HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kierstyn King’s blog Bridging the Gap. It was originally published on January 14, 2015 under the title “Well Then, God is a Shitty Author, Part 5.”
And then we ran away and lived happily ever after, right?!
After I got up to Maine my parents began this routine where they were suddenly super nice! Sent me my clothes, told me I could come back…and then would also be really mean. Back and forth, back and forth.
I had just escaped an extremely traumatic…decade, and suddenly I was so tired. I did a lot of sleeping. Alex made sure I was able to get as much sleep as I could. I stayed between my in-laws house and their pastor (the pastor I had been talking to). At the time it was exactly what I needed, they gave me space and let me talk, let me sleep, confirmed that what I was experiencing from my parents was not okay. My dad even called the pastor and when the pastor got off the phone with him he came to me and was like, yeah, you were not remotely exaggerating about your parents.
In April Alex proposed to me, and thus began another round of drama.
But before I get into that, I want to say. I was 18 and Alex was 20. I do not recommend getting married this early. It worked out for us, yeah, but I am not going to extrapolate that to everyone. We got married because we love each other and wanted to just be together (still do) and that was the only way we knew how to do it. The concept of bounded choice applies here. We wouldn’t have been able to just move in together – legally, yes, but not….while retaining relationships with people we needed support from at the time. So it worked out, but the fact that it worked is a combination of magic, that Alex and I had a strangely healthy relationship given our backgrounds, and a lot of work.
At the very least, wait until you can actually legally buy the champagne to have at your wedding.
And I do recommend living with the person before hand, because seriously, it’s smart.
Alright, now that’s out of the way…
Within like a month or so of courting my mom took me dress shopping (I told you they rushed it!), and we found the PERFECT dress, ON SALE, so we got it, and it was in my closet. I got engaged and my parents had been nice and so I asked if they’d send it, and they said no – that they didn’t support my marriage and sending my dress would be like giving money to a homeless person (who would spend it on booze). Needless to say they didn’t offer to pay for it either. They then began to sabotage my wedding. Sending my pastor a tome of papers, emails, with notes in the margins, about why Alex and I shouldn’t be married. The pastor did his due diligence and read over the tome and was like, dude, I don’t see anything here. My parents were pissed. They pleaded, begged, tried to garner as much sympathy as they could from everyone. The only family on my side that came to my wedding, were my grandparents, even though I’d sent invites to everyone else.
Honestly though, I’m happy my parents didn’t come. I could do without the sabotage and backbiting and expressing their loathing for me and Alex. I definitely didn’t want to deal with that on my wedding day.
My entire goal for my wedding was for it to be over. I got a dress at a used dress shop, the seamstress also did the photography (she took pictures with a DSLR and gave us the SD card, she’s….not really a photographer), I basically didn’t plan much of my wedding. We chose the vows that were the shortest, I told my Mother in Law that I wanted the colors to be red and white and that I’d like to have roses for the wedding party, but that was basically all I had decided. We had a morning wedding with Hors d’oeuvres and Cream Soda and tea and coffee, and our cake was vanilla with strawberry filling and chocolate covered strawberries as a cake decoration. I walked down the aisle solo, to Concerning Hobbits, and we did not include any room for people to object.
Like 30 people came, we had a small wedding party, and I made a playlist for the reception. Tablecloths and plates and silverware were from Walmart and I didn’t give a shit. I was just happy to have gotten this far.
During the reception the pastor asked me how I was feeling and I told him: relieved.
The funniest part is that my Mother in Law was talking to people about how it was our first kiss (it wasn’t), and romanticizes that we had cream soda instead of champagne. But nothing is more lame than having champagne on your wedding that neither you nor your spouse can drink. Seriously. It’s not for lack of wanting it, just lack of ability to acquire legally.
Which is why I said you should wait until you can drink to have a wedding, you will need it.
Alex and I work because we both know we’re human, we try not to invalidate each other’s experiences, and we listen. We are equal.
But that we work that way is fucking magic. There are many broken hearts and casualties in the wake of courtship and purity culture. When you start with people who have no business or ultimate involvement in a relationship having the most authority in it, it’s always bad. Just don’t. okay. Just don’t do it.
Date. Have Consensual Sex. Move in together. Get married if that’s what you want. Ultimately, be honest with yourself and your partner. Communicate. Know you’re both human.
But don’t give your autonomy to other people because “authority”. Only you know what’s best for you.
End of series.