AOW A-Z of Getting Married – Y is for Yes

The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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Y is for Yes by Anna K, originally posted in June 2011 here.

I said “yes” in a park, on a tattered picnic blanket on the first day of autumn 2008. There was a ring. There was dappled sunlight. There was Mr K, looking nervous. There was a squirrel. I gave it approximately half a second of considered thought, burst into tears, and nodded like a maniac.

If I am brutally honest, (erm…I’ve never even said this out loud before), I don’t think that before I got married, I really, truly thought about what I was getting into. Yes, I knew it would mean living together forever, that it would mean pulling through the hard times, that there would be sacrifices. I wasn’t completely naïve. But I wilfully avoided sitting down and considering the real, heart-wrenching, “what do we do if this doesn’t work out?” questions.

I said yes because of a number of reasons. Because I loved my husband, because I couldn’t conceive of ever wanting to be with anyone else, because I admired his core values, because I knew we were compatible in our ambitions, because he’s never failed to make me laugh and I figured I could do with some of all of that, all of him, every single day for the rest of my life.

That seemed like enough for me. And so my “yes” came from a quick cost benefit analysis, a gut feeling, and a lot of love. I can’t fault that.

But the truth, the reality, is far darker and more complex than what flashed through my head on that autumn afternoon in Victoria Park .

The reality is, quite frankly, terrifying, if you think about it. (er…note to self, take more than 0.5 seconds to make Big Life Decisions in future). You have two separate human beings who have made a promise to stay together through whatever, and I mean whatever, life throws at you. It’s about two independent entities who have promised to be a team the very worst and twisted of what this life can offer. It’s about promising “no matter how much I change, I will still put you first”, and it’s about promising “no matter how much you change, I will do my very best to be what you need me to be”.

I have never, ever doubted that marrying my husband was the right thing to do. But similarly, I’ve always believed in the capacity of people to change, in their capacity to love widely and much, in their capacity to make mistakes, and also in their capacity to not need in fifteen years what they need now.

And how do you reconcile that with promising to stay together with one person, forever?

I guess what I’m saying is; there’s a widespread belief that married people have got it sorted. That they know something everyone else doesn’t. That they’ve figured out the holy grail of How To Make A Marriage Work.

Newsflash!: We haven’t. We haven’t got a ruddy clue.

Married people don’t know better. They’re still groping through the dark, trying to figure out how to navigate a tiny two-person boat through the stormy waters of life, same as anyone else.

The difference is, they are willing to jump, both feet in. The difference is, they believe in their capacity, and that of the person they married, to overcome , to bat back whatever hardballs life throws at them, to handle it when the perfection becomes imperfection, and when the magic turns sour. They have said I want, I can, I will put this marriage first, even when it’s the last thing I want to do, and even when I’m sure I can’t.

And to me, that’s what marriage is. It’s not a happily ever after, it’s not a fairytale, and it’s not a pre-defined script. It’s one huge jump, in which you grab the hand of someone who is worth the risk, and you do not let go.

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
10 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I have sent this to Dan. Thanks Anna. I hope we can never give up.

  2. Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I identify with this so much Anna. Thanks for sharing it again xx

  3. Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    On a slight tangent, I love that photo as a) you and Mr K look lovely and b) Mr H and I walked that same beach in Malaysia on our honeymoon (we also stayed in the same hotel which was a coincidence, not a weird stalker move!).

    Wise words as always Mrs K xxx

  4. Mahj
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Honest, truthful and exactly how I feel. Thanks K.


  5. Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Oh wow, Anna, so beautiful, and so true.
    “… And to me, that’s what marriage is. It’s not a happily ever after, it’s not a fairytale, and it’s not a pre-defined script. It’s one huge jump, in which you grab the hand of someone who is worth the risk, and you do not let go.”

  6. Posted February 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t commented before but felt inspired to do so by this post. Like Amanda, I LOVE the last line. But I can’t help feeling a little bit overwhelmed and saddened by loving someone who, sticking to the metaphor, has let go of another’s hand before.

  7. Bex - Ginger Bee
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh Anna, this post is perfect. Its sums up all of my hopes dreams and fears! Marriage isn’t always easy but I NEVER want to let go of T’s hand. Thank you for sharing this! xx

  8. Posted February 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I remember reading this for the first time, a year before I was due to get married. I think it was the first thing I ever read about marriage that made Actual Sense to me, it doesn’t promise anything will be easy, it doesn’t care about the fluffy bits, it just completely encapsulates what marriage means to me, the reality of wanting to love someone forever despite the fear and the challenges. Anna, it was an amazing piece of writing to me then, and it remains so now. Thank you.

    On a side note, this was also the post that lead me to find AOW, so it definitely changed my life for the better. You all can blame Anna K for my presence now. Ha!

    K x

  9. Posted February 14, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Loved this the first time, find it has only improved with age (a la fine frocks, wines and cheeses) and still love the asda floral dress.

  10. Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    I think I missed this the first time as I’m sure I would remember such wise, wise words (I would have been in the last few weeks of wedding frenzy back then!)

    Anyway, it’s perfect. :)

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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