Doing It Rite

How do you flip the switch from cohabitation to wedded bliss? A ritual bath is a good place to start.

BY: Holly J. Lebowitz

I was in a taxicab the other day, and somehow it came up that I was a newlywed. The driver got very excited and launched into an impassioned monologue about how wonderful marriage is. His broken English put it simply:

"If you're not married, you're bad."

Well, I responded when he paused, it's not that you're bad if you're not married; it's just that your life is different.

In a way, this was a surprising answer from me, since I'd dated my now-husband for seven years and lived with him for two before we married last October. The door we walked through as newlyweds led into the same home that it had led into when we were just boyfriend-girlfriend, we kept our jobs, and professionally I've kept my name.

But what we've discovered is that the things that change between a two people when they get married are ineffable. Inadequately put, changes include the tiny thrill of referring to "my husband," the look of joyful amazement that we shared on our wedding day, the things we say to each other as we fall asleep.

The physical trappings of our life together, and much of the emotional content of our relationship, were things that we didn't want to change--this was precisely why we'd decided to get married. We looked to our wedding day as a celebration of our love as it was.

But as we planned our ceremony and reception, we wondered, how could we imbue separateness into something that we wanted to celebrate?

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