Sandra is 52 and has a lot to say about relationships…
“When I was younger, marriage sounded appealing. Of course I had seen plenty of Disney movies where a man entered some forlorn girl’s world and turned it around to glitter, crowns, and lifelong love and adoration, but to me, partnering up with a man and experiencing life, love, family and maybe even growing spiritually and financially together seemed like an adventure I wanted to go on, and so I did. Three times! (long pause and a sigh) And so I’ve been single 10 years, and I want to hook up and commit, but I can’t go through another divorce financially, legally, or emotionally, and yet living with a man without some protection doesn’t seem like a fit either. I guess I want more and some sense of safety … so I’m in limbo …”
But you don’t have to be in limbo, Sandra, because Doctor Becky has an idea for men and women who believe they are through with marriage, yet want more, and the answer has been in front of our faces for a long time – the commitment ceremony.
Yes, friends, the perfect answer for those of us who don’t want to have kids but probably do have kids and want to keep what we’ve managed to scrape together so far, but still want to share with a partner on some level, is to borrow an idea from our gay friends and scream it to the world that we’re totally committed to the one we love, but for whatever reason, we don’t want to legally wed.
“Commitment ceremonies mean many different things to different people. A commitment ceremony can look just like a wedding, complete with church, wedding gown, and hundreds of guests — but no marriage license. Or, a commitment ceremony can be the most alternative event imaginable: a ritual to bless your relationship, or just a big party to celebrate your love. A commitment ceremony can be a huge bash with all your friends and relatives in attendance, an intimate exchange between you and your partner, or a family rite of passage to strengthen the bonds between parents and children in a new unmarried stepfamily. You can call it a commitment ceremony, a wedding, a ceremony of union, or anything else you like!”
Unmarried.org sells books and ideas for people straight and gay who are interested in this sort of non legal commitment. I think it is time for society to offer all men and women alternative ways of being committed together without having to involve the county clerk and assumed legal entanglements that come with marriage – is there something wrong with specifically mutually agreeing about what we will and will not be committing ourselves to? To me, this is one way to create the safety some of us need to commit. And if a couple want to legally entangle and buy real estate – or anything – together, they can work out contracts as a brother or sister or friend and friend might do. What’s wrong with that?