I went to a friends wedding at the weekend, a friend from uni that I lived with for my first two years in Bristol. I lived with her and another lovely lady, who got married a couple of weeks ago.
The wedding was beautiful, and it was really good to see them both again. It struck me looking round while the speeches were going on how much we had all changed. Everyone was chatting about jobs and houses and kids, everyone seeming happy and settled.
However, the nice thing about this wedding was how well we had known each other before all the settling, about the amount of times we had discussed what the hell we would be doing, right about now. The nicest realisation was that we were all, in one way or another, doing it, or at least heading roughly on the right road to doing it, give or take the odd diversion en route. The other thing about this wedding was the feeling that some of the mystery had gone out of it. It’s an odd thing to explain, but I mean that in a really good way.
When we were all at uni together, we thought and chatted many times over incalculable glasses of Tesco’s cheapest wine about things like weddings and where we would be in the next few years. But there was a sort of mystery and magic, coupled with a complete lack of understanding or reality about how it would work. The kind of fluffy non-comprehension of marriage that comes from watching a million cheesy films where finding a bloke and getting the ring and the dress were the end of the story.
In these conversations, the thought of planning the bloody thing and the practicality of still being together, changing names on bills, fitting jobs and places to live around each other and all that stuff didn’t really factor in. However, having known this couple for a long time, having seen the ups and downs and reality of them being together, and then knowing they are still willing to take the big leap, realistic understanding in place is so much more impressive.
I am still a million miles and a mass of confusion off making the same leap, and it does seem strange and a little scary to be so far off given how many friends, many younger than me, seem to have got it all sorted, but it’s in a way a nice feeling.
I don’t pretend to understand anything to do with love more than I did a few years ago, but I do feel a little more realistic about it. I also feel a little more hopeful and honest with myself about the things you need to do to get it right. Yes, I still keep getting it wrong and messing it up, but at least I know that I want it, difficult bits and all.
Seeing two people I really care about, with all their differing personality traits and differing opinions getting to the point where they are so comfortable and full of understanding for each other made me so happy, and hugely proud of them. I hope one day I can be that happy too.
The nice thing is though, that there isn’t the urgency or the fear that used to go along with that feeling. Just the hope that one day I do figure it out the way they have, and the death of that expectation that it will be fluffy and perfect and all the other crap that you are led to believe it will be. It seems to be finding someone who really understands and can put up with your particular brand of crazy and love you anyway, the same way you love them. I think!
So good luck to Kezza and Paul, you’ll be an amazing and mad Mr & Mrs I’m sure. The day was beautiful for all the right reasons, and it’s lovely couples like you that make you see through all the bullshit and fluff and know that the reality of romance is much better than the nonsense and expectation you get taught to believe.