Tightening the Knot
By Maura Troy
My husband never married me. That’s okay since I never married him, either. But he is my husband, and I am his wife. We have been together for twenty-five years, and I can’t imagine my life with anyone else.
So why not actually tie the knot?
I jokingly tell anyone who asks me that question that marriage is a very serious step, and we want to be absolutely certain before we take the plunge. But that is, indeed, just a joke. He’s the one for me, and I know his feelings on the matter are reciprocal. It has never been a question of doubting our love for one another.
The honest answer is neither he nor I see any pressing reason to make our relationship “official.” I suppose there might be some financial advantage to filing our taxes jointly, but I’m not even one hundred percent sure if that would work for us or against us. And as we are getting older, I do think about things like whether or not we have a legal voice regarding each other’s treatment in medical emergencies.
Neither of those sound like very romantic reasons to get married, do they? But they are practical ones, and I suppose we should start considering them more than just in passing.
Still, we are very happy as we are. It’s never been something either of us has worried about. I’m sure I thought about it a lot more when I was younger. I most definitely had my fair share of daydreams of having a big, beautiful wedding, complete with a gorgeous white dress and a little plastic Maura and Larry on top of a multi-tiered, butter-cream frosted wedding cake.
We still consider doing it now and then. But I’ll confess, sometimes my motives are far more mercenary than romantic. Heck, having a wedding might be worth it for the chance at registering for gifts alone. Imagine, all those people going to Williams-Sonoma to buy all the stuff on my wish list! Sigh.
Over the years, there have been a lot of people who have told us we must get married. That having a wedding and standing up in front of all of our family and friends to declare our love and commitment will make a difference, will prove we really want to be with each other. Seeing as how my husband and I have lasted longer than many couples who have had an actual wedding, I can’t quite bring myself to believe that argument.
“Aren’t you worried he could just walk out and leave you?” That’s another question I’ve been asked many times. I’ve never quite understood it.
“Spouses leave each other all the time. Having a wedding doesn’t stop them,” I respond.
“Yes, but if you’re married, it’s not that easy to just walk away. There’s work involved. It costs money to get divorced.”
I must say, this argument always has me scratching my head. I wonder if the folks who have presented it would really be happy if they were ever to discover their partner stayed with them only because they were the lesser of two evils, not to mention being the cheaper evil.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-marriage, and I love going to weddings. Sharing the joy of a couple as they vow to spend the rest of their lives together is a wonderful experience. And I know full well how little girls long for their own big day. Believe me, I, too, fastened a white towel on my head and took those sliding yet halting steps down the long hallway of my childhood home, clutching a bouquet of dandelions plucked from the backyard. But as the years have gone by, and my relationship with my husband has grown deeper and deeper, not having an actual wedding anniversary to celebrate has long since ceased to cause any pangs of regret.
My crystal ball is on the blink, so I can’t say for sure if I’m ever going to get to wear a real veil and walk down the aisle carrying a real bouquet. It’s always a possibility. But if I don’t, I’m okay with that, too. Larry and I will just continue to tighten our own special knot.