As Christmas looms mere days away, I've taken to considering how, or if, our lives will be different when we're married. Honestly, I'm having a tough time thinking of many.
Mike and I have been together for going on 12 years (will be in February). This will be our 12th Christmas celebrated together. We've lived together for almost 3 years (only 2 of them in a row...). If there was a fight to have, we've had it. If there was a decision to make (kids and the like not included), we've made it.
Holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people, and the Bel-Grage house is no exception. This year was the first time in 12 years we've done Thanksgiving together. Last year at Thanksgiving time, we had the following conversation sitting in the then brand-new townhouse.
Kristin: So you're doing things with your family and me with mine again this year?
Kristin: You know, we'll be officially engaged this time next year.
Kristin: We should really consider doing Thanksgiving together next year, since we'll be engaged and all.
And that was that. For 10 months we didn't consider it. Then Thanksgiving, as it does, came around again. And of course there was some "discussion" about how it should be handled. In the end, we just did two Thanksgivings, one earlier in the day, one later.
Planning for Christmas is quite similar. We've combined Christmases for a number of years, but never consolidated. There's always the trip to my dad's, the trip to his parents', the trip to my mom's, the trip to my aunt's. It's always a crazy, hectic week. But, as Tim Gunn says, we make it work.
This year, for the first time, there's actually some consolidation. With the power outages and storms, neither of our parents have the time to get things ready at their respective houses for Christmas. So this year, they're coming to us! After an evening of fun at my Dad's, followed by a late-evening party at family friends of Mike's parents', we'll have Christmas morning and dinner at our house. I've been all aflutter trying to get things cooked and organized, and we've had our share of "discussions" about this as well, but, overall, things are running smoothly.
As I've been planning, and baking, and prepping, I've been thinking. What's going to change when we're married? How will this all be different? Will it mean more or be more complicated? And I don't know the answer. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it can't get more complicated, short of popping out some kids.
So why bother? If we're already living together, already combining families and holidays, already living our lives, why bother get married? If nothing is going to change, what's the point?
I guess, for me anyway, it's a line in the sand. It's a day to stand and scream at the universe, "I love this man. I am going to spend my life devoted to creating a life together with him." Being married isn't going to change how we celebrate holidays, how we resolve conflict, or even how we love each other. But it will cement that love in the traditions and vows that we will share with our parents (for better in some cases, and for worse in other), grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents.
Merry Christmas everyone! And a healthy and joyful New Year!