Something weird happened to me a couple of weeks ago: I unwittingly joined a secret club that I didn’t even know existed. Of course, it comes as no surprise that married people radiate smugness, spending their free time blithely placing a hand on their partner’s leg while asking when your other half is going to “pop the question”. But what I didn’t realise, was just how deep it goes, and what really happens when you join the ranks of the smug marrieds…
It turns out that the real reason people get married is because it allows them the chance to be entirely open about just how happy they are. When you’re dating someone, the last thing you’d ever dream of saying is “isn’t having a boyfriend great?! I don’t have to wake up alone anymore! I never have to worry about what to do on a Friday night – ever again!” And yet, as soon as marrieds found out about my newly acquired marital status, the first thing out of their mouths was “isn’t being married brilliant?!”
Now, unless you’re one of those faintly alarming people who really believes your relationship is different once you’ve tied the knot* (if you weren’t both committed before, then a wedding ring is not going to fix the problem) you’ll know that being married isn’t any different to being in a long term, loving and committed relationship. So when people tell you that “being married is brilliant”, you know they’re speaking code. What they’re really saying is “someone loves me and I’m really, really chuffed about it. And I finally get to say it out loud!”
And that’s why married people always want their friends to get married, so they can use the code to spread the sanctioned smugness throughout their lives. And why not, I say? After all, being married is brilliant.
Go on, fess up married people – what do you really mean when you say “being married is great”?
*I once received a lecture about how I should get married off a beautician who was giving me a relaxing facial. She told me that once you get married you just “exhale”. Taken literally it implies that she’d been hoping he wouldn’t notice her pot belly if she kept breathing in but she could now “let herself go”; taken figuratively, it implies that she didn’t actually trust him before, but now she’d snared him she could stop worrying that he might leave her. Either way it scared me.
[This column previously appeared on Women’s site www.dollymix.tv)