My man and I got engaged this weekend. Dude, wtf. You’ve had a wedding blog for months! Yip. And our relationship has been a done deal for even longer. I think these days engagement means something different than it used to.
When my parents got married, they’d been seeing each other for less than a year. They didn’t live together until they were married, and that was pretty darn typical. Marriage was all or nothing.
These days, there’s a continuum. There’s a progression of growing more and more united and more and more committed. I like it this way. It feels more natural, and to me at least, it feels like a safer way to make a major life decision.
M and I have been together for five and a half years. It went like this: We started seeing each other on weekends. We started seeing each other every weekend. We started seeing each other during the week. I started staying at his place so much I basically lived there. We moved in together in a house shared with friends. We moved out into a place for just the two of us. We split the bills 50/50. We split the bills proportional to income. One of us used our savings to pay the other’s student loan. One of us lost their income, the other one paid for everything. After living together for two years, without our doing anything, our legal relationship status became a de facto marriage (that’s how it goes in NZ). Finances were completely merged. He was offered a job in Singapore, and I came with him.
At each step I felt ready, and it felt right to take the next step. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to make the decision to marry him after 18 months, which is the point at which we officially moved in together.
Somewhere along the journey, I decided I would marry him. Wedding talk morphed from hypothetical ‘if I ever get married’ to ‘we could do this and this’ to ‘these are things we will do’. And somewhere along the journey, answers to questions from family and friends about when we will get married went from ‘maybe one day’ to ‘in a few more years’ to ‘when Lindsay finishes her thesis’. Which, see my previous post for the quote about how much fun it is to spend years completing your thesis.
As our wedding ideas started to crystallise more and more, we held back on actually planning it. For instance, we’ve talked about who we will invite, but we haven’t written down a guest list. We know what sort of venue we want, but we haven’t researched specific venues and their prices.
For us, getting engaged this Saturday didn’t mean “We have decided to marry each other” so much as “We have decided to start planning the wedding”. And I think that’s a pretty common outlook these days.
As for why we are getting married at all, when we already have the same legal rights as a married couple and have already chosen the name of our hypothetical daughter, well, that’s a whole other blog post.