There is no doubt that there is one prolonged event in the lives of humans which quickly reveals the quirkiest of our idiosyncrasies: marriage. Prolonged in the sense that it involves a series of sub-events: a proposal, an engagement, wedding planning, the wedding ceremony, a wedding reception, the signing of legal documents, a honeymoon, and then building a home together, which may or may not involve having children. Of course these sub-events don’t necessarily follow this order, and herein lay the idiosyncrasies previously mentioned.
Are you the type who expects a proposal no matter what? Will your honeymoon come before or after your wedding day? Will your wedding ceremony come prior to, or follow the signing of legal documents? Will your engagement last a year, or a month? Must you be in charge of your wedding planning, or can you leave it up to the wedding factory planner (Korean wedding halls are cheekily called wedding factories for their 30 minute ceremony turnover)? Depending on how you answer these questions, you may be the subject of curiosity.
I bring this up because of my own wedding story (We haven’t had a one, yet we’ve celebrated our one-year anniversary. I’ll get to that later) and a story I heard from my American friend. Let’s start with my friend’s story. We’ll call her “Diva” (She’s far from being a diva. The name just works for me at the moment).
As Diva was having dinner with her Korean friend “Yuni”, Diva spotted an engagement ring on Yuni’s finger.
“Congratulations! Have you set a date?”
“Yes, we’re getting married May 12, but I’m still waiting for his proposal.”
Diva, perplexed, looked at Yuni.
“But you’ve set the date. This surely means you’re engaged. How can he propose if you’re already engaged?”
Some of you may sympathize with Diva’s confusion, but to Yuni it was perfectly sensible. Her and her boyfriend had been together for two years, and during these years together they often talked about their plans to get married. Once they discussed these plans with their parents, the date was soon set, but Yuni was left without her fantasy proposal. Of course she expressed this dream to her new fiancé, and without a doubt in either of their minds, he was expected to perform. Now instead of planning for their wedding (which will be taken care of by the wedding factory planner), they are anxiously planning his proposal.
My story starts from a similar point of reference. Having been together for four years, talk of marriage was inevitable. At the end of the fourth year, we decided it was time to get married, so we went to the Canadian consulate in Pusan with passports in hand. In two weeks, without a ceremony of any kind — except the ceremony of picking up the mail where our marriage certificate was deposited — we were husband and wife. This was on December 1, 2008. On December 1, 2009 we celebrated a year of being happily married. Now it’s January 28, 2010 and tomorrow we are going to Thailand for our honeymoon. We’re still not sure when we are going to have a ceremony; all we know is we’ll have one someday.
One thing is for sure, no matter how the sub-events of this prolonged moment are laid out, the only question you need to answer is this one: Are you happy? If the answer is yes, it doesn’t matter whether you follow a linear, circular or zig-zag timeline.