It's Our Turn: Waning weddings and vexing vows
The sanctity of marriage has indeed been defiled. This is not a new phenomena. It's plagued American homes for half a century.
A few weeks ago I was planning my Summer Solstice Eve when it occurred to me: I would have been married for 10 years on June 21.
Instead, I filed for a dissolution of marriage on New Year's Eve in 2007. I exchanged Mrs. for Ms., restored my maiden name and joined the millions of divorced Americans as a divorcee on February 7, 2008.
Like many people in their 20s, I married right after graduating from college. We'd been dating for four years. It seemed to be the next logical step. The day of our Wiccan handfasting ceremony, I hesitated before stepping into our sacred circle. I did not enter in perfect love and perfect trust. I should have trusted my instincts.
Two years, actually two weeks, into the marriage I knew it wasn't what I wanted for the rest of my life. It just didn't feel right. I tried to honor the vows that we...actually didn't take. Nothing was rehearsed, recited or read during the ceremony. We really didn't have a plan.
When we applied for our marriage license, we were presented with two options: pay a $40 license fee if we had a signed statement from an ordained minister stating we had completed 12 hours of premarital education sessions or skip the premarital education and pay $115. Being we didn't belong to a church, we shelled out $115, put up our right hands and skipped out the doors of the Clay County Courthouse in Moorhead. Oops.
What I didn't know then was that according to Minnesota statute, anyone who is an ordained minister or any person authorized to solemnize marriages or practice marriage and family therapy can provide premarital education sessions. Had my ex-husband and I participated, we may have learned that we had different life goals prior to making our legal folly.
"They" say to marry your best friend. I say, marry the person you wake up thinking about, get excited to see after you've only been apart for a day, the person who makes you laugh, the person who understands what you mean when you can't say it, the person who "gets" you, the person who you can see fireworks with when it's not the Fourth of July.
Sure, I could have lulled through our sparkless union but the same laws that allowed me to tie the knot allowed it to be unbound. I pulled the thread.
Governor Dayton signed the same-sex marriage bill into law on May 14, 2013. I applaud the fortitude of the citizens and political leaders who made this historic act of equality possible.
There are probably going to be a lot of gay couples applying for marriage licenses in August who, like I, may not belong to a church. Gay and lesbian couples who may be starry-eyed and flutter-hearted at the newly presented opportunity to make their love "legal."
Slow down. Do it once and do it right. I urge every couple to opt for the premarital education. Twelve hours may just save you four years.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.