I'm recently engaged. I blew all of my rent money, hid the little shiny in my back pocket, hoisted up both my balls and proposed successfully the last night of 2012. The ring doesn't fit quite right and the wedding won't be for another year or two, but none of that really matters after that elusive "yes." Telling the family, doing the corny newsletter, the glory of conquest and all that is still a persistent buzz, but over the past few months I've discovered a pile of unforeseen bonuses to this new development, and every one of them is just splendid.
Staking your Claim
As a former long-term, long-distance boyfriend-turned-betrothed, there's one immediately rewarding aspect of diving head-first into the deep end:
Securing your gal.
Not only does it consolidate the mutual trust and splendor of your commitment, it also wards away swarthy interlopers. Two birds with one stone so to speak.
You know that gut-busting swirl of seething rage that you stifle whenever she messages you via Skype that she'll be spending a night in a sketchy bar in Grenada with a harem of handsome med-students for a post-examination gong-show rave? I do, and it sucks. It's not that I don't trust her in those situations, it's that I don't trust other men because I wouldn't blame them if they tried to steal her away. She's *$#*%! awesome.
However, now that I've put the engagement ring on her finger I've established the first line of defense against the advancing phalanx of wannabe suitors. The wedding band itself not only serves to secure your commitment to the love of your life, but also to deter aspiring Romeos at home and abroad, so you can breathe a little easier when you're not there with her.
It may not be for everyone, but I for one cannot wait to have kids. A swarm of little Tylers terrorizing the household seems like a terrible, awful idea, but being able to unleash that swarm on the public sends shivers up my spine, in a good way. I can't wait to impart the wisdom I've gained over the years via t-ball practices and water fights on the front lawn. I always want to have water fights on the front lawn, but nobody ever answers my RSVP anymore. Having a kid allows the parent be a kid again in so many ways, and I can't wait to show them how to tie their shoes, fend off bullies and drop a shot from the free-throw line like Shaq never could. The point is I'm incredibly happy to have found someone who I respect and trust and love so much that to bring a child into this world with her can be nothing but stupendous.
Awesome Sex Forever
That pretty much sums it up right there. To be 100 percent honest I don't know if I would ever consider marriage if the sex was less than fantastic. Making woopi can be the ultimate tool in developing and nurturing intimacy, and when the connectedness of an enlightening conversation over a game of crazy eights can coincide with a night of mind-boggling sex, it's a good sign. I'm not saying that sex holds a trump card over the rest of the relationship, but finding someone who can engage you in meaningful conversation, inspire you to do better things and make your legs go numb every night is a very potent combination.
Women in the workplace was the best thing to ever happen to men. I'm not being facetious. As I approach the baby-making phase of my life and start thinking about paying for a kid to eat, shit, wear clothes, grow out of them, get new clothes, go to some bogus art college, drop out and borrow money from me, the same way I did, I truly, truly appreciate the stability of a second income, especially since there's more than one of them on the agenda.
It's beautiful: If one of my wife's contracts runs up and she's scrambling to find work, I can hold the fort until she lines something up. Likewise, if I'm fired for my conduct at the Christmas party, hopefully she'll be sympathetic and hold me over until I land a job somewhere more open-minded.
All in all, it's important to remember that there's a huge asset in having a double income, so spending some dough on a bouquet, a decent dinner and a night at the movies hardly casts a shadow on the benefits of your gal bringing home the bacon.
Few men wistfully fantasize about the sun-dappled majesty of their wedding day, and I certainly haven't. Still, the prospect of reigning in my old family, my new family and all of my best friends in the same place for a day seems like a hell of a good time. All of the people I value in my life coming together, praising our happiness and getting half-cut on house wine seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I'm looking forward to the day. I keep having visions of my century-old grandmother toasting to a roaring crowd of rowdy hooligans while a Franken-band of pals playing gypsy-disco covers rolls along in the backdrop. That and it gives both sides of our family a chance to mingle in what is probably the most conducive environs for a good family bond in the future. Not to mention the fact that on that day I get to honour my promise and lavish in the fact that I have just cemented a relationship with the greatest woman on earth. That's a plus.
Below, Tyler and his beloved. Photo by Rob McKay