status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage
Marriage is an institution that has gone severely out of fashion; there are occasional reports that it is staging a triumphant comeback, but for many people it is a step that is simply no longer relevant.
Which, I suppose, makes me old-fashioned (ditto my preference for Beethoven over Beyoncé, Pink Floyd over Pink and bog-standard trousers over those that display a spotty, g-stringed arse as soon as the wearer sits down), because I had always felt that should I ever meet a man with whom I decided to have a family, I might quite like to marry him first.
It was never about the big white wedding – horrid, fussy, expensive affairs in which being the dreaded centre of attention is apparently a must – it was more about the stated intention:
We are under no illusions that life is perfect, but we have taken the time and effort to organise a ceremonial promise to each other to try our very best to make our family work.
Giving myself and my intended that one further hoop to jump through seemed to offer an ideal opportunity for a last good think about our most heartfelt desires before we stepped into the bobbing sea of parenthood.
I have always been baffled by those (usually men, I might add) who claim marriage is too much of a commitment, but are happy to impregnate willy-nilly.
Pun, what pun?
But honestly, how on earth is marriage more of a commitment than breeding? You can’t divorce your children – although I understand they can now divorce you, if you don’t buy them the latest x-box or whatnot…
Of course there are still many who reckon love and marriage just go together like a nag and her cart. It has nothing to do with having children, it’s simply about forming a union that is built on mutual love and respect, a union they dearly hope will last forever and so wish to state that hope publicly.
And then there are those who are of the opinion that marriage is just a piece of paper. And I suppose they’re right: marriage can be just a piece of paper, if that is all you want it to be. And if that is all you see it as, then why bother? I get it.
Personally I just felt the need to officially verbalise my commitment to my partner before we went on to make an entirely more binding commitment to our offspring.
I didn’t want to call the father of my child, “my boyfriend” (too frivolous) or “my partner” (too business-like), I wanted to call him my husband and I wanted to be his wife – to me those felt like the building blocks for family.
But I am no romantic. Not a flutter felt I at uttering “I do”, and my heart didn’t dance a jig the first time I said “my husband”, I just felt rather silly – a little girl playing at being grown-up. I had no regrets at taking the plunge, but it changed precisely nothing.
And then, once the overwhelming relief at getting the dreaded hoop-la over and done with had started to dissipate and a sense of normality returned, I began to notice that not all was as it had been: there was an added sense of contentment in the air; a togetherness and a tenderness that I hadn’t previously perceived.
Having set sail on the bobbing sea of life and parenthood – precarious novices in our untried and wobbly little boat – the feeling that we are in this together, a team composed of just the two of us, is overwhelming.
Overwhelming, but utterly and joyfully exhilarating.
And that is the part I had never expected.
This is Status Viatoris, I know I know – just wait a couple of years and all the rosiness will have rubbed off blah blah blah, in Italy.