Happy Ever After?

It’s been a while since I posted – life tends to get in the way!  But I was talking to the girls recently and the discussion turned to WHY people get married, and more specifically, why they do it when they’ve been together for years and years!  What difference does it make if you’ve already bought a house/had kids/travelled the world together – why bother with the ceremony of a wedding. Will it change things? Will it be better for the kids? We had to delve a little deeper!

‘L’ got married after 14 years of engagement and living together because she wanted children, and although it was ok to have a mortgage a live together all that time, having kids out of wedlock was a no-no for her.  Religion played a small part in that decision, but mostly I think it was a moral choice to bring children into what she considered a ‘proper’ family unit. We know this sparks debate all on it’s own, but that was her motivation behind finally getting her big day.  Happy to report they have been married for 15 years, with two lovely children aged 14 and 10. Yay!

It’s not always that way though. Friends of friends got married after 17 years. There was no real reason behind it – they didn’t have, nor did they want, kids. They had been having a bit of a rough time but hey, that’s relationships for you. They had a huge lavish wedding where the groom got very drunk and the bride cried for most of the day. They were separated less than 6 months later. No other parties involved (so they tell us). They were just at that point where it was marry or split, and sadly they did not choose wisely!

The worst reason to get married….thinking you will change someone, or change their opinion on something. Something big. Like having children, where you live and work. Kids is a big one. Some women seem to think that when a man says he doesn’t want kids that they can have one anyway and he’ll change his mind and love it once it comes along. How cruel is that? To the child and the man!  Why should he be forced to do something he doesn’t want to do, and then get slated for leaving and having little or no interest in the child? And why would you choose to bring a child into this already sometimes terrible world with the full knowledge that it’s father really didn’t want it?  What kind of person does that make you?

And the other side to that?  What if you don’t want kids but he does. Should one of you have to change your mind?  For me, no. There a many issues in relationships, things that niggle, bug or downright annoy. But you can usually see past these to the wonderful things about your partner that made you fall in love and want to be with them.  But there are also things that will test that love to hell and back, and wanting different things is it. I told Mr Wedmother on our first date I intended to get married at some point. Not necessarily to him, but I believe in marriage and I wanted to be married. If he really didn’t want that and couldn’t see it in his future, we should stop before we start. Because I wasn’t budging on it.

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Of course I didn’t know on that first date if he was ‘the one’ (he was) or if we’d get married (we did!) but I knew I was 38 and time was too precious to waste on a relationship that didn’t at least have a chance of ending up where I wanted it to.

My old boss and friend ‘P’ – after 3 months of dating the now Mr P asked did he want kids? They were important to her (not right that minute!) and she was falling for him, but she didn’t want to keep on falling if a family was not on his radar. Luckily it was! They dated for 6 years, got married and she had their first baby at 40. Swiftly followed by two more! You have to talk, and you have to be honest. Anything else will ruin your relationship.

And where you live? Although this story doesn’t come under the ‘been together for years’ discussion it’s still relevant. ‘D’ met her husband while in America for a year. She didn’t intend to find someone, she’d dumped her UK boyfriend and gone over there free as a bird to make the most of her year. And two weeks later there he was, complete with US Navy uniform and cheeky smile. She was gone!

She came home after her year, and then moved to America to be with him. Safe in the knowledge (in her mind) that it wasn’t forever, that he would leave the Navy, leave his family and move to England and they’d buy a house no more than two miles from her parents.  And do you know, that’s exactly what happened!  That was nearly 20 years ago.  In that time they’ve had two kids, he’s settled into a really good job, they have the house of her dreams and she works term time only (I know – you don’t know her but you do hate her a little bit!).  But the question has arisen – shall we move to America? His dad died and his mum (mom!) is now on her own. Her parents have had the best years of the grandkids. His mum wants to know them better. One wants to go, the other wants to stay. One child wants to go, the other wants to stay. After 23 years together, do you throw that away and break up the family. Who wins? Or does no-one win because the family doesn’t get what it wants?

My lovely dad met his new partner (following my parents divorce) 28 years ago.  She is 19 years younger than him and was only 24 when they met. At 24 I had my wedding all sown up ( for the record, when I finally got married at 43 it was completely different to this version!) but she hadn’t thought about it. When she was 30 I sat and chatted with her, told her we (my older brother and I) wouldn’t mind one bit if they got married, if she wanted children. Our dad was happy, that’s all that mattered. Time trundled on. No wedding, no babies. Would they get married now? He’s 73 and she’s 54. Is there a point now? Are they way past that point. What about ‘just because they want to’? I’m trying to convince her because I want to go dress shopping with her and of course, Wedmother would look after the day for her!  But she’s resisting!

So there’s our thoughts. Have you got any?  Did you wait forever to get married and then split? Planned the most amazing day for 15 years and then hated every minute? Or are you a ‘happily ever after’?  That’s our favourite ♥

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