I perform weddings… as a licensed officiate; I don’t perform a wedding like a child in his bedroom using teddy bears and creepy porcelain dolls as the in-laws. I perform weddings as the pastor and I really enjoy doing this. There’s something magical about seeing the bride come down the aisle and seeing the groom well up with excitement. At the same time I can’t help but wonder why anyone would get married? I’ve been dating my girlfriend for 7 years now… yes, 7 years… and whenever we see people we haven’t seen in awhile the first thing they say is: “When are you getting married?” I can’t get married because, if I did, I’d lose this badgering and judgement, and why would I want that? It’s soooo good. I really enjoy a question being asked so casually when it’s actually a very intimate and personal question. This puts me in the position where I have to try not to respond like a jerk, which I really want to do. My favourite response is to say: “One step at a time. I’m still trying to work up the courage to tell her I’m gay.” This is awesome because for a second or two the person doesn’t realize I’m joking. I can see the conflict in their eyes: “I knew you were,” but at the same time they’re thinking why would I say that in front of my girlfriend?
Truth be told, someone asking you when you’re getting married when you’re not engaged is a magical question because clearly… they’re stupid. When are you getting married is the question you can only ask if you know someone is engaged: “You’re engaged? Awesome. When is the big day?” That makes sense. If I’m not engaged and someone asks me when am I getting married… um… I don’t think we have a date yet. That’s missing a step. No one is going to be in the middle of a wedding ceremony and suddenly yell: “Wait, we can’t do this yet. I forgot to propose! We picked a date, but forgot the first step of getting engaged.” The wedding date is chosen after the proposal. Part of me wants to give this person a date and a tagline: “We’re actually getting married next week. We only invited people we like… sorry.” Or maybe my girlfriend and I could have a fake proposal plan: “Oh shoot, that’s what I’ve been meaning to do, get engaged. Thanks for reminding me; (said casually) Honey, will you marry me?” I think that’d be sarcastic enough to give the point that I’m not impressed.
To be honest, part of me wants to do fake proposals in very public places where the girl shoots me down: (girl) “How could you do this to me? We were only supposed to be using each other!” or, “How many times do I have tell you? I won’t marry my cousin.” This is the kind of thing that would give people some sweet stories for the work water cooler: “I was at the movie theater and before it started this guy proposed and got shot down. He kept crying all through the movie. It was awesome.” I want to do this largely because years ago I was at a Toronto Raptors’ game and during the halftime show a guy proposed to a girl in the middle of the court and she shot him down. It was a big production where they were supposed to be competing at a shooting contest that he had rigged in order to propose to her in front of everyone. Later in the game the jumbo-tron showed him sitting by himself… it was fantastic. That was the highlight of the game for everyone… except for the couple. The question I wanted to ask him was after getting shot down why did you stay? How much do you love basketball over your partner? Why aren’t you with her trying to work things out? “Go Raptors! My life is ruined… Score! I won’t be…”
2 weeks ago I pointed out the importance of finding the positive in every situation. The positive in this question is that people who ask this likely see us as happy and a couple who are well suited. Thus, this question is a lot better than: “Why are you still with him?” That would stink… trust me it does… yes, I’ve had that happen too. My girlfriend had a co-worker try setting up a date for her and another guy. This woman’s reasoning was: “He should’ve put a ring on it.” Really? You’re taking relationship advice from Beyonce? At least being asked when am I getting married is better than this. Plus, it’s essentially a compliment… but one I’m not sure is completely true. When some people ask this I think it’s more in the sense of you look so happy; you need to get married and end that. I’m not happy why should you be?
I’m not sure why there is such pressure for people to move to the so-called next level, but these seem to be the go-to questions for people to use during small talk. If you want to be a loving person – the kind of person Jesus calls us to be – I recommend that you avoid these 3 typical questions:
- When are you getting married?
- When are you having kids?
- When are you buying your burial plots?
I don’t hear the last one very much, but I don’t hang out with seniors very often so I can only guess it’s a typical question. These questions are not meant to be casual or used in small talk. The answers are usually much more complicated than a simple fluff answer, which is what should be used to respond in casual conversations. For instance, asking when are you going to have kids can be very painful because the couple may be trying and not having luck. Perhaps they had a miscarriage or they have to deal with a family tragedy before they can try. Thus, we need to think twice before asking certain questions.
Instead of asking these 3 questions, to start a conversation I recommend saying a compliment like: “I like your shirt.” This will often lead to further conversation, but if it doesn’t follow it up with: “Where’d you get it?” Other great things to compliment: “Nice shoes,” “I like your earrings,” “You have really nice shiny hair,” or “I love how you let your nose hair grow out your nose like a bouquet.” Okay, maybe not the last one, but I think you get the point. It’s just simple little things that you can say that can help build conversation.
This week may you discover better things to say when starting small talk or when you greet someone than things like ‘when are you getting married?’ or ‘when are you going to start having kids?’
Rev Chad David, Emotional Sex, emotional tune up