You may have heard that there’s going to be a wedding this Friday over in England, but in case you’ve had your head buried beneath a rock for the last 8 months or so, Kate Middleton will be wedding Prince William in some obscure abbey in in London in 2 days. Westminster I think it’s called.
As I was driving in to work yesterday, one of the presenters on a radio program announced that she’d just learned that she had been approved to go cover the wedding in the UK. This is turn sparked a more probing conversation about the nuptial of commoner and the prince, and what that ‘commoner’ (Kate) would be giving up to marry Will. The topic? Sacrifice; and more specifically the sacrifices Kate is and will be making. Furthermore, is there ever a point in time when she tried to make herself fall out of love with the prince, knowing what kind of life lay ahead of her if they did get married? (If she did, she clearly failed miserably – that or he’s so totally irresistible and the thought of living without never really firmly lodged itself in her psyche. I’m going with the latter.)
A whopping 87% of British women surveyed said that they did not envy Kate’s position as a royal bride because of the freedoms that will be stripped away from her and the looming pressures of a life in the public. The press will rip apart her every outfit, down to the soles of her shoes. Every word she utters will be analyzed, interpreted and reinterpreted. What she eats will be inspected. There are certain haunts she’ll never be able to return to. Her life will be protocol, protocol, and yet even more protocol.
Everybody gives up something…many things…when they get married. At the top of the list are the usual: Endless nights out with your buddies; spending money on whatever the heck you want; the novelty of disappearing for weeks on end only to reappear to inform everyone that you’ve been hanging with the Sherpas in Nepal; pick your poison. But what do you do when you’re devastatingly in love with someone knowing that they are from a different country/culture and may one day want to return? Or if they suddenly make a life style choice that you just can’t live with?
As Ghanaians, the risk we often face when we emigrate- even for the briefest periods of time- to America, the UK, etc is falling in love with (or impregnating or being impregnated by) a foreigner and suddenly finding ourselves stuck in an unforgiving labyrinth that can only be solved by logic and the discarding of emotion. Do you logically say: “I cannot marry this person because I know that they would be unwilling to move back to Africa with me” or “I cannot marry this person because I truly cannot bear the thought of being a pastor/politician/soldier’s wife” OR do you allow emotion to prevail and naively lean on the faith that love will conquer all?
Some of us do.
My husband married me knowing that I never had it as a plan to live forever in America, because I never minced words about it. His sacrifice is that he will have to move away from his family and his country, assumedly because he loves me just that much. And then that becomes the question: Do you love your spouse, or your potential spouse, enough to sacrifice significant portions of your life, your dreams and your personal ambition because their lifestyle or life choices eclipse your own by virtue of the sheer magnitude of them? Is ‘love’ truly enough?
Many of us would say yes, but we’re lying. We live in an age that teaches us that we must be fiercely independent, self-reliant and ambitious. Nothing in our culture extols self-sacrifice and painful compromise, which is what marriage is built on. After the white doves have been released and the euphoria and adrenaline of the wedding festivities have died down, you’re faced with your new spouse and a new reality that you didn’t bank on. Suddenly, 5 months down the road you find yourselves divorced, wondering where all the ‘love’ went.
That being said, I wish good luck to William and Kate…and you too if you find yourself in a similar ‘bind’.
So which team would you ideally find yourself on, Reader? A Fool for Love or a Champion for Logic and Self preservation? Do tell.