Facebook site update, it hits us each like a two ton load of bricks to know that this coming Friday evening, there will be an entire population of women who are known as “The Bride to Be,” who will, on that very next day, no longer be the bride-to-be, but will, at one point in the day, BE the bride and a very short time after that will be Mrs. Newlywed.
Kind of a big fat thought, right?
Is it respect, or honor, or Love which we each crave?
“Well, DUH!” exclaimed the snarky minister, dressed in her best Metallica T-shirt and very faded skinny jeans, hair, arms thrown up into the air as though it would make the statement any clearer that “indeed, Love, it is not Respect OR anything, but Respect, period, along with honor and Love…duh!”
I have found that within the minds of the marrying there are questions, questions, questions about whether or not they will get along, whether or not they will get along with each others’ families after the pageantry, and after all the loveliness of that one very special day has become something committed to the memories not only of the couple, but also of all their guests. This is the part that not a lot of people take for granted. Too many people believe that these are just nice words that all ministers say, but this is not the truth. These vows, these nice words are ages…GENERATIONS old and while they are still part of the ceremony, many, many ministers, including this one, have changed the way that the vows are read because the way that they are usually set up makes me think of a pirate who has literally “taken” a bride, tied her to some part of his boat, and forced her to say these things and mean them in front of the ship’s clergy so that he can, very truly, take her as his wife. This denotes that she is his property. I ask anyone reading this who really wants to think of their partner as property?
Who really wants to have that kind of responsibility – the responsibility of ownership when in reality there is no one being owned and no dowry being traded.
To Love, Honor and Respect means a whole lot to a whole lot of different people, but the bottom line in all of this is that these things apply to both the bride and the groom and these are things that a whole lot of people have never really thought about. No one getting married really thinks about the vows that they take until they happen upon their very first argument and the woman in the typical marriage is the one who ends up in tears, reminding her once-upon-a-time guy that he vowed to Love, Honor and Cherish her, but that he also told her in those vows that he would respect her.
When he doesn’t it proves to her what her parents told her, what her mother showed her, which, if you thought about it on the whole, there is a whole population of women who are divorced who now are that way because they did not realize that they get to make the rules now. That’s right – the rules by which you both shall love, live, and be like are yours to make and yours to keep, forever and ever, amen.
Seriously. For real – it’s your show, and no one else’s. This is the part that not a lot of people want to accept, namely the parents of the bride. I know this. I was this bride-turned-abuse-survivor. That is what this particular blog really is about – staying sane when the wedded bliss is more like a wedded bleh! And those days will happen. You will fight – and do I mean a LOT, and it is because there is a constant power struggle, at least in most unions, even in these times when it seems like it should not be this way. Too many people still listen to advice that might have applied to a lot of other unions between men and their wives, and too many people see other peoples’ marriages through and with their own marriage dearly in mind and while what we are told is the absolute truth of things, the bottom line is that the things that used to apply a lot of years ago cannot apply now. Things are very different now.
Things are very different now
Marriages these days are no longer “for the farm,” like they were generations ago, when people married young, raised families – large families – very young, and it is because back in the day before cars and before women had the right to speak up without garnering the chance at also being beaten for speaking out of turn, people married younger because the life expectancy was not as great as it is now. People had great big families then because there were family farms to tend to and it made sense to bring your own farm hands into the world.
Today, though, things are markedly different. Today there are things called equality, and today there are men who get married to men, women who get married to women, men who are thirty years older than their brides, and women who are twenty years older than their grooms. Today, there are women CEOs and today there are men who stay home with the kids to raise said such woman’s children while said woman goes out into the world to collect the sustenance to provide for the family who she made with the man who stays home and does what was primarily women’s work back in the day. Today women are respected as equal partners, and today, men are not thought of as being creepy and macho because today we just seem not to want to deal with what was because what was no longer applies.
Am I saying that we women need to assert ourselves more in our marriages? Not if you don’t have to, and if you feel like you have to then it is time to ask yourself a couple of questions with the first one being thought of as “why did he not behave this way before I married him?” and he might ask “What happened to that gentle creature who I fell in love with and why is she not letting me be the way that I was to her when we first started dating?”
Well, you, oh bride to be, were so blinded by what you wanted that you told yourself and lied to you about what the reality was of him, and without bothering then to question yourself then about it, you somehow, and on some level, decided that you would be able to settle for it this one time, all in the name of Love. And you, Mr. IamthemanIamtheman (gotta love Anthrax, right?) …you were SO busy trying to not let all the guys in your life think that somehow you have become pansy-fied in your ways that you allowed someone else’s thoughts and someone else’s beliefs about you become the thing that has caused you to behave like a moron.
It is very simple.
When we think about things in the manner that is the question “How would I want to be treated?” and we are willing to NOT see our beloved as the only person on the planet whose opinion of us matters, and when we are willing to not settle for being treated as though the other person who we have placed atop a pedestal can finally come back to earth from the Land of Ego, and when everyone can remember and make it a habit to not ever slip into the idea that we are more important than anyone else is and that we have to be the most important person in the person who we married’s life is, and when we can accept that we cannot have our way all the time, and when we can accept that this other person is someone who, just like us, has their own thought about everything and we can bother to have some respect for them and who they truly are….
…this is when we have the key to a happy, long marriage.
Reverend Roxanne Cottell is the Kumu Hula and Creator of the Healing with Hula Program for Women and the Co-Founder of Na Hula O Ka Wahine ‘Ui – The Sisterhood of The Soul. She is a blogger, book author, choreographer , Public Speaker, Domestic Violence and Emotional Abuse Survivors Advocate and Spiritual Coach. If you would like to contact her for speaking engagements, Spiritual Consultations, Book a Wedding or for anything else, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) Roxanne K. Cottell. All Rights Reserved