Today I’ve been married for 4 years. Not that long. No itches so far either. Just as well, since I haven’t really had time to scratch myself. So anyway, last night in the shower I was reflecting on my career so far as a married woman. Wife. The Missus. Better half. Ball and Chain. Whatever. And I was thinking how some people, as a way of remembering their wedding day and celebrating their anniversary, choose to renew their vows. Delightful.
We didn’t have any.
We had a few ‘wedding songs’ that we could sit and listen to. We have expensive photos we can look at. I have my ‘Dorothy’ shoes. ‘Spose I could have put them on and walked around all day to remember the ‘feeling.’
I asked my husband if he regretted not writing or even choosing to recite vows to each other on our wedding day. He said, “I do.”
“You do regret it?” I asked surprised by his response, since he’s not sentimental AT ALL.
“I do.” He said.
“WOW. I thought you really didn’t want to worry about that..” I said now flummoxed.
“Noooo. I do. That was our vows to each other. When we said ‘I do’ that was our vows.”
Oh. He was right. The only time either of us opened our mouths during the ceremony was to say ‘I do.’ And to kiss at the end, although I recall that being a closed mouth deal. Also I cried. Silently, but my mouth would have opened for that.
We had decided while discussing the ceremony that we wanted it to be no more than 20 minutes. We didn’t want it to be a performance. We didn’t want to nervously recite words and emotions that we felt were for each other, and not for the 120 guests present.
I in no way judge those who do recite vows. In fact, since getting married, watching couples recite vows still makes me wonder if we missed out on something by NOT having or writing vows.
So anyway, I wondered last night… what we would possibly do on our 25th wedding anniversary to momentously mark the occasion. It’s 21 years away, but judging by the last 4 years, I reckon that will fly by.
Then I started thinking how neither of us have any idea of what the future holds. What if one of us becomes blind. What if one of us gets a boob job and lipo and botox and looks super hot and young. What if we go bankrupt or what if we have a gorgeous home and boat and it gets destroyed in a cyclone or flood or fire or bombed. Or what if we win lotto. (Not that we play).
When couples are writing their wedding vows, they do so with no knowledge of what the future will bring. The ups and downs of married life can literally throw you about. There are days I am so in love with my husband I cry at the depth of emotion and gratitude I have for him. Then there are days I hate his guts and want him to sprain his ankle. Just so he can feel frustrated and annoyed and also a little bit of pain.
So with all this in mind, I came to the conclusion that wedding vows don’t really do much but remind you of a time when your love was young and you celebrated by wearing the dress of your dreams and had an awesome party called ‘a wedding.’ A time that while lovely to remember, is no longer relevant to your every day life together.
Relevance. Now there’s a word that makes the point I’m about to make seem SO CRUCIAL.
Why the hell do married couples not ‘renew the terms and conditions’ of the marriage. Vows are lovely and romantic no doubt. But they won’t see you through the next 12 months. Unlikely. That’s like 2 business partners reading their mission statement once a year as way of ensuring success. A nice gesture, but completely bloody useless.
This year (I decided this last night) I am going to write the terms and condition of our legal union. A wedding contract. What I will bring to the union and what is expected of me, and vice versa. What I will abide by despite us not agreeing on certain matters (eg. farting in bed) and what I will not (toenail clippings not disposed of immediately.) What I consider to be a breach of contract (any form of cheating) whereby the contract becomes futile and I take everything you own, including your testicles. Etcetera.
The contract will be renewed every year, and will be agreed upon by both parties and signed in the presence of a witness. It will also be based on the circumstances of that specific year and time. Last year for example, my contract would have included certain clauses pertaining to my pregnancy and mandatory foot rubs. This year I have 2 children and life just got super chaotic interesting. There are certainly parts of the contract that will involve both of them now.
That partner A (my husband) will take all reasonable steps to eliminate/reduce partner B (me) being committed to a mental home by:
- Providing support in person between the hours of 7pm and 9pm, during which time both children will be fed, bathed and put to sleep. Following 9pm, should partner A be required to continue work pertaining to his employment, partner B will happily understand without bitching about his hours of work. In addition, partner A will understand that partner B only bitches because she doesn’t get to ‘finish work for the night’ and continues to work right up until the moment her head hits the pillow. Partner A will be required on *regular occasions, to praise partner B for her hard work and surprise her with gifts for her efforts. (regular being no less than once a month)
- Happily taking the rubbish out and destroying all creepy crawlies without the PETA-style lecture. In return for this partner B will provide sex. For real.
- Understanding that despite partner B complaining about the way in which partner A attempts to assist with household duties but does so incorrectly (ie. Failing to hang washing out in the manner and quality to which is expected), it is not because partner B does not appreciate it. Partner A must remember at all times that partner B is grateful for the attempted efforts and partner A must relentlessly strive to assist partner B in household duties in accordance with the techniques and systems in place.
- Providing funds with which partner B may continue to be healthy, happy and beautiful. Likewise for the children of partners A and B. Partner A will understand that although Partner B earns a small amount, it’s not enough!! Partner A will not lecture on spending within reason, and will instead give praise to partner B for her budgetary sacrifices. For example waxing her own legs.
See where I’m going with this? Genius. That way when someone is in breach of the agreed terms of the marriage, there is a real, written contract that can be referred to and discussed without the emotions and fly-off-the-handle remarks. Instead, a civil discussion can be had regarding the details agreed upon. Both parties must admit when they’re in the wrong. It simplifies issues and expectations.
My husband doesn’t know yet. Like I said, today is our 4 year anniversary and he is still at work (it’s 10.50pm). You can be sure there’ll be a clause on “celebrating special occasions” that will go something like…
Should either party be unable for any legitimate reason to be present for *special occasions, the partner that is MIA will be required to make up for it BIG TIME! The partner that was NOT MIA on the special occasion will determine HOW the partner that was missing will make up for it. Their decision is final and no further discussion will be entered in to once a request has been made.
*Special occasions to include anniversary, birthdays, Easter, weddings, funerals etc. Christmas day is not negotiable. Attendance is mandatory.
Wedding pictures by Impact Images