Whenever there is talk of marriage, many people in my surrounding, including myself, turn to the undeniable fact of the ‘poor woman’ losing her freedom and willingly committing herself to what clearly looks like an institution constructed to benefit only the man. Debate, even if it appears futile and superficial, ensues, to talk about how to maintain the balance between work and family, about when would be a good time to start having children, about how much of a sacrifice career-wise should be made. As a fervent proponent of “freedom for women” and “equality”, and, I must admit, as a bitterly disappointed skeptic in long-term love in general (but hey, let’s not bring my personal issues here), I rarely shy away from such debate. And, yes, it IS important to have such discussion because it is such engagement that can be translated into actual changes in institutions and policies.
Having made this clear, I do wonder, however, whether the illusion we give ourselves that it is somehow our moral and intellectual responsibility to challenge every set institution, impedes us from being… simply ‘human’. And in the light of the news that two lovely people, lovely in every sense of the word, have announced their upcoming wedding, that is what I want to be: a human, a person, a friend.
So, yes, screw those debates; as a person, and most of all as a friend, I want to respect and congratulate your special day, from the bottom of my heart, and wish you only happiness, dearest P and A.
Because celebrating and reaffirming the love and respect you have for each other shouldn’t be tainted with what we claim to be, or what we tell ourselves to be, ‘more important and larger debates’.
Because while everybody talks about love and marriage being the loss of freedom and what not, nobody dares mention that it is also about the loss of loneliness, the loss of fear, and the gain of a partner in life, the gain of someone to always rely on.
Because you know you will never dread lunch hours, but will only look forward to them.
Because everybody deserves a truly Disney-esque happy ending (and because I’m too dorky and nerdy and too big a fan of Disney not to include something Disneyish at the mention of a ‘Happily Ever After’).
As I sit here, alone, realizing how sad I will be to miss your wedding and not to see you, P, in your beautiful wedding dress, and A, in your dapper wedding suit, this is the best wedding gift, and the most sincere one, I could think of. And also, as a poor grad student, the most financially appropriate one. Just kidding – I promise I will try to buy you drinks when I go visit you.
But until then, I do hope you will accept my earnest congratulations in this form.
Here’s to you, the most warm-hearted and heart-warming couple I know.
Here’s to your love, your happiness, your happily ever after.
Here’s to you always having a hand to hold.