It is Saturday evening just before dusk. My study windows are open and I can hear children playing in the yard two doors down. A lone kid on a skateboard flips and circles in the street below. The street lights haven’t come on so he’ll be there for a little while yet. The sounds of spring are everywhere. Birds sing from their nests and a dog barks as someone walks by his porch.
Two weeks ago Greg proposed to me. I said yes before he could finish. Since then I’ve spent hours searching the Web to get an idea of just how wedding vows are composed. We aren’t religious so the old traditional vows, with their commitment to God, won’t work. And the writer in me can’t rationalise using someone else’s words for such an intimate event. The older religious vows view the man and woman as incomplete human beings. The marriage serves to bring two incomplete halves together into one complete entity. The more current wedding vows tend to view each person as an independent individual joining in marriage to fulfill their personal needs and desires. This has me perplexed. Although I’m not religious, I do tend to see marriage as a way of becoming complete.
Ever since my twin brother left my side and began to think rationally and independently (at the age of five, when he finally realized that giving me his ice cream left him empty-handed), I’ve wanted to return to that infant state of co-dependence. Not for the ice cream, but for the vision. Sharing a life with my twin brother enabled me to explore and discover the world through a masculine set of eyes as well as my own. I learned that we saw and approached things very differently, but when both our masculine and feminine perceptions were combined, colours became richer, experiences more interesting, and opportunities abounded. Although I’ve grown to be an individual, part of me remembers that I’ve only got half of what it takes to understand and embrace life.
The trouble is that I can’t quite grasp the masculine point of view that Greg wants captured in our vows. He is a strong, independent individual. Raised to be a perfectionist, he faces the world head on. When I am romantic, he is rational. When I rush about doing three things all at once, he focuses on one. I tend to express all my emotions and he reveals just a few. He takes up new ideas quickly, I tend to question them and prefer those already tried and tested. When it comes to our vows I’m at a loss. Although Greg admits that he comes to the marriage incomplete, he sees it as a way for two people to fulfill their individual needs. My dilemma is that I’m a complete (although incomplete) romantic. I’ve always believed that marriage is a constant evolution towards the unity of both people into one elegant human being.
The other day Greg said that there is a possibility that my romantic view of marriage could work. If this weren’t the case he wouldn’t be marrying me. A few simple words but I adore him even more for them.
My Web search turned up the ultimate how-to-write-your-wedding-vows-in-five-easy-steps guide. It was a fill-in-the-blanks type of project. The first step is to write down your favourite line from a book, a song and a musical. Next write down your favourite kind of flower and a favourite line from a poem. Then write down a saying or quote that is meaningful in your relationship. Follow this with the thing you enjoy doing the most with him. Last, write down the trait or traits that you admire most in him. Once this is done, you must combine all your answers into a vow that begins with dearest and ends with their full name and I love you.
Below is what I came up with. My answers are in quotes. Dearest Greg, “It is life more than death that has no limits” (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Love in the Time of Cholera”) and even though “I never saw blue like that before” (Shawn Colvin, “Never Saw Blue Like That”) I do hope that you will “let the dream begin, let your darker side give in, to the power of the music of the night” (Andrew Lloyd Weber, “Phantom of The Opera”). I hope that we will pick a “daffodil,” nay “a host of golden daffodils/Beside the lake, beneath the trees/Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” (William Wordsworth, “Daffodils”). And as we take this journey together I want to say, “have ya ever seen blue like that!” I hope that we spend the rest of our lives “making love,” because I admire both your persistence and vitality.”
“Gregory Harold Thomson, I love you.” The above vow is ridiculous and I have a feeling it’s because I’m lacking input from the other half of this equation. The passion and emotion necessary for the words to have strength are all in the context; they can’t be borrowed. For this project I’ll have to share the weight of my pen with Greg.