Did you receive an extra-sparkly gift under the Christmas tree this year? If so, congrats! One of my best friends just got engaged and I’m incredibly excited and looking forward to sharing in her joy as a member of the enfianced club.
However if you were to believe the majority of online essays from single friends about their newly engaged friends, you would imagine we were all soul sucking creatures devoid of any joy for someone else’s happiness. There is even a list of things not to say to your newly engaged friend- like don’t moan on about being single to her because this is her moment to shine, don’t tell her that her ring is shit and generally don’t rain on her fucking parade. Does this really need to be a list?? Do people need to be told not to be a dick and to be happy for their friend at this exciting time in their lives??
Nonetheless this letter is not only to celebrate this wonderful occasion but also to throw a lil glimmer of positivity into the shit show that is the “I’m single but my best friend just got engaged” brigade
Niamh, as this letter is going to be on the internet I want to share a little of the back story (But you already know this happened)…..
It was Christmas morning and I was completely wrecked tired. My makeup wasn’t co-operating and I had been up half the night pondering my existence (as one does). I was just getting up to leave when a message pinged into my phone. I opened it to find a picture of my lovely friend Niamh, in her pjs with a big grin on her face. She is possibly the cutest human on the planet with the most beautiful smiles, one of those smiles that instantly makes you happy. Under the picture was a message that read “I’m just going to leave this here”. Because I am on a different planet to most people I was a little lost for a minute until I spotted the most gorgeous sparkler on her left hand (in her defense this hand was held up beside her face but I was distracted by the pretty red manicure- like I said different planet)
Now in this situation most humans w0uld react with a “Congratulations” or an “Oh my god, that’s amazing” not me though, my instinctual response to my amazing friends brilliant news was
Yep cause that’s how we interact. My whole body started to shake and I was grinning from ear with excitement, I wanted to burst with happiness I was so thrilled for her. So much so that my body was incapable of holding so much joy that I burst into tears. Not an ordinary cry or even an elegant cry- a full on Kardashian cry! You’d think a Kardashian cry would ruin someones Christmas, but not mine. I was so full of joy, love and happiness that I think it was arguably one of the best Christmases I’ve had.
YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!
Ecstatic hardly begins to describe how I feel. Overjoyed? Over the moon? There aren’t enough shiny, happy words to describe how happy and excited I am for you. I feel like someone should bottle euphoria that permeates my heart every time I imagine you walking down the aisle (The dress, the hair, the makeup, the delicate touches that will make the wedding yours, not to mention how friggin cute you’re gonna look in your dress) and sell it because it’s magical stuff. I am well passed the point of any sane human reaction right now. I’m crying again typing this. We’ve both learned that not all friendships you create last but I am so proud to say that ours has.
You are the first person in my tiny inner circle to become engaged and to someone as wonderful as your beloved beau. I adore weddings, every tiny detail of them, the symbolism, the event, what they mean, the declaration of your love in front of those most dear to you and saying aloud Yeah, this one is the one for me and I want it to be forever.
Maybe that’s why I lose it every time the phrase “Niamh’s Engaged!” flashes through my mind. It’s like I have a new favorite film and you have the starring role.
Now, you and Niall are pretty committed already. You’ve lived together for some time, you’ve shared adventures and all kinds of trials and tribulations to match the great joys you’ve experienced and you are still standing strong as a couple. You make a fantastic team and frankly give me hope that such a love is possible. While it might seem in some ways that a marriage is both a practical means of making it official, and a symbol for affirming that pact, putting a ring on it means you are in for so much NEW joy that I’m sure is crazy to even imagine possible.
I’m guessing that most people will tell you gravely, “Yes, marriage means serious business.” And then they’ll probably bring up your age, the future children question, and ask where you’ll settle and will you combine the money you both earn or maintain separate finances, and then one of your friends will refer to your hen party as your “last night of freedom” as if you were after being handed a sentence – and those people do not require nor are they entitled to any kind of response from you. Why? Cause it’s none of their friggin business, your relationship was never their beeswax before nor should it be now.
Deciding to marry an individual is, in some ways, one of the last (major) decision you’ll make as an individual. Now all major resolutions will be reached by a committee of two. This doesn’t mean you’re losing your voice or your say. But it does mean an adjustment in identity.
You are legally bound to have each other’s back, and this is such a profound notion to me. Spouses who violate their vows are basically breaking the law. How often do singles navigating the dating world lament that breaking hearts is criminal? Guess what: Marriage makes it so.
How terrifyingly cool is that!
Being married is just like having a driver’s license: it puts you in the driver’s seat. Correction: it puts you BOTH in the driver’s seat. (It’s a tight squeeze, but who cares?) The weight of the world is no longer all on you. Equal weight! Equal responsibility! Equal everything! Two heads really are better than one because two heads means two problem-solving brains, four on-alert ears, four focused eyes, and two noses so that you have back up when you ask “Hey, is this milk gone off?”
Plenty of people wait to marry until much later in life, after they’ve accomplished numerous professional and personal goals. And others opt not to marry at all. All choices are valid and I’d support you (and all of my friends/ family) their choices because I know I would receive the same level of support and respect. While I may not ever find my person or marry I promise there will be a kick ass party to celebrate my awesomeness. None of this is to say that a committed relationship between two people that does not include marriage is an inferior one. Oh HELL No!
All of the amazing changes that are coming your way, changing your last name (if you choose to do so), triple-checking that your wedding ring is physically incapable of sliding off your finger, looking at Niall and being able to call him your husband! (And it is, at least partly, why I think it’s imperative that anyone in love who wants to be married should be free to get married, but that’s discussion for a different letter.)
I wish I had some groundbreaking marriage advice to impart, but I don’t. Mainly owing to the fact that I have been pretty much single the duration of our friendship. Moreover because I firmly believe you both know each other and your relationship better than anyone else on the planet and any attempt at advice would only seek to devalue your bond. You have already provided me with the greatest aspirational example without even realising it.
To you Niall, I say you have won over the heart of my best friend. You have won over my heart, and the hearts of all of her friends and family. We will give her away to you, knowing that you are going to marry one of the most wonderful women in the entire world. May you cherish her, the way we all have. May you love her the way we all have. May you overcome any challenge, your future faces. I don’t need to stand here and tell you everything wonderful about Niamh, because I know none of us would be standing here, if you didn’t already know all these things. To you sir, I say thank you. Thank you, for making my best friend’s dreams a reality. Thank you for giving her the fairytale she so very much deserves.
Niamh, you have the biggest heart of anyone I know. I admire your openness, your optimism, and your ability to keep things in perspective. When it’s raining, you see rainbows. On days that I find myself spiraling down a negative anxiety tailspin, I ask myself: What Would Niamh Say? Because no matter what horrendous shit I have happening I know you will be right there to help me get my perspective back in order and set me right on my path. Much like picking up a turtle and turning it around after it’s fallen on it’s back and can’t get up.
You live life with such beauty, joy and hope. You face adversities and you surmount them; you refuse to dwell on frustrations – you look them straight in the eye and you laugh.
I love how you smile through challenges, and how you share the goodness in your heart with all those around you. You inspire me to be a brave and loving person every single day- ok well on the days I’m not being a thundering c*nt.
Congratulations my amazing beautiful friend,I know you will rock at married life because everything you touch you make better has a touch of sparkle forever more.
PS Can we work this into the wedding??