Oliver Duff

i Editor's Letter: To have and to hold...

 

Share

 

What, I asked one of i’s columnists, is the main difference between being engaged and married? “You don’t have to plan a wedding any more!” he laughed.

It’s often said that long cohabitation before marriage, as is the norm, means that couples who wed have already had those meaningful discussions about children, joint bank accounts and who gets to choose the colour scheme for the bathroom.

That’s not always the case, though. Ahead of our (Church of England) nuptials this Saturday, our vicar lent us a book, Growing Together: A Guide for Couples Getting Married. Written by a clergyman, it is as much a title for people of little or no faith, and the most thought-provoking I’ve had time to read for some while.

It compels you to confront issues otherwise tempting to dodge, and poses dozens of questions without claiming to offer many answers.

Is it OK to have secrets? Where do you dream you will be in five, 10, 25 years? How would you feel if you were told that your child was going to be born with a disability? Do you make enough time for your friends? What things do you want to do separately, and together? What do you avoid discussing? How do you feel about having debts? What are your fears, and hopes, for the future?

Being forced to think and talk about such profound questions can be awkward but help relationships grow. Under proposals apparently being considered by Labour, every adult in Britain would be offered free marriage guidance counselling if their relationship runs into trouble. The idea is well-intentioned, but there is greater need for the money elsewhere, and I doubt that Labour will plump for it as policy.

The principle, though, is sound. I like those lines from TS Eliot: We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.

i@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Investigo: management accountant

£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

An all-female cast has been announced, and suddenly I am excited about Ghostbusters 3

Matthew James
Katie Price is due to divorce second husband Alex Reid today  

Lay off Katie Price – she’s entitled to state help for her disabled son

Rosie Millard
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore