A friend of mine recently made a casual reference to ‘finding a wife’ which got me thinking. Not about finding a wife (sorry, I personally can’t get into boobs), but about how marriage actually happens. Yes, I’m not retarded.. there’s a ring and a book and somebody talking, vows are said etc. But actually getting to the place of wanting to marry someone. After 40, its feels as likely as going to another planet. I mean, I haven’t made it past 12 weeks with a guy in 6 years. And its not for want of trying.. (I think medals have been given to people who’ve “given it a go” as often as I have. I am the ‘Eddie the Eagle’ of dating). Its not that I’m picky, its just that ‘it’ isn’t really there.
When I was younger, ‘it’ was everywhere and marriage seemed so certain. That was what you did. You got a job, found a guy, fell in love, lots of stars and tweety birds and then he landed on his knee and that was that. Cue Corinthians 13 (4-7), Jerusalem and a nice big cake. Mmmmm cake. Fireworks and squeals of joy.
But my path to marriage was slightly different.
I didn’t so much squeal and jump with joy at finding my man on bended knee, as slide sideways into what I presumed was an agreement mid way through a discussion of a trip to France. He just kind of slipped it into the conversation
‘…and I guess we could get married before we left’
“..so it would be kind of like a honeymoon”
“.. um…. okay?”
There you have it ladies and gentleman. The least romantic, non proposal, proposal.
The conversation quickly moved on to discussions about Tour de France favorites, the need for a slightly different gearing on the new fixed gear and the need for my wheels to be retuned.
My brain was so confused and shocked that I actually forgot the conversation until the next morning.
I don’t even think we had sex that night.
Nothing like waking up the next morning thinking ‘ I think I got engaged last night.. but I’m not really sure”. Note to any prospective proposers… she should know that she’s engaged after the event.
Because I was young and stupid, I didn’t see the actual conversation as a sign of his lackadaisical attitude towards the whole thing and the absence of a ring didn’t bother me (I’ve never been one for jewellery). He had just bought me a new saddle after all. I just kind of ‘slid’ into being engaged and it wasn’t until our trip loomed that I actually questioned the entire thing.
We’d lived together for close to 2 years, we’d been dating for 3 and we were over 30. We got along great in a ‘best friends’ manner and maybe that was enough. Wasn’t marriage the next step?
Having said that we’d never had a fight, and he seemed to enjoy his time on his bike than he did his time in bed with me.
The night before we were going to do ‘it’ it started snowing. In July. And I did wonder whether it was really a good idea to be so unexcited about getting married. We had no guests, no event, just an appointment to declare our love half way up a mountain. I always felt that it would seem more exciting. More certain. Committing to take life on together – surely it should feel more momentous?
Instead I found myself thinking ‘well if it doesn’t work out…’ (yes, I want to slap myself too)
And surprisingly it didn’t.
I don’t recommend sliding into marriage. I don’t think anyone (even me) should have ‘slid’ as I did with a little more thought. But throughout my 20s I fell in love every year and thought every guy was ‘it’. As my 30’s proceeded everyone seemed to be settling down, choosing their partners and relationships took on a new, more serious tenor. ‘It’ wasn’t everywhere and finding someone I liked seemed to be enough of a challenge. So when I found a guy I liked and who didn’t piss me off too much, and well, I slid.
Now I’m in my 40s, single and thickly skinned by numerous dates, the idea of marriage has shifted again. Its not just ‘what you do’. Its not around every corner and its certainly not going to be right with every guy I meet (jesus, have you read my blog?). I believe that ‘it’ is out there and worth waiting for. I’m in no hurry, but I’m not looking for perfect. At 40 I can finally say with total honesty, I’m not looking for a husband. I’m looking for right.
So if you find yourself thinking ‘I need to find a wife’ (or husband), be warned by my ridiculous story. Find someone, but find right.