For this Wedding Wednesday, I’m gonna rant for a minute…

If I hear “I don’t believe in marriage because it’s only a piece of paper” one more time, I think I just might go postal and start slinging Jello at anyone within slingshot distance David-and-Goliath style.

MARRIAGE IS NOT A PIECE OF PAPER.

I often say in my ceremonies that marriage is a natural continuation of the life and love you already share, except with an explicit promise to share your life, with all its joys and burdens with your partner. It is your commitment and the life you share.

MARRIAGE IS NOT A PIECE OF PAPER.

A marriage license here in the States is what allows the government to legally recognize you as married. This is important, both socially and legally. The status of being legally married gives your relationship benefits that are deeply important: insurance, death benefits, medical access in case of emergency, tax benefits, as well as social legitimacy. It is important and I’m not saying the right to legal marriage isn’t important because it obviously is. But it is not what makes you married in the way that matters the most.

MARRIAGE IS NOT A PIECE OF PAPER.

Marriage is spending your life with your partner. Fighting over who did the dishes last, figuring out how to pay the bills, navigating each other’s mood swings on vacations when flights have been delayed and your luggage is lost. It’s holding each other with pride and joy when you get a new home, see your child for the first time, introduce a new fur-baby to the family, finally turn a profit from the business you two have been dreaming about and slaving to make a reality. It’s the thousand little moments when you do that thing that’s just between you two, exchange that look at a party over the same person you noticed, laugh until your sides hurt from that one movie you two love. It’s asking thousands of times “what do you want for dinner?” and hundreds of “need anything from the store?” texts. It’s drama-filled holidays and the best birthdays ever, lit Saturday nights and groggy Monday mornings together. Together. Always together, or at least trying to be.

MARRIAGE IS NOT A PIECE OF PAPER.

Your wedding is the moment that you gather your community – your tribe – to announce a culmination of the experiences of your hearts. It’s the moment the butterfly bursts from his chrysalis, the first breath a child takes as she enters the world. All the deeply interesting and transformative stuff happened before “the moment” but it is that single act that we deem as the change. And that is what your wedding is, “the moment”. It’s like a birthday; all the growth, pain, and joy of 78,840,000 breaths over the last year are the experiences that moved you through time. But our birthday is when we stop and reflect on the past to learn and commemorate while also looking to the future with hope and anticipation.

MARRIAGE IS NOT A PIECE OF PAPER.

Your wedding is declaring to all of your loved ones that this is your person and you are in for the ride ’til the end of the line. Marriage is living out that promise daily, in ways big and small.

The piece of paper is just how the government acknowledges the relationship you’re already living in.

marriage is not a piece of paper

Marie and Husband the Therapist