Yesterday, my fiancé and I had a meeting with my soon-to-be step-daughter's lawyer. "When are you planning to marry?" she asked innocently enough. So I told her. "Next May after finals." After chewing the end of her pen for a beat, she offered, "Well why don't you just elope now? Honestly, the best thing to do would be to get married immediately and save yourselves all the hassle." I must have been a little stunned because she seemed to watch me for an eternity as I stared blankly back at her before she spoke again.
"Why are you waiting anyway? Oh, let me guess, it's your first marriage and you want the big church wedding, right?" she said cynically. "Trust me, in the end you'll end up spending so much money for a little piece of paper you'll wish you hadn't. Better to just go ahead and get it over with now – involve [step-daughter to-be] - and then have a big wedding next year when you want it."
Had she just referred to my impending vows as little more than a technicality? Was she equating my starting my life with M to nothing more than a signed document? In an instant she had whisked away all romantic notions and left me with little more than a legal strategy designed to best resolve the conflict regarding M's ex. She had also given M a better excuse to support his joking about us running off to some island and getting hitched. Now when M text messages me during the day asking me if I want to get married after work, I'll have to take his suggestions a little more seriously. (P.S. M: you don't really stand a chance!)
With all the media attention swirling on the value of the institution of marriage, the lawyer's comments did not come as that much of a surprise. For so many, marriage has lost it's appeal or relevance or value. Though her suggestions were well-intentioned, it was still a bit unsettling. But what struck me more than anything was a fear that my views on the world would too be forever reduced to that of legal technicalities and reasoning. Can law school really strip me of my values and romantic notions about life? Can the challenges of the curriculum and pressure of the Socratic method really challenge my faith and lead me to doubt?
Have you followed this blog long?! :) I wouldn't count on it! Even if I should become more argumentative, I'll still be me. And for the first time in my life I'm really OK with that.
As for the lawyer's advice, in the end I'll have to do what's right for me, M and my precious V. Needless to say, theres more than a piece of paper involved. Regardless of what others see.
I see... possibilities.