My wedding is in a few weeks and trust me, getting married for the second time in my 40s is a lot different than when I did it the first time in my 20s. This time around I experienced a hot flash while trying on wedding dresses, I won’t be wearing a veil, cutting a cake or dancing a first dance. There isn’t a bridal party or wedding registry, no parents footing the bill or organizing all the details. Instead of a bachelorette party there’s an appointment to color my gray hair, a facial booked to smooth my wrinkles and this time my 13-year-old son will be walking me down the aisle.
Something else that’s different… being asked, “Why are you getting married?”
My dad, mom, a few friends, rabbi, and my dad again for good measure have all asked me this question in the past year. Due to (for the immediate and possibly foreseeable future) logistics, my fiance and I can’t live together 100 percent of the time. Every Monday and Tuesday we are in separate homes with our kids and 50 miles between us. Weekends fluctuate and usually once or twice a month we spend them apart. No matter how much we wish it would, this won’t magically change when we say, “I do.”
My man and I are both in our 40’s, each financially stable and in good health to care for our respective children. We are OK to go it alone. So, with 2 exes, 2 horrible divorces, four kids, and at times an hour between us, I understand the query and it’s been thoughtfully considered. Prior to our engagement, already committed, thoroughly happy in our relationship and in the absence of discernible need, together we discussed (more than once) our reasons for choosing to marry each other. Every detail of our ceremony, from the rabbi who will preside through the celebration after has been deliberately intended.
So, I understand the question and don’t mind answering as I have for my dad, mom, a few friends, rabbi, and my dad again. What I don’t understand is why no one asked me the first time.
After five years of dating, at 27 years old I married my ex husband. No one ever asked me why.
Our wedding was supposed to happen, the next, logical and only step for a nice Jewish girl and her nice Jewish boyfriend. Traditional at heart, insecure in mind, there was comfort in following suit of all those around me. Plus, I loved him.
When I came of age, in my subsection of society, a young woman was expected to graduate college, marry and have kids. In that order and as swiftly as possible. Societal norms change at a snails pace. So, what must have been shifting long before I took notice, seemed to change overnight. Women weren’t graduating college and feeling pressured to marry. Having kids out of wedlock was no longer sinful, nor was a woman taking time for a career or contemplation. As a young woman I watched Charlotte on “Sex And The City” desperate to create the traditional life she’d expected and desired. Fifteen years later I’m watching four girls on “Girls” who wouldn’t find a societal road map if it was tattooed on their hands.
I don’t mind when asked why we are getting married. It’s not particularly tactful but it’s a valid question any bride or groom should answer for himself or herself. At 27 I was following script and thus my first road to matrimony was paved with flower petals and champagne, no questions asked. Sixteen years ago I likely would have met “Why are you getting married?” with offense and replied in defense.
I really don’t know what my answer would have been, but it’s sure something I wish someone had asked.