18 May Royal weddings and your book of marriage.
While the whole world watches another prince marry a commoner in a fairytale wedding and marriage is the topic du jour, it seems the right time to ask, ‘What’s your story?’ It doesn’t matter where you live, what your beliefs are, whether you chose to marry or not, your life will have been affected, even stigmatized, by the institution of marriage. Cast aside everything else for a minute to contemplate your life through the lens of matrimony.
It’s not hard to do the math and work out whether your parents were encouraged to marry because of an unplanned pregnancy. As late as the 1970s over a third of marriages were shotgun weddings. If this happened to your parents or grandparents it could explain a lot about their married lives and what their children experienced. Arranged marriages were also common amongst immigrant populations in the West during the first half of the 20th century, and of course, the aristocracy maintained their power and prestige through marriages of convenience.
The ultimate marriage-of-convenience disaster was Prince Charles’ to Lady Diana Spencer. Cagey about his forthcoming nuptials Charles said that he fell for Diana ‘gradually’. By the end of the summer of 1980 he acknowledged what was going on in his mind and ‘hers in particular.’ Asked if in love he responded, ‘Whatever in love means, put your own interpretation on it.’ Did your childhood suffer because of a match made in hell? Were you hard on your parents because of their bad marital choices? It may be that they were making the most of what society dictated.
Being married to the same person your whole life is a lot to ask of some people. Luckily, we invented the divorce to bail out those who couldn’t go the distance or wanted to try out a new partner. In 1937 people of the UK were allowed to cite drunkenness, insanity and desertion as well as adultery to their lists of ‘reasons to divorce.’ Nowadays, irretrievable breakdown will suffice but only after a separation of two years or a wait of five if one side is finding it hard to let go.
Many states in the US only keep divorce-seeking couples wedlocked for 180 days and some like Iowa, a mere 60 days. Fault-based divorces still exist and are granted on grounds of willful neglect, habitual intemperance, permanent insanity, and conviction of a felony.
If you’ve been married and divorced you’ll have your own story, especially on how the spoils were divided. Diana, Princess of Wales had this to say about her divorce from Prince Charles, ‘It’s been pretty grim, but we’re near the end of it… I’m going to get three-quarters of what I want and the quarter he can’t have, so there you go. Not a very loving, compassionate family this one I’m leaving I tell you.’
And Charles, ‘It’s not a very happy or encouraging thing when this sort of business happens. So obviously it would be nice, you know if it could be over and done with. I mean it has happened, that is that …regrettably.’
Wavering on the eve of one’s wedding is nothing unusual and can be dispelled with some loving advice from a close relative such as Prince Philip’s to his son Charles on the eve of his wedding to Diana, ‘If your marriage doesn’t work out you can always go back to her (Camilla) after five years.’
If you married, do you remember how you felt in the days leading up to the big event and how it pulled the rest of your family together or apart? Today elopement is on the rise with millennials because the average wedding costs about $35,500. Who paid for your wedding and how much did it cost? And what of your wedding day, the honeymoon, and the first few months of marriage? You have plenty to say.
Not married? What’s wrong with you?
If you’re an unmarried woman there are names for people like you – spinster, old maid, cat lady. Fortunately, there is a way shift your status from cat lady to cougar. Get married, get divorced and target younger men. Plus, divorcee sounds so much better than any of those other titles and you might get to skip bunny boiler altogether. If you’re a singleton who happens to be male, congrats you hit the jackpot, you are a bachelor with commitment issues and that puts you right atop the desirability charts. Women want you and men want to be you.
No one escapes the conventions of marriage and your story is worth telling. Use Johnnybio to structure your memoir, choose your best stories and images, and instantly preview and publish your book. For more ideas on how to approach your autobiography or memoir follow Johnnybio on Facebook or Twitter.