My Sweetie, J, and I went to the courthouse and got legalled, but it wasn't originally our plan at all. And even so, we're still going forward with our wedding. The impetus behind our legalling came upon us quite unexpectedly: I became aware of a scholarship available (enough to cover the tuition and fees for the rest of my time in school) to military spouses and, as a student scrimping and saving my way methodically through grad school, there is no question that extra funds would be most helpful. The catch: I wouldn't become a military spouse until after the deadline to apply for the scholarship had passed.
It took approximately five minutes of discussion with J to decide that I MUST apply for the scholarship and that WE WOULD be addressing my legal status straight away. I bought a dress, he bought a suit, I made a hat, and we made an appointment to be married by the judge at our local county courthouse with my mother and his best friend in attendance to witness. And there you have it. I am now officially a military spouse and therefore eligible for this wonderful opportunity!
As expected, having the ability to now apply for this scholarship is a wonderful thing. But something completely unexpected happened through this experience that I did not anticipate.
Before I get into that, however, I should explain that oftentimes I make life-altering decisions based on what I see as purely practical and commonsense reasoning. Need money for grad school? Scholarship available for military spouses? Solution: become a military spouse as fast as possible and apply.
[related-post align=”right”]This is the second marriage for both of us. We both went through fairly nasty divorces and we both were carrying a lot of anxiety along with us as we planned to marry again. Forget the fact that WE ARE A TEAM dammit and we LOVE our team. GO TEAM! And our puppies and kitties, and our house, and our quiet time in the evenings, and absolutely everything about our lives. We still, both, suffered from the lingering sense that we had once upon a time loved those things with our former spouses and things nevertheless went horribly, horribly wrong for us before. Our anxieties became the THE THING THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED.
Enter this scholarship. We both saw it as an eminently practical thing to do and so therefore, off to the courthouse we must go. But in the quiet hours and the dark in bed the night before, we held hands and we shared our anxieties, THE THING THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED…
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I'm sure. I want to marry you.”
I didn't sleep very much that night, and I got up quite early. I'd made an appointment to get my hair and makeup done, and while J slept, I snuck out of the house for coffee and a bagel before my appointment at the salon. When I got back to the house later, J was getting dressed. Normally, a retro-game-T-and-jeans-wearing kind of guy, all I can say is He. Looks. Amazing. in a suit.
He smiled hesitantly, and I smiled hesitantly back. I got dressed, and we drove to the courthouse.
In those moments when we raised our right hands and signed the marriage license, he didn't throw up and I didn't pass out or cry hysterically — though there were brief moments for both of us when we thought we might. Instead, we held hands before the judge, and our witnesses, and all the other couples gathered there that day, we grinned stupidly at each other, we spoke the very traditional vows prompted for us by the judge, and we got married. I married my teammate.
Here's the wonderful, unexpected part: In the aftermath of that day, the anxiety, the fear, THE THING THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED, has disappeared. Poof! Gone, for both of us.
There's a very good chance that our anxiety would have made our wedding, already a very stressful event for anyone, less than the amazing day we're planning it to be. Now, we know that we'll spend our wedding weekend having a blast with our family and friends.
Thank goodness for getting legalled.
Be sure to check out our very-much-related posts about Getting Weddinged (which is when you have a wedding-type event after getting legalled)