It was a wedding four years in the making. And yet, it never maintained much trace of reality. Instead, it became the perfect opportunity for me to use social media to put a fitting conclusion to a longstanding joke.
Four years ago while I was dining with some fellow Lutes the topic of marriage came up. It was more an exasperated comment of frustration than anything, as one of the students (to be honest, I no longer remember who it was) complained about her stressed life at the time. She was worried about midterms and graduation and jobs and an uncertain future, when she let it slip that she just wished she knew something about her future. For example, she wished she knew when she would get married.
“I know when I’m getting married,” I deadpanned in return, to confused looks from everyone. I was (and still am) single, and everyone there knew as much. My statement made no sense, and yet they were intrigued. Who wouldn’t be?
“So, when are you getting married?”
“August 23, 2014.” It was the first date that popped into my head while seeming a reasonable amount of time in the future as to lend it some possibility of coming true. Four years away. One week before my 27th birthday. Seemed like a good date. As it turned out, it was going to be a Saturday, so that was even a one-in-seven chance that turned out to be a plus.
“So, who are you going to marry?”
“I don’t know that. I only said I know when I’m getting married.”
I’m typically one who continues bluffs, carrying random conversation threads, prank wars and everything else far beyond where anyone else would go. So naturally I played up the point that this date made perfect sense regardless of the bride.
“Well I guess that gives you four years, so if you meet her in the next year or so and date for a couple years…” I cut off that line of thinking before it could reach its end. By this point I was going for nothing other than shock and ridiculousness.
“What? No. I just need an eligible bachelorette to show up at the wedding venue when the ceremony starts. All I need from her is to show up and say ‘I do.’”
“Well, how are you going to plan the wedding without a bride?”
“Are you serious? How much less stressful would wedding planning be if the bride was not involved at all?” By that point I was just playing up all the stereotypes for effect.
Eventually the conversation moved to a different topic and we carried on our lives, all the while the date steadily approached. I never forgot the date and mentioned it to other friends and family over the years. It did not take long before it became abundantly clear that August 23, 2014, would not, in fact, be my wedding date. But that made the possibilities for that date all the more fun.
As my various pictures from last night’s “bachelor party” – essentially a typical Friday night spent with my cousins watching sports, movies and eating ice cream – and tonight’s “wedding” – a few fun plays on various wedding traditions while attending a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game with my cousins and a bunch of fellow Lutes – attest, I had a lot of fun playing into the idea that I was actually getting married today. And it all culminated in a ring pop on my finger and a relationship status change on Facebook.
That last bit was the key for me. I’ve long joked with friends that nothing’s real unless it’s on Facebook. I especially tease people about it when it comes to relationships and weddings. Conversely, it would make sense that if something is on Facebook, it is obviously real.
Now obviously I am not married, I was not when I woke up this morning and I will not be when I go to bed tonight. But, as people have found over the years that Facebook never forgets, in the world of social media I will have always succeeded in my claim that I would get married on August 23, 2014. Even when I remove the “married” relationship status from my Facebook page, a quick glance at this date on my timeline will show that I got married. In no way is it legitimate, but through the ridiculous premise that Facebook = life, it satisfies my need for carrying out my claim from four years ago.
Having said all this, the last thing I would want anyone to think is that I do not hold the proper respect for marriage. As previously established, I am not yet married, but I look forward with great eagerness to the actual day when that changes. I had the great blessing of growing up surrounded by family members (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) who embodied what it takes to live out a successful marriage. Now that I’m in my mid-20s I have close friends who continue to reveal the beauties and intricacies of great marriages.
Coming full circle, the whole point of that PLU student’s stress and complaints was our inability to know the future. As much as I “claimed” otherwise, I can never know the future. At that point in my life I was living in Portland. I have since moved to Ashland and back up to Tacoma, meeting countless people who have quite literally changed my life and even altered who I am as a person. I never knew what each step would hold, but I put trust in my God and Savior that it would work out.
It was a wedding four years in the making. Today I am no closer to marriage than I was when I set this date, but at the same time that’s not true. I am an entirely different person from the recent college graduate who claimed that date four years ago, and that growth continues to this day. I do not know what the future holds, but I cannot wait to see. And I will continue to hope in faith that someday I will meet my bride, that I will prove worthy of her love and that we will form a bond that blesses us and all around us. And hopefully then, on my real wedding date, my bride will actually show up to the venue, accept my ring and say, “I do.”
And of course I will post it on Facebook and expect everyone to like it.