When I got married, I made the speech that traditionally the groom makes. This isn’t so shocking in itself, but what surprised people more is that my husband didn’t make a speech at all. He (quite wisely) left all the talking to me. Did this bother me? Not even in the slightest. I made the speech because my husband’s greatest fear is public speaking. Whereas for me, it doesn’t remotely bother me. I’d even go as far to say that I quite enjoy it. Just because I don’t have a penis, why should I sit there silently and let my husband do all the talking? Equally, the sexism prevails that a man is automatically expected and pressured to make a speech, but if a woman doesn’t make a speech then nothing is thought of it. Therefore, there was no chance that I was going to make my husband stand up and do a speech, rendering him in panic mode for the duration of our ceremony and reception drinks afterwards, worrying incessantly about the job ahead of making a speech. Nope, it was his day too and he deserved to be relaxed and enjoy it all. As did I. People understood this, but some people still thought he should have made a speech regardless. They still thought he should have stood up and made his declaration of love for me for all to hear. Didn’t I want this on my wedding day? Nah, you’re all right mate. I’ll survive.
For me, I don’t need my man to stand up and announce to a room full of people “hey everyone, I like, really love this woman with all my heart. She’s quite fit ‘n’ all and makes a mean chilli too” (I do make a mean chilli, as it happens). All I want from a man, is to *know* that he loves me without the need for it to be verbally clarified.
You see, I’m not a woman that needs romantic gestures at all. In my twenties, I thought romance was important. I wanted to be spoiled and made to feel special. I wanted flowers, surprises and gifts that he’d given a great deal of thought to. Now in my forties, I see very little importance in it all.
Now, my husband does indeed buy me the odd treat (my favourite being when I was heavily pregnant and he brought home a Cadbury’s Creme Egg for me- I’m a simple woman) and don’t get me wrong, if a man wants to give me chocolate, I’m not going to throw it back in his face. I’m no idiot. Free chocolate is free chocolate. However, I don’t need and I don’t judge a relationship if one isn’t bestowed with gifts. For me, anyone can go into a shop, pull out money and buy flowers. Money spent and material objects are not love. I don’t need him to buy expensive jewellery to prove his love to me. A flash designer label handbag is not needed to make me feel loved.
For me, things that you cannot see or feel are love. I just need a man to be kind, to listen, to support me, encourage me, bring the best out in me. Who I know will always be my rock. Who I can rely on and whole heartedly trust. And I hope, I also provide these things to my husband in return. Chocolates, flowers and expensive gifts are inferior compared to these things.
I’d even go as far to say that I don’t need a man to say “I love you”. I’d much rather feel it, than hear it. Romantic platitudes have no soul for me. A profound connection with a man is everything. Romance is nothing, but two dimensional.
And when it comes to weddings, I certainly do not want to criticise anyone’s choice on how they want to spend their wedding day. It’s a very personal thing and what suits one couple won’t suit another. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed big, expensive weddings. They’re a lovey day out. And of course, you can have a huge wedding and still be a couple madly and genuinely in love. However, for me personally fancy table decorations, elaborate flower arrangements, wedding dresses that cost thousands of pounds and an engagement ring that costs 3 times your monthly salary (or whatever bollox that rule is) is not love. Long speeches about how much you love someone (whether it be on your wedding day, on Facebook or down the pub) is not love. The person making the speech about their love, may of course genuinely mean it and feel it, but it’s not imperative to a relationship or marriage in the slightest. Any fool can talk, any fool can spend money. Love does not cardinally prevail in these tokens. Love just is.