The answer to this question, What is a wedding? would have produced several different answers from me over the past 5 months. Probably most days it would have received the answer--a wedding is a pain in the ass. However, there have been some better thoughts and answers to come out from me over these last months, and today, on my two year anniversary with Micael, I think I really know what this means.
I've known for two years that I was in love with this man and have made sure that every day he knew that was true. After he proposed to me in January we were excited about the next step in our life together and about making our commitment official. Somehow ritual means something. Even if we know we create it, even if these certificates and ceremonies only have the significance we give to them, they mean something. They change the way we think, the way we believe and act about ourselves and our relationships, and that's why they are so important. Both of us believed that about marriage, both of us knew this was a step we wanted to take, a ritual we wanted to experience.
Then came the first months of planning and we started to ask ourselves, should we elope? Actually several people asked us, should you elope?! But no, we decided to stick it out and make a wedding happen, with conflicts, stress and exhaustion along the way, and now I know why.
What I feel for Micael is bigger than me. I know I have many years yet to be jaded about love, and I know what I feel now will change over those years, but regardless, what I feel for him is mature and sincere: I love him, in a way that is expansive, fuller, richer, self-transcending. Those are the best words I can give it because I don't know exactly how to describe what it is I feel. But I know it is good. Loving him makes me better. Sharing that with him makes my love bigger. And--here's the key--sharing that love with others besides Micael makes it even bigger still.
It is an incredible feat given that everyone is spread all around the country and the world, to gather together our family and friends for this wedding. But I know that when we make our commitment to one another--officially--we will also be reinforcing our bond with our families, our friends, those we hold so close to us. And our love will be bigger because of their presence, because of the chance we have to share it with them, to release the incredible fullness we both feel right now. I also believe that as we collectively celebrate this event, our love reinforces the love in each of their lives and creates a ripple effect, of which I can't measure or anticipate the outcomes.
And so, this is why we do it.
Some of you know me as an incorrigible optimist. Some of you also know that I've become reasonably cynical in these last few years as a grad student in social studies. Loving Micael has taught me how to be both. It has taught me that there are things you can trust and have hope in, while still knowing that there will be difficult times when you don't feel that trust or hope. Being a grad student has taught me to see the baseness, the insincerity, the power-grabbing of humanity. Yet even seeing it, analyzing it, studying it, I still have faith. A wedding is the chance to make our commitment to that faith. That come hell or high water, sickness or health, in shade or sunshine, I will strive towards the bigness, the fullness of love. And in all of it, Micael, I will love you.