I’m getting married in just over two days.
I’ll be promising to spend the rest of my life with one man, the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine. The rest of my life. Forever. And ever.
Now, just a few weeks ago, I was asked why I was getting married. Apparently it’s not a particularly trendy thing to do nowadays. With one daughter between us already, we clearly don’t have the whole “sex before marriage” thing to consider. And we decided to have a baby together before we decided to get married, so marriage was never a factor in the family planning plan. I must admit, that question threw me a bit. I mean, why does anyone get married?
But according to the statistics, they don’t. Not any more anyway. The National Statistics Office says there are currently 2.2 million couples cohabiting in the UK. That’s a lot of couples, none of whom are married. Obviously. The same set of stats also show a steep rise in the number of people cohabiting. Of those born between 1966 and 1970, 18 percent were cohabiting between the ages of 25 and 29, compared to 26 percent of couples the same age, who were born between 1971 and 1975. And in 2008, 45 percent of births in England and Wales were outside of marriage, compared to just 8 percent in 1971. It seems many couples share the view of myself and the NLM that marriage doesn’t necessarily have to come before babies.
As a bride-to-be, the numbers can make quite gloomy reading. They confirm I really am so last decade. In fact, I’m not even last decade – I’m last century. Whichever way you look at it, far fewer people are getting married. But, on the upside, far fewer people are getting divorced. So maybe there is something to be said of this marriage lark after all.
Which brings me back to the question, why am I getting married?
Marriage is clearly an incredibly personal decision. Some people choose to tie the knot for religious reasons, some for social reasons, some because they like the idea of a pretty white dress and some because, well, they’re just romantic. For me, it’s a bit of all of those, minus the religious part, with some other stuff thrown in for good measure.
I’m getting married because I love the NLM. Yes, he farts, leaves bogies on the pillow, gets his words mixed up, isn’t particularly good at hanging up wet towels and is far too laid back for my liking. But he’s also incredibly protective, loyal, easy-going, thoughtful, affectionate, fun, funny and gorgeous. And he’s a rather good cook.
I’m getting married because I want the same name as my daughter and her father. I want to be officially included in the family unit, even if I do choose to keep my maiden name for work purposes. When people assume I’m “Mrs Weaver”, I don’t want to have to correct them all the time.
I’m getting married because, at heart, I’m a hopeless romantic. I want to get old with one person, have a history of shared experiences, create a family which will get bigger and bigger. And I like the idea of promising the commitment all of that brings to one person, in front of all the people I care about. Call me old fashioned, but I want the piece of paper.
I’m getting married because I want to wear the pretty dress and have a brilliant party. I want to hear what my dad has to say in his speech and I want to see all my friends and family in one room. I want the excitement as I drive to the (civil ceremony) venue. I want the butterflies as I prepare to walk down the aisle. In short, I want the wedding.
And, among all my reasons, there’s the obvious one. The one you don’t often hear in arguments defending this so-called untrendy and ageing institution: I’m getting married because he asked me, and I said yes.