We’ve Been Together For Sixteen Years – No, We’re Not Getting Married
This article requires a big, dirty disclaimer. A caveat for those who have enthusiastically clicked expecting some provocative piece on how marriage is nonsense. Before we commence, this is no indictment on those who want to, choose to, have, or aspire to get married.
I love weddings, I love marriage, I have MCed at my mates’ weddings, can tear up a dancefloor in terrifying ways that have split more than a couple of my cheap ASOS dresses up the side, and love nothing more than seeing my loved ones launch themselves into a lifetime of marital bliss.
Instead this is a reflection on those questions that start furiously running through strangers’ heads when I refer to my ‘partner’ as just that. When they realise I’m not actually married to my love of sixteen years. Because I see those cogs turning, and it’s okay to be curious about why I choose not to get married.
#1 We identified the desire for a party. So we threw one.
We’ve always happily discussed the idea of marriage and we realised early in the piece that one of its most enticing aspects was that we got to celebrate our relationship with our nearest and dearest. So we chucked a party.
On our ten year anniversary we decided to celebrate what we had just achieved; a solid decade of good times. We put on a generous bar tab at a wee Smith Street dive bar, sent out formal print invitations, commissioned tasty finger food, hired a couple of bands and a photographer and requested a couple of short speeches from the dads and select mates. And it was incredible. And very quickly that itch was successfully scratched and marriage didn’t seem so important for a while.
#2 If it ain’t broke.
Sounds clichéd, but this has always rung true for us. We’re solid. We’re tight. We’re doin’ alright. And we’re maybe just a little superstitious that things needn’t change if they’re super fine the way they are.
#3 We find it more romantic this way.
We’ve often been accused of not being romantic, for refusing to indulge in the ultimate gesture of love and commitment, but on the contrary, we feel all the more committed for refusing to wed. It feels more romantic not being contractually obliged to stay together, and knowing every day in each other’s company is a decision that both of us could freely walk away from should we wish.
#4 More ‘permanent’ things have bound us with time.
Across sixteen years we have inevitably found ourselves bound by arguably more permanent things than a wedding ring. Our friends and families are indelibly linked, like permanent fixtures in one another’s lives. We also share bank accounts and one bastard of a mortgage together. And most importantly, we now share genetics. Our son has bound us till death in the most irreplaceable way possible.
#5 Dat guestlist doe
After every glorious, loved up wedding we attend, we usually readdress the idea of getting married. We excitedly mull over the location and know exactly what the entrees would entail, but the guestlist is always an absolute deal breaker.
Keeping a modest and affordable guestlist seems impossible, navigating the obligatory family minefield is just plain terrifying and requesting the attendance of overseas guests is surely just too audacious. Soon enough we’re awash with anxiety at the mere thought of assembling this imaginary event, so we put that daydream to bed and carry on. And sometimes we just refer to each other as husband and wife when we meet new people, ‘cos everyone just seems happier that way.
Emily works in PR and writes for a bunch of music publications on the reg but her greatest life achievement to date is an Instagram profile (@emkeezy) that doesn’t ENTIRELY consist of photos of her baby.