Missing Out by Not Having a Wedding

The other night I watched the first episode of the Netflix documentary series, Chelsea Does. It’s a non-fiction show by comedian Chelsea Handler where she explores one topic in-depth each episode, including topics like racism, silicon valley and marriage.

The first episode is about marriage. Chelsea says she’s never been one to fantasize about weddings. And quite frankly, neither have I.  The idea of walking down the aisle and being the center of attention sounds very unappealing to me.

But you know what does sound appealing? The celebration of friendship that weddings offer. Think about it – your closest pals give speeches, they throw you a bridesmaid party, and they write sweet, sentimental things about you in scrapbooks. Also, sometimes your bachelorette or bridal shower is the one time in your life that all of your female friends will be together. How awesome is that? It’s pretty amazing. I love going to bridal events and meeting all of the other friends my friends have from different periods of their lives.

So when I think about not yet being married or having a wedding, I think about missing out on those friend bonding experiences.

Maybe there should be an alternate event for those non-married folks? Like a mandatory all-close-friend birthday getaway?

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A Different Kind of Marriage in your Thirties

Ellen McCarthy, a wedding and relationships reporter at the Washington Post, spent years interviewing hundreds of couples about what makes relationships work and what doesn’t for the paper’s On Love column. Her book, The Real Thing, is an insiders scoop into what makes some marriages work and others..not work..and possibly end in divorce.

According to McCarthy, there seems to be two major keys to finding a marriage partner to be with for (hopefully) your entire life. They weren’t what I thought they’d be. At first I found them way too simple. But simplicity can be deceptive…

The two keys are:

1. Comfort
It turns out that so many of the spouses in successful marriages used the word ‘comfortable’ when talking about their significant other that McCarthy began to get worried when couples didn’t mention that word.
Comfortable in this case didn’t mean settling or boring. It meant that both spouses felt very much themselves in the relationship. The couple still had to work on the relationship of course, but the marriage just felt natural and they didn’t have to second guess themselves or tiptoe around one another. Both husband and wife were comfortably able to express themselves without fear. One person even said that the marriage sometimes felt like being alone while together …in the best way. They both still felt extremely free and independent while together in the relationship. This is the best kind of interdependence, I think.

2. Kindness
When asked what the most important quality a potential life partner could have, the answer was kindness, hands down. The marriages that lasted consisted of partners who were kind to one another…and kind people overall. One respondent said that her significant other was kind to everyone- kind to her, kind to himself, kind to friends, kind to dogs. Kindness is everything in a lasting marriage.
And why shouldn’t it be?

If you’re going to be with someone for life- and in this day and age that means another 60 possible years from your thirties(!)- why wouldn’t you choose someone who’s kind and who you can comfortably be yourself with?

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t butterflies, super hot moments, and great chemistry, and it doesn’t mean that everything is boring and tranquil. It just means that when looking for a life partner, kindness and comfort are great places to start…and continue.

Are you in an amazing marriage with a kind partner who you feel extremely comfortable with? Are these traits valuable to you? I know that I never had them high enough on my radar before, and they’ve recently moved to the top of my list. I don’t want to be with a person who seems great on paper, but isn’t kind. I want to be with a kind person who makes me feel comfortable and good about myself. The rest can be figured out thereafter.

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The Day After the Best Day Ever

There was a wedding in Canada I went to last summer that basically went on for a week. It felt like every day leading up to the “big day” was a celebration. The bride and groom planned food tours around Montreal, different city walks during the day, and all sorts of expeditions on the days before the wedding.

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Neat buildings seen from a boat ride around the Montreal harbor.

The wedding day itself was amazingly fun, creative and beautiful. It was one of the most enjoyable weddings I’d ever been to. And then the week continued on.

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We tried all different flavors of delicious Canadian poutine! Woohoo!

The afternoon after the wedding a bunch of the wedding party and a few friends all met up again to have lunch and get some poutine (which is a delicious Canadian french fry dish where fries are mixed with cheese and gravy, creating pure happiness.) While we ate, I asked the bride how she was feeling. She replied in an only half-joking bittersweet tone: “It was the best day ever… I want to do it again!! I wish I could get married every day…I can’t believe it’s over!!”

As we wandered around one of Montreal’s parks with our cheesy gravy-covered fries, I thought about how her long anticipated big day had come and gone. The bride’s “best day ever” was now yesterday.

The day after the best day ever always feels like a gamble; Even if it’s pretty good, it’s worrisome that the happy feelings will subside. There’s this residue of greatness now gone that hangs in the air. It’s so hard to hold on to that best day- when it occurs, the urge arises to grab it, but it always slips away.

Sometimes a yearning for ‘yesterday’ will leave me feeling unsatisfied and melancholy; And what’s funny is that even though this ‘day after the best day’ will happen every time, I always struggle against it. I wonder when and if another ‘best’ day will come again…and I wait. And I remember.

But then, in certain moments when things are calm, I think of all the other days and what they might mean. I wonder about them- there are so many more days stretching before me than there are those special, momentous ‘best days ever.’ Will they mean anything in my life? Are they only here to be squandered?

And in my clearest seconds, sometimes during a run at dusk or mid-meditation or on a long bus ride home, I feel a spark of contentment, a flicker of gratitude, a flash of clarity.What if today- and all those ‘other days’ and ‘other moments’ – are equally as great as the best days? Sometimes the clear feeling is as subtle as a touch of wind, and is gone as fast as it came. For the moments in its wake, I’m left confused, struggling to grasp the insight and bring it back to me. But as of late, my goal has been to embrace the confusion and just let it go.

What if the best day ever wasn’t yesterday or won’t even be tomorrow, but is actually right now?

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