Seven weeks today, I’ll be a wife.
It doesn’t really mean much to me right now. If I think too much about what it does mean I’ll probably just scare myself, like when you start to think too deeply about your own inevitable death, or stare into your own face in the mirror for too long and feel your sense of self slipping away (I’ll assume you do this too).
Wife. I think it needs a re-brand, like feminism and being English.
The word comes with heavy baggage. It’s hard to shake the domestic connotations, the knowledge of what it used to mean to be a wife, before word got out that women could earn money, get qualifications, start wars, build stuff, enjoy sex and not want children too.
And I can’t hide from the fact that the ceremony of marriage is still steeped in patriarchy. My dad is literally going to hand me over to my boyfriend for keeps. “Here you go, her it is, the Girl. Have the Girl. Keep her. She’s yours now.”
Of course we’ve come a long way since those old dowry days when women were commodities. Now, thanks to capitalism, we’re all commodities. Yay! No more so in fact than when two people are preparing to get married. The modern wedding industry is a terrifying and mental place to be. Why are weddings so expensive?? What’s the point of favours and does anybody actually want one? Saying that, we spent an afternoon picking blackberries, making jam and cutting out little circles of material for our favours and it was actually really enjoyable, so our guests will have to pretend they wanted carry around a tiny pot of old jam all evening.
I haven’t decided what to do about my surname yet. I find it a bit weird just dropping the name I’ve had all my life. Thomas is my link to my Welsh heritage, which is something I’m proud of. My boyfriend doesn’t want to take on my name, which is fine, I accept that. We thought about blending our names together but then we’d be the Grimases and I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of life.
I have also banned him from ever calling me the following:
- ‘The’ wife
- The/my missus
I trust he’d never willingly use any of these horrible terms anyway, and I’m pretty sure he’ll prefer ‘cowbag’ after a while.
Getting married is weird because you kind of grow up thinking that one day, in that eternal blurry expanse of the ‘future’, you’ll probably get married but you don’t really truly believe it will happen, because it seems like the kind of thing that happens to other, more grown up, real people. It’s a bit like death; I still don’t 100% believe I’m going to die.
Marriage is making a massive decision on behalf of all the future versions of your self. Should twenty-six-years-olds really be allowed to have that kind of responsibility? How do I know now what I’m going to want when I’m forty? I don’t even know what I want to do this evening.
It’s terrifying. But then – and I’m not just saying this because I have to say it – there has to be a pretty good reason to want to make this kind of MASSIVE life decision (apart from wanting to wear a pretty dress and get a big cake). There has to be a good reason to legally bind yourself to another human being, to promise in front of all your friends and family and a priest that you’re going to look after this other person for your ENTIRE life, even if they lose their legs or stop being sexy.
I met him when I was seventeen and drunk. I dumped him when I went to uni. We lied to each other, sometimes we hated each other. But for ten years he was lodged in my head like a string of pineapple I just couldn’t get out. No matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t forget him. I never forgot him. I have a decade’s worth of diary entries documenting our entire relationship. Even in the months where we drifted apart and found new people, I still thought about him, I still wrote about him. Before we moved in together he bought me a safe to keep all my diaries in because I was worried he’d read them and I’d have to kill him.
I won’t bore you with the innermost workings of my heart but just believe me when I say that I want to marry him, even if it means becoming ‘wife’. I’ll let you know how that feels in seven weeks.