I don’t even remember the exact date other than that it was the beginning of the Red Sox clinching the division in 2004, coming back heroically from many a loss. This was probably why my dad had spilled the beans–that man is just manic about baseball.
My old man spilled the beans so I knew it was coming, and that bummed me right out.
I was bummed for my love who had moved heaven and earth to make it back from San Francisco to Boston to arrange for The Shaky Clinking Drink Talk with the old man. And the phonecall to the mom. And he’d done it all being so coy, but loose lips sank the surprise ship.
So there we were, probably talking about the Red Sox or about to watch “Pimp My Ride” in real time as one does on a Satuday night in 2004. He in pajama pants, cooking pierogies in his kitchen, which smelled always of onions and laundry.
He didn’t even ask me. He just told me that he wanted to marry me. A declarative statement. Much like “I do.” He didn’t have a ring so he pulled some string from his pocket and tied it around my ring finger.
We were engaged. Engaged in a relationship that we were committing to for all the evers and evers. There were outward symbols of this inner commitment. But we had no rings (yet), no engagement photos in a landscape that evoked pastoral romance at the golden hour. There would be no bachelorette/bachelor parties with limos and a Snapchat reel. No Pinterest-inspired wish lists or official hashtags copyrighted for the occasion.
There was just a monthly plane ticket to visit our pastor and do the hard work of premarital counseling. Me with my paragraph answers because I was evidently trying to get an A in premarital counseling and Loverpants with his one word answers because he’s just more evolved, I suppose.
Had Pinterest and hashtags been a thing some twelve years ago, I promise you I would have been all over it. Puns and planning tools, oh my. I’m just glad for my sake they weren’t on the radar.
The trappings of wedding planning have long been about excess and show and tell in the First World. They masquerade as expressions of etiquette but the reality of having the resources for chair bows and gold-foiled favors smacks of elitism.
And none will guarantee a happy, healthy marriage.
I rejoice with the many couples who are getting married in the next many seasons. I hyperventilate at the gorgeous photos and I fully participate in the hashtag propagation. But the careful curation of images and scripts are almost an ironic prelude to the mess that is uniting one’s life with another’s for all times. I can only speak to my own marriage, obviously, but my seflishness has a way of betraying the consuming gazing at my groom that you’ll see in my wedding album.
Marriage is a surrender, marriage is leaning in to the disagreements rather than pretending everything is phenomenally breathtaking beset with an Instagram filter. The day to day of marriage is not bathroom baskets; it is searching for the errant cap on the toothpaste your partner does not hold as a priority. Hashtag cliche.
To the newly engaged and soon-to-be weddeds, I simply offer this: let the time you spend coining a clever hashtag for your big day be a lovely exercise in creativity and compromise. Because, whoodoggies. You’re gonna need a lot of it for the long haul.
Hashtag Honeymoon won’t last forever. Hashtag And that’s a good thing. Hashtag So grateful. Hashtag I’d marry this guy all over again. Hashtag seriously seriously seriously blessed.