Yesterday, an article on Hilary Duff terrified me. Wholesome Hilary, the most sensible-seeming of the twenty-something celebrity set, had divorced her husband of five years. This isn’t news (I’m a bit behind on that stuff these days) but it shocked me nonetheless. Maybe it’s because Hilary, with her Disney backing and image, seemed like when she said ‘I do’ it really would be a happily ever after? I’m not sure. I’m not even a Hilary Duff fan. But when I read that the breakdown of her marriage had made her skeptical of whether people should marry at all, it got me worried.
I’m engaged. My husband to be is everything one should desire in a prospective husband – incredibly kind, generous and intelligent. Pretty handsome too. We share values and hopes and dreams. I love what I call his ‘smiley eyes’ – eyes that crinkle at the edges when he grins, eyes that screw up into two tight little upside-down crescent moons when something makes him laugh. His smiley eyes fill me love and a warmth settles in the depths of my stomach when I see them. Not a day goes past that I’m not grateful for him. Yet that doesn’t mean I’m not scared to marry him.
Scoffing down bread and wine between bridal dress appointments with my best friend, I confessed my fears. The sort of fears that brides to be aren’t meant to confess, or think at all. What if I don’t love him forever? What if he, or I change too much? What if we are crap parents? What if what we want from life changes? I find the idea that we each forsake all the others ‘till death do us part faintly ludicrous. Many marriages end in divorce. Marriage equality doesn’t exist yet, and shouldn’t we wait until it does? We don’t have to be married to have a life together. But I still want to marry him.
Ordering us both another glass of wine, my friend talked acknowledged my fears and then talked me through the reasons why I am marrying him. The reality is that I didn’t grow up in a bubble, and marriage was always painted as the thing you do at a certain age. A certain fait accompli. So, unromantic as it sounds, that’s part of it. But he also happens to be the ‘best’ person I’ve ever met, and he makes me want to be better too. We hope for the same things in life. I want to travel, build a house and have children with him. He’s my partner, and together we make a team to take on the world with. I want to share everything with him. And I want to stand up in front of our family and friends, at an awesome party, and say these things out loud.
Regarding her divorce Hilary Duff has said, “A marriage of 20 years, the accomplishment of that must feel really great, but there are also huge sacrifices.” Yes, there will no doubt be sacrifices – ones I cannot even fathom right now. But I want to give to red-hot go, whether it is for forever, or a really, really long time. And then there are those damn smiley eyes – who could say no to those?