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.

About this writer

  • Maura Troy Maura Troy lives in Connecticut and is president of her local chapter of Romance Writers of America. She enjoys writing, knitting and hiking, and is currently working on a novel of romantic suspense. Visit Maura on her website at mauratroy.com.

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26 Responses to “Tightening the Knot”

  1. Lynn Obermoeller says:

    Good for you – happy for you both. It is love that matters, not the paper.

  2. Love, “My crystal ball is on the blink.” You sound like you are more happily connected than some unhappily marrieds that I know. A friend had her dream wedding after 27 years with Mr. Right :)

  3. Pam says:

    I loved this piece. I was married young, and it ended in an amicable divorce in my mid-30’s. I’ve been with my partner Lee for 6 years now, living together for five of them. I feel very much as you do – that we’re tying our own knot. I’m definitely not anti-marriage and don’t say “never,” but as living proof that it doesn’t always mean forever any more than just having a committed relationship, I’d rather pour my energy into enjoying our relationship than legalities.

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thanks, Pam! Best wishes to you and Lee as you tighten your own knot. You are right in that relationships take energy to strengthen, maintain, and enjoy. And that’s true with or without the legalities.

  4. Noreen says:

    What a great article. The best bonds are the ones we weave ourselves.

  5. Great story, Maura! Love is what keeps people together. Not a piece of paper.

  6. Hi Maura. What a great article! Couples either stay together or they don’t. The ring, ceremony, a piece of paper or even having children won’t keep you together if you don’t truly love each other.

    You and Larry sound perfect together. And we know he makes good pie :)

    Congratulations on the publication!!!!


  7. Terri-Lynne says:

    I love this. I got married for those practical reasons, not because I felt the need. I have no real problem with marriage, but I don’t believe it’s a MUST either.

  8. Mary Beth Bass says:

    I loved this article, very romantic!

    “The Cheaper Evil” is a great title for a book.

  9. Being happy is more important and it sounds like you have that. I love the way you worded the last line :)

  10. A piece of paper won’t keep you together, but lack of one will keep you out of the hospital room.

    After I went through cancer, my now husband, took the marriage idea more seriously. They gave him the run around when my surgery went long, claiming they didn’t know he was my authorized rep.

    We were happy before marriage and we’re happy now. I just don’t have to worry about his family taking over if something happened to him.

    Great story Maura.

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thanks, Lynn. I hear you about the medical stuff. I’ve heard that even if you have one of those living will documents that specifically appoints someone as your health care proxy, they are not always honored. Depends on the state. I really do need to do more research on this.

  11. Brava! Wonderful post, Maura.

  12. Terri Prenty says:

    Love It!! So happy for you Maura! Love is all that matters! Great job.

  13. Marne Ann says:

    Fantastic article, Maura. It sounds like you and Larry are very happy, just the way things are. Isn’t it sad, though, that this is something society worries about? Something so private, yet can have such ramifications…medically or legally (like if you’re in the hospital, whether or not the dr. will speak with him).
    I love the image of a little Maura and Larry on a cake, though and think you should order those. Just put them on your birthday cakes or “when we met anniversary” cake… she could be in a cute little outfit and he could be in jeans…

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thanks, Marne!

      I do think about the legalities more and more lately. I think I’m going to have to do some more serious research on the matter.

      I love the idea of ordering our own little cake topper!! I’m going to have to do some research on that, too. Thanks for mentioning it. :)

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