It Might Be Time To Get Married

04.April 2013

Our Journey

I was 21 when I got married. I’m still not sure why. I think it was because that’s just what you did in my smallish home town. You graduated school, maybe took some college courses, got a crappy-but-okay job, and either met someone to marry, or married your high school sweetheart.

Check, check, check, and check.

It didn’t last and five years later I left him, and marriage, behind.

When I met Jason I already knew that I didn’t want to get married again. It’s not that I don’t believe in marriage; because I do. The idea of commitment and longevity, for better or worse, richer or poorer, are the cornerstones of our almost 15 year relationship. 

I just don’t believe in second marriages.

I did that thing. Where you stand up before friends and family, church and state, and vow that you will stay with someone forever.

And then I didn’t.

What would I say this time? Look deep into Jason’s eyes, who I really do adore more than anyone on earth, and tell him “I really, really, mean it this time!”.

Our commitment is to each other, with each other, and will be told over the course of time.

We don’t, however, live in a bubble. In fact, we no longer live in our home country where our ‘common-law’ status affords the same rights and freedoms as conventionally married couples (including, I’m proud to say, gay couples). And therein lies our current dilemma.

Jason’s job search is going well but most of the inquiries, opportunities, and conversations with potential employers have come from the Middle East region. Dubai, Qatar, United Arab Emirates. Countries, and cultures, that place a very high value on being married. As in, as a woman, you cannot be seen with a man who is not your relation unless you are married.

And so it might be time to get married.

What?!

I know. But if we want to live in the world then we have to play by its rules. We’re here to observe, and watch, and experience, not to change the world and make it conform to our ideals. Well, not these ideals anyway.

I mean, really? I love that I can live my life equally and freely with Jason in Canada but there are far larger issues to tackle in the world than whether two people should be able to shack up in the Middle East. Really.

Slow down though; don’t be sending a wedding gift just yet. The old playground tune may say ‘first comes love, then comes marriage but in our case it’s ‘first comes the job, then comes the wedding’.

We’re not planning the wedding just yet but we’re excited about what our future may hold; including maybe, just maybe, being married.

 

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29 Responses to “It Might Be Time To Get Married”

  1. Justin Dart Says:

    Not sure if I should share or not. It is a great dilemma. I married my college sweetheart and this year marks 10 years. Marriage is the agreement you make to each other and with law. Weddings are silly overpriced ceremonies. My wife and I still wish we could have just said our vows on a beach and then gone out for a good lunch.

    If the jobs take you to the middle east, remember…. you are not muslims and I don’t think they push their laws on foreigners. There are plenty of single women working and living in the Emirates. SA might be harder but Dubai, I don’t think it would be too hard to just stay as you are. But if you do, remember the difference between now and after marriage is a document.

    • Gillian Says:

      Congrats on 10 years Justin! I’m certainly not worried about getting married. Jason and I live a shared, married life even though we’r not officially married. It’s just something that has come up as a result of our travel lifestyle.

  2. Carmel Says:

    I totally get what you’re saying about 2nd marriages and I admire your commitment to each other–formality of marriage or not. However, given that I live in a state that does NOT recognize common law marriage, the time that Shawn and I were together and not married scared me for a number of reasons. Even when we were engaged, in the eyes of the law, it meant nothing. I think what worried me most was not having a say in what happened in case of medical emergency.

    • Gillian Says:

      Oregon doesn’t recognize common law spouses? I’m surprised. Our decisions always come from the information and rights we have at the time, right? We are lucky to have come from a place that recognizes our union. If that weren’t so then you can bet that we would already be married!

  3. Leigh Says:

    If you do decide to get married at least you have the wisdom & maturity now to know exactly how you’d like that special day to be.
    But interesting to know if it will really need to happen or now that it’s popped up in your thinking whether you’ll decide to go forward with it no matter where you live.
    How do you feel about moving to the Middle East Gillian?
    Leigh recently posted..The Not-To-Be-Missed Maligne Canyon Icewalk in Jasper

    • Gillian Says:

      I think the Middle East would be an interesting challenge. I have many former medical colleagues who had worked in the area so have some idea of what it’s like. Much more of an expat experience than a local experience I think but one I’m willing to give a shot!

  4. Ali Says:

    I totally understand your view on getting married again, but if you and Jason have already made those kinds of commitments to each other, than it’s just a formality, a piece of paper that makes logistics easier. Even if you don’t end up in the middle east, there are so many benefits to having that piece of paper. It makes things easier in a lot of ways, and if either of you ever ends up in the hospital or something, not being married could cause all kinds of headaches. I never changed my name when Andy and I got married, but I plan on having a copy of our marriage certificate for traveling to places where it might be a problem. I’ve heard of hotels in certain muslim countries not letting unmarried couples share a room, and if your last names don’t match they don’t necessarily believe you’re married. Having that piece of paper helps, even if it’s something you don’t feel you guys need in the less practical sense.

    If you do get married, you’ll have to figure out how and where now that you’re not living in Canada! That’s the real headache!
    Ali recently posted..Introducing Beyond Vacation

    • Gillian Says:

      That’s true Ali, it’s as much about ease of travel as it is about recognizing their customs. No need to make things harder than they need to be!

      We’ve done a bit of research and it would be possible to get married here in Thailand. We’d have to get some papers from home but we could manage it all from here.

  5. Jana Says:

    WeI already bought your gift, and they are being delivered tomorrow; we are in fact “storing” them with your other stuff, just a floor higher, and we might use them once or twice;) I’ll send pics!

    • Gillian Says:

      I’m intrigued! You’ve had a long time to think of a gift so I’m sure it will be perfect…and, from the sounds of it, well worn in by the time we get back! I’ll keep you updated :)

  6. Rachelle Says:

    Life is all about second chances … take that “Giant Step!” I think you’re wiser and more prepared for it this time around.

    Have you read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Committed?” It’s really different from Eat, Pray, Love and includes a lot of research and observations about marriage around the world. She was completely against getting married again, but was forced to face the decision when her beloved was departed from the US due to a VISA issue.

    It’s a good read :)
    Rachelle recently posted..Sunrise From The Sky Over The Atlantic Ocean

  7. Dianne White Says:

    What ever you both decide is right for you. I got married to emigrate to Canada, because a marriage certificate was need, I never did regret the marriage. Gretna Green is world famous and we lived 2 minutes away, that was my bragging rights. Duffy will still and always be you name, you don’t have to take Jason’s name…. You Mom and I will have a glass of something to celebrate you both if you don’t get hitched in Campbell River. Love reading about your adventures!! Keep up the great work. Hugs to both

  8. Jan Galenza Says:

    Hi Gillian,
    Hope you remember me…I do enjoy traveling vicariously with you and your links..rather inspiring!!
    I would like to add to this discussion by offering another option. As you may know, I worked in Riyadh for a while, and a lot of unmarried couples (which are illegal there) had fake marriage licenses, which are quite easy to come by…with a pair of rings!!!
    I look forward to further news.
    Cheers Jan

    • Gillian Says:

      Hi Jan, of course I remember you! Thanks for the kind words. I hadn’t thought of fake marriage certificates and, of course, we are in the land of getting anything you want created…

  9. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) Says:

    As many others have already said, you can get officially, legally married without having all the pomp & circumstance that you dislike. Your relationship with Jason is already secure and sound, and a piece of paper won’t change anything between the two of you, but may make your life a whole lot easier!

    It sounds like you have a very fixed notion of what a marriage symbolizes, or at least what the ceremony does… but in the end, weddings are not important, it’s the relationship behind them that is key. Weddings are one day, marriages for much longer (unless you’re Britney Spears!). By all accounts you were married in the eyes of Canada anyway, so it’s just one small step to make it so that the rest of the world acknowledges your relationship too.

    For what it’s worth, when Tony & I got married, we had already been living together for quite some time. I found it was a much bigger change to our relationship when we moved in than when we got married… then it was just weird to start calling him my husband! That was pretty much the ONLY thing that changed for us. I have a feeling that if you and Jason go ahead and make it official, you’ll find the same is true for you too! ;)
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..When Three Weeks is Not Enough

    • Gillian Says:

      Yes, I don’t expect that being legally married will change much at all. We live a shared, and married, life now; it’s just not official. We’ve been lucky to live in a place that accepts it and we are more than willing to make it official so that we can be accepted wherever we live in the future.

  10. Mandy Says:

    Hi Gillian,

    Definitely will have to keep us posted. Perhaps a ‘wedding’ trip could be in JP’s and my future. You do know that there is a trip to Europe being discussed for a certain ladys 50th next year. Could be a time to celebrate!

    I don’t know f I ever told you this… JP and I lived in Mill Bay and then we got engaged. Most of our neighbours already thought we were married and wondered why we were getting married.

    I have no doubt that you and J will decide what is right for you.

    Thanks for the great posts, as always.

    Miss you.

    -Mandy

  11. Kim Says:

    Whoa! That’s kind of a big deal, though it sucks that you would be forced to get married (essentially) in order to be seen with Jason in the middle east. Lots wrong with that but, ahem, as you say you can’t fix that world problem at the moment. Still, I’d like to come to the wedding ;)
    Kim recently posted..A conversation on an Indian airplane

  12. Stephen S. Says:

    Hey Gillian I understand your views on getting married again. I come from a similar place, where I saw people repeat this endless cycle. You marry your high school sweet-heart, settle down and start a family; it doesn’t work out so you stat a new family. I think your views on getting remarried are awesome. I wish more people had them.

    It seems like this time around it would be a totally different thing, and while a part of reason you would be getting married was work related I say if your excited about the thought of getting married go for it.
    Stephen S. recently posted..Traveling Europe: Eurail VS. Busabout

  13. Glenda J Says:

    Great post… Karl and I both share your feelings on marriage #2 although we have discussed it (we may have shared those discussions with you. Co-owners of the house, no kids, no name change so no marriage for us. We are lucky though to live in Canada where we are recognized as married because I know there are lots of places that don’t (was shocked to hear about some US states not recognizing it when we crossed the border a couple of years ago). I think we would definitely consider it if we were in your situation. Thanks for sharing this with us… I really appreciate it. Keep us posted… know that if you do this, you are not compromising your values or ideals, just being pragmatic and practical. Miss you two… hope you are having a blast. Hugs… G
    Glenda J recently posted..It’s easy to be green… with a bit of sunshine

  14. Jenn Says:

    I just want you and J to get married so The Powells have the perfect justification to come to Thailand and witness this momentous occasion! I can even be your wedding planner! It would be the simplest event I would ever do…consisting of signing a marriage certificate and having many libations after ..(along of course with doing nothing :) …keep us posted. Happy to witness this totally unnecessary but kinda neat to see two of our besties hitched..

    • Gillian Says:

      You really are the best event planner ever! It sounds perfect. Now let’s hope that, if we decide, that there will be enough time for you to get here!

  15. Amy Alderson Says:

    Hi Guys

    Knew you’d think about coming over to the dark side eventually!

    Missing you lots

    Amy

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