There is something I’ve tried not to write about in this column.
And I’ve thought long and hard about sharing this particular aspect of my life. I’ve set a certain expectation for myself when I come to this space, and I worry often about how people will react to some of the things I write about.
You see, I was taught as a child not to discuss politics or religion with people, and while 2017 makes it extremely difficult not to talk about the former, I generally keep the latter to myself.
But, we are planning a wedding here, and religion — in some form or another — always comes up.
I wouldn’t even be bringing this up if I hadn’t been rattled by something that happened recently while I was out with my mother.
We were out shopping when we ran into a family member of a neighbor who had just gotten married. In all the excitement of talking about weddings, this woman had asked me, “And you’re getting married at St. Thomas, right?”
St. Thomas is the parish I was baptized in. It’s the parish my mother was baptized in. She was married there, and watched all her children receive their sacraments in this church.
And no, I’m not getting married in St. Thomas, as you know.
In fact, I’m not being married by a priest, either. Religion is going to have as much to do with my wedding as it does with my everyday life: not a whole lot.
Which is fine with Mikey and I.
I thought it was fine with everyone until I caught a glimpse of my mother’s face while I was explaining to this woman where I was getting married.
“Are you okay?” I asked my mother as we continued shopping.
She wasn’t, she told me, but she was still going to support my decision.
That means a lot to me. I imagine it’s hard watching your child turn away from the religion you ingrained into her life from the moment she was born. I would argue I have a valid reason, and whether I’m trying to convince myself, my mother or the entire town of Archbald my reasoning is sound, the only way I know is through writing.
Like I said, St. Thomas is the parish I grew up in. There are two major marriages that happened in that church in my life — one I witnessed and one of which I am a result.
Neither of those marriages lasted.
Now, this is obviously not the fault of the church, but once Mikey and I got engaged, I was forced to reflect on the marriages that came before me and how I wanted to start my marriage.
I am going to ask at this point that you bear with me, as this is not a subject I speak about often.
My mother is a very devout woman. She grew up in the church, serves as the youth choir director, in which all four of her children participated. In fact, all Edmunds children, save yours truly, graduated from Sunday School.
You see, when I was a junior in high school, my parents split up. In a very non-devout way. My father had decided that after 25 years of marriage, a marriage that started on the altar of St. Thomas, that he was going to leave his wife for another woman.
And, no matter what age you are, a marriage that ends in one partner being unfaithful still rattles you to your core. It also makes you look at religion in a different light. At least it made me re-evaluate my relationship with religion.
To me, it was obvious that there was an apparent lack of respect on my father’s end for the religious sacrament of marriage and for his wife. I realize that life and marriage are more complicated than that, but when you cheat there is a very clear sense of right and wrong, and that is wrong.
So, if you can imagine, that cracked my relationship with religion quite a bit.
Shortly after this, my sister got married. She was respecting my parents’ wishes and getting married in St. Thomas, and would tell me the stories of the pre-marriage classes and how wives need to be submissive to their husbands and other ways women are supposed to act in their marriages, and that wasn’t something I could get on board with.
At this point, my siblings and I weren’t too keen on religion, and my sister’s husband was not at this point either. But they got married in a church six months after my father left.
I found out a few weeks before my own engagement that they were splitting up.
So, when faced with the inevitable question of where we would get married and who would marry us and what type of ceremony we would have, I took a step back and thought about my values and Mikey’s values and the way we wanted to start our married life: on our terms.
Reach Brigid Edmunds at 570-991-6113 or on Twitter @brigidedmunds.
Editor’s note: Brigid Edmunds is a reporter and paginator for the Times Leader and Weekender. When she’s not working, she’s busy planning her upcoming nuptials to fiance Mikey Lawrence.
If you’re a bride-to-be, recently got married or a vendor and would like to offer advice for brides, email her at [email protected]
Her column, The Prenuptial Project, will run twice a month in Weekender.