Whatever happened to romance? What happened to the build up of a relationship, the love letters, the poetry or the wooing? Is this all becoming old fashioned?
These days you’re considered to be in a de facto relationship the moment you move in together, but how long does that take and what do we really experience along the way these days? A few outings, some text messages and facebook posts and then you live together.
Since we’re organising our wedding we’ve decided to have a reading from the 1800’s, a love letter from Victor Hugo 1821, the French lyric poet behind the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. Since reading a book called Love Letter of Great Men it got me thinking about how different relationships are, how things have changed over time. After reading some of those letters it makes you realise how much harder it was for them, relationships over such long distances with no other communication other than letters delivered by snail mail. Here we are moving in together after 6 weeks of text messages and weekend outings, seeing each other every day after work, at the end of the day we came home to each other, we didn’t travel long distances by boat not seeing each other for weeks or months at a time. The more I read, the more I thought these letters were an appropriate inclusion, bringing a little bit of the passed into our modern celebrations. Something that’s missing these days. Even if that makes me old-fashioned.
From what I’ve seen of relationships around me, and my own experiences I’ve come to think we rush into things. As I’ve mentioned before, I think we all spend our whole lives rushing into things, rushing to things and wishing our lives away. We get into a new relationship, we spend a bit of time with this person, we move in, we get engaged, married, have a baby and wonder where all the time has gone. We wonder why we haven’t done the things we always thought we would have, then we get disappointed. Why not stop and enjoy the milestones along the way, stop wishing yourselves to be further down the line than we already are. Take a moment to stop and be present in the present!
My relationship never began in the old traditional sense, we met on an online dating site, we sent a lot of text messages and went out on the weekends and occasionally on a Wednesday night when we couldn’t wait until the end of the week to see each other. He’s not really into phone calls so we never really did that, but we still had a lot of communication back then, and we do now. We text each other all the time, we talk on the phone now, and we share things on each others facebook walls because we want to share things when we aren’t in the same place at the same time, as I imagine most couples do. We moved in together after 6 weeks, since we were already almost living together anyways. When we got engaged we’d been together around 18months, and we’re getting married after 7 months. I was told we should take the time to enjoy our engagement, but to us it’s merely a formality, and just another label to put on the “stage” of our relationship, an expense to get passed to move forward for our financial goals. We want to buy a house and have talked about starting a family, and at the age of 30 now, I feel like time is passing me by.
Like so many other people, I don’t want to miss out on things, but I don’t want to wish the time I have by. As a nurse I know how precious life is, how fragile health can be. I like to make the most of my experiences, I like to preserve our photos and keepsakes as they are what we have to hold on to.
I have been married before, and this time I want to have all the things I missed out on last time. Those things aren’t monetary things, for the most part. They are keep sakes, and little personal touches like readings, I want us to write our own vows and have readings we’ve chosen together. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t all about me, I seem to talk about it a lot lately, but as much as I discuss it on my blog and with my friends we talk about it together too. In fact he has wanted to be more involved than I was expecting, he wanted us to write vows (although he wants us to write them together – see how that goes when we get started), he wants to do things to help me, wants to come shopping for things and help me make decisions. All of which I was expecting to have to do by myself.
I think it’s important to hold on to things that remind you of important times of your life. That’s why I’m making a book of our engagement photos, keeping the wedding planner journal to preserve the process and planning to make up some photo frames and a photo album from the wedding photos.
I think it’s important not to lose the little things, the things that don’t cost us anything. The personal touches, the things that we bring to the table as individuals. I also think it’s important not to lose some traditions and values, like eating at the dining table as a family with no tv or phones.