“I think that since we have to renew our driver’s license every five years, we should have to renew our marriage license every five years”, or something equally clever came from a man at the counter.
Engaged in the very serious act of vehicle licensing changes and drivers’ license transfers from BC to NS, my beloved and I looked at each other, giggling.
He was a little older, and his voice resonated from one end of the counter to the other. The more we stood and stared at each other the larger our grins grew. Wouldn’t that be something? It’s like renewing your vows, in a bureaucratic sort of way. There could even be a small fee, and if you never divorced you could get a refund after 50 years.
Imagine, every five years you would seriously and intentionally have to go to a government agency to say “yes”, we are still in a committed relationship. It may give rise to conversation around “are we?”, “do we”, “will we?”, and various other questions that may pop up as each couple very publicly reconfirm their marriage is still valid and valued. I imagine some couples would find it difficult to find time to go together during business hours to invest in the process of saying “yes, we are renewing our marriage”.
Well, we renew other things, so why not marriages? Everything else seems to require continued validation: driver’s licenses, wills, insurances, registry for guns, alumni status, memberships to service clubs, professional member organizations, book clubs, fan clubs, fitness clubs and even non-profit societies which collect membership fees (annual or otherwise). Whew!
Even with the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation we annually measure the commitment of our donors by asking “will you partner with us this year by providing volunteer time and/or a donation?” It is a marriage of sorts, a process of giving and receiving in a mutually beneficial way. We feel connected, part of something larger; we feel a sense of belonging. Shouldn’t marriages continue to be that synergistic and mutually beneficial – providing us with a sense of belonging? Ah yes, but I doubt a five year marriage register will make it so.