I’ve always been a bit non traditional, unconventional – contrary to society and family expectations. When I was young (around 15 years old), I decided I wouldn’t get married but would be happy to be in a committed relationship with someone and raise a family together. I felt I didn’t need to have the legal union because to me, commitment is about being in a relationship with someone you love and wanting to be with that person through good and bad knowing that you are committed to the relationship and to each other.
I felt the commitment to each other needs to be there before marriage not because of it. I still don’t feel the need to be married but have bucked tradition and did so after 19 years together. To me, it was more a formality but because it meant a lot to my husband, I made peace with it and chose to get married. I am not against marriage and am genuinely happy for others who choose to marry but never felt the compulsion for myself.
I also felt that if I ever did get married, it wasn’t going to be on a whim, because it was expected, or that I felt I had to. I also believe that getting married is between you and your partner and the ceremony is the marriage – not the dress, the reception, etc that usually goes along with getting married. Although, if that is your cup of tea then by all means go ahead, but it just wasn’t ours. Also, if I did marry that it was to last – meaning that it will be ’til death do us part’. I feel that sometimes marriage becomes less meaningful when it is entered into lightly.
I had always said to my family that if I ever got married that I would elope. I went to Vanuatu with my now husband about 10 years ago – my family and in-laws thought we would get married then. We didn’t – I felt we hadn’t been together long enough and that I was too young and didn’t fully know myself why I would want to marry.
I’m not advocating that you should or need to be with someone for as long as I was before getting married but it is an individual choice and you need to understand why you are marrying – it is your choice, your decision and not anyone else’s. I have been asked over the years by many – family, friends and strangers – Why aren’t you married? Don’t you even just want a party? Why not just have a commitment ceremony? All those may be valid questions but I felt it was no-one else’s business.
When we planned our family holiday earlier this year, getting married was not in the original plan. It was just a family holiday minus my stepson – who wasn’t able to take time off work. It would have nice to have included him but sometimes things don’t always go to plan! About a month before we left for our holiday, I made an enquiry about getting married – as a result, we ended up eloping in Hawaii and had a fantastic stress free, relaxed and beautiful beach ceremony on the second day we arrived. We were married in the morning at Waialae beach, the only other people present were fishermen, which was so apt since I married one! By the afternoon, we were swimming at Waikiki beach – all in all, a perfect day!
We didn’t tell anyone, not even my cousin and her family who we had just stayed with and visited in Seattle the week before! My 9 year old daughter knew of our plans and kept it secret – she didn’t breathe a word to anyone! She was excited to be part of the celebration and was also our ‘photographer’ during the ceremony since all other parties present were busy!
We broke the news to family and friends when we returned home. It was just the way we wanted it to be, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it was ours….and it was just right!