My reaction was a hint of jealousy. You see it took my husband and I five months to get married and if we could have done it any quicker we would have.
Our plans were hampered by the fact that I lived in London, he lived in Geneva and a month into the relationship I was seconded to work in New Zealand. By the time we married we’d only spent a handful of days together – and nearly 50 per cent of it in another hemisphere. We barely knew each other in the ‘time spent’ sense but we knew for certain that us marrying was the most natural thing in the world.
Stuart and I met at a wedding and date one was when I flew to Geneva to visit. Date two we realised we were in love, and decided to get married ASAP. Date three we asked my parents for their blessing for our marriage and met Stuart’s extended family in Wales. Date four was engagement photos and date five our parents met before I flew to New Zealand. Stuart and I spent more time on Skype than in person and didn’t live together for the first four months of marriage.
Like with Cheryl many people had reservations, even my wonderful best friend Chine (editor of threads) told me that it was ok if we wanted to slow down. Others suspected it was lust – we only rushed to the registry office so we could get to know each other in the physical sense. Both our sets of parents were supportive – Stuart’s own parents got married within six months of dating and my parents have 40+ years of marriage and 14 kids under their belts so they knew that dating for years was either putting off the inevitable or wasted time.
Being married to Stuart is a natural state of being; it just didn’t make sense to me not to be married. We couldn’t comprehend having a long engagement. If you are planning to get married, just do it. In no other relationship in life do we spend so long in a holding pattern – we don’t have pre-friends, engaged to be friends and then friends. When you know, you know (and if you don’t know, get out of there). I’ve met so many frustrated women sitting waiting for a proposal for seven, eight or nine years and when the wedding day comes they are both triumphant and relieved – glad that their ‘wait him out strategy’ worked and relieved that they hadn’t just wasted the best years of their lives. I refer to long relationships in people’s 20s as babysitting. Most people settle into a relationship, and getting married after being together for so long is the path of least resistance. Marriage should be two people who love each other choosing to commit willingly and without reservation.
For Stuart and I we both know that we’ve thoughtfully and mindfully chosen each other and it is that solid foundation is the rock on which our marriage has stood firm against the vicissitudes of life. We’ve come through major life stressors with bereavements, family illness, international moves and changing jobs among other things keeping us challenged.
Despite that over the past five years we’ve fallen more deeply in love with each other. I still get butterflies when I see Stuart in a crowd. Having a whirlwind romance is exactly that – whirlwind-ish and deeply romantic. The early intensity sets the tone for the years to come. Too often I’ve heard from couples that most passion has tailed off by the time one partner drags the other up to the altar. My dad often quotes: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.” On the days when I am not torturing Stuart to do DIY, he’s reasonably convinced.