A few people asked if I was pregnant when they heard that my boyfriend and I got married after being together for not-quite a year, but it was only after the fact that I remembered that this is a reason that people sometimes get married when they’ve known each other for quite a short time. I wasn’t – this was not the reason that my husband (ha!) and I decided to tie the knot after we’d been together for 361 days (we would’ve gone for 365, but it seemed like a nice idea to get married on a Friday, so that we could go away for the weekend, and so we jumped the gun).
If you’d asked me, say, 362 days before my wedding if I thought I’d be married in a year, I would have laughed and laughed. And then laughed some more. It had been 10 years since I’d been in a relationship that I’d had any reason to believe might lead to marriage (and that one didn’t). Being single was very much part of my identity – among my friends, I was a go-to for hilarious anecdotes of romantic mishaps, not to mention depended upon to be the fun lady at the singles’ table at wedding after wedding (sometimes I even pulled). Although there was a time around my 30th birthday when I’d felt more fretful about my lack of a husband, by my mid-thirties life had taken me to some unexpected places and I felt resolved that I would build a life that would be happy whether or not it included a long-lasting partnership. I watched my peers get married, and sometimes divorced, and sometimes married again, and I thought, “I just don’t think that this lifestyle is for me.”
I’ve now known Eric for 375 days and I’ve been married to him for 10 of them
Compared with other times in my life when I’d felt more anxious to settle down with someone, when I met Eric last summer I was happy to just meet people without any expectations. Perhaps this is part of what led to us falling in love, wanting to commit – we both happened to be in places in our lives where we felt independent, happy and content. Perhaps that’s why it was easy enough to meld our lives together, once we met. To some extent, I’d ceased to believe that this kind of thing was possible, or possible for me. But when I sat across from Eric on our second date and realised that I didn’t want to leave, even though I couldn’t hear anything – we had, by mistake, found ourselves taking shelter from a rainstorm in a restaurant with a live Georgian hard-rock band playing a long set. “I must be falling in love,” I thought, “because this is terrible but I don’t want to go anywhere!” as the bandleader screamed into his microphone and the drummer thrashed for dear life. Maybe we didn’t feel the need to spend as much time getting to know each other because, at 35 and 36, we’d had time to get to know ourselves quite well.
I can’t tell you when we decided to get married – it was more of a conversation than a conclusive decision. There was no proposal and no engagement ring, which was the engagement of my dreams. I wanted it to be a shared decision and I didn’t want to start wearing a ring until Eric was wearing one, too. And once we’d agreed to get married, we decided to just do that, rather than wait in order to put together a huge party. (We told people when we saw them that we were going to get married, but we didn’t announce our engagement.) We didn’t want logistics to get in our way and because I hadn’t expected to get married, I hadn’t spent time thinking about what my wedding would be like. I also didn’t want the event of us knitting our lives together to become the most important day of my life. That seemed like it would be unfair to all of my other excellent days, and to his excellent days as well. So we did it on these terms and went to City Hall in New York. I googled “white wrap dress” and did my own hair and make-up. It was special – we brought a couple of friends to be witnesses; we had someone take a few pictures. Afterwards, we drove out of the city and had lunch by a windmill, a couple of glasses of champagne.
I’ve now known Eric for 375 days and I’ve been married to him for 10 of them. Things don’t feel remarkably different – we loved each other before and we love each other now. I still don’t think that getting married is the most important thing that a person can do, or that marriage should be regarded as necessarily more important that other relationships. But I’m happy to have married my husband, which I suppose is the most simple thing that any newlywed could hope for.