AE 457 – WWP: Let’s Talk About Marriage in Australia, because… I Got Engaged!
What is going on, guys? Welcome to this episode of Walking with Pete. I have just left the house, walking along the streets here, trying to stay off the main road this time so that the traffic noise isn’t too loud and distracting for you, guys.
But I’m heading off to the shops for my daily walk. Time to get some coffee, time to get out of the house and stretch my legs, get a bit of exercise, as usual. I’m probably almost out of breath trying to talk and walk as fast as I do. So, maybe I should slow down.
Anyway, today I have a pretty cool message for you guys, a pretty cool announcement, as you will have probably worked out or figured out from the title. I am now engaged. I’m engaged to be married. So, yeah, Kel and I got engaged a few days ago, and it wasn’t a very romantic engagement, because I think most people, in western society, have this idea in their head that the stereotypical engagement is that man goes away, buys a ring, an engagement ring, which tends to be a ring with a very big crystal, usually a diamond, on the ring, and then surprises the lady, usually with some kind of romantic outing. You know, you go to a restaurant or maybe you go sightseeing or to some beautiful location, you know, to a lake or in the mountains, to a beach, and then the man is usually expected to surprise the woman by getting down on one knee and presenting the ring and saying the phrase, “Will you marry me?”.
Anyway. That is not what happened. It was kind of a little bit lackluster. It wasn’t very… wasn’t an amazing story, but I thought I would share it with you guys anyway, because I’m sure you’re curious and I’m sure you’re interested in… some of you re probably interested in talking about, you know, engagements or weddings, and learning that kind of vocab and those kinds of expressions. So, it’s a good excuse for a Walking with Pete episode, obviously.
Alright, so what happened? So, Kel and I… Kel and I have a really really good relationship. We’re very open. We are very honest with one another. We talk pretty much every day about our feelings, about our plans, about our roles in the relationship, you know, it’s just each of us is an open book when it comes to discussing, you know, when we’re angry, when we’re upset, when we’re sad, when we’re happy, when we want things done differently, when someone’s irritated at the other person. We tend to be able to talk about these things deeply and then thoroughly pretty quickly if they if they arrive. You know, there isn’t a lot of resentment or anger or anything like that that builds up. And so, as a result of this, we also talk about what we want in the future with each other. And so, we had made dinner, (I) think we’d cooked up some pork sausages and were eating some rice and some veggies with that, sat down at the table and because we’re both in our 30s now, Kel’s 30 and I’m 31, we need to start worrying about having children, you know, it needs to be something that’s up for discussion, because the older you get, especially obviously if you’re a woman, the older you get the harder it can be to have children. And so, you kind of need to at least have a plan, right? Like, once you get to your 30s, you’ve got about 10-15 years left, and the chances of having difficulties significantly increase as you go through those years. And so, anyway, it’s been a topic, and it was funny because originally when Kel and I got together, she had come out of a relationship with someone else and they’d never planned to have kids, and Kel was very, “I don’t want children. I’m not… I don’t think I’d be a good mother.”. All of that sort of thought patterns in her head thinking about these things, and it was funny, within about three, four, definitely after six months, she had done a 180. She’d done a U-turn. She, had completely changed her mind and was definitely interested in having kids now. Probably, because I would bring it up quite a bit and berate her a little bit and talk about it quite a lot.
Anyway so, obviously the discussion would come up and once she had decided that she was like, “Yeah, okay, I’ll have kids eventually.”. Obviously, the next question is, “Well, when?”. And because Kel’s from Brazil, she’s not Australian, we have to figure out how that’s going to work, right? So, it’s a little more difficult if you just wing things, if you just improvise, you know, if we would have just potentially start trying to have a kid tomorrow. And so, we have to, as a result, try and sit down and discuss the timeline, discuss when we’re going to aim to have kids. Does she want to live in Australia? Does she want to be a permanent resident or a citizen in Australia?Does she want to travel? Does she want to see her family? Because all these things obviously have to be sorted out, especially, if you want to travel, if you want to go overseas, if we want to buy a house, if she wants to go and study, we have to work out our finances. So, me being somewhat of a pragmatist, someone who likes to have things organised and sort of sort it out before rushing into things, I mean… some things, right? I do rush into things from time to time. But me being that kind of personality, I would have these conversations with Kel pretty occasionally.
And okay. So, back to the story of getting engaged. We were sitting down at the table, talking about things as usual, and talking about her plan for children, and now she wants to have them as soon as possible effectively, which isn’t, you know, within weeks or months, but it’ll be in the next year and a half. And so, once we had sort of decided when that was going to happen, you know, in which month of which year, pretty much, we sort of had planned out when we were going to start trying, because we sort of, you know, don’t want to waste time, we want to get the ball moving, and we’re in Canberra at the moment, but we have to move back, or we don’t have to, but we want to move back after her contract is up at work. And so, we want to time the birth of the child be several months after her contract has ended.
And so, once we’d sort of figured that out we knew exactly which month to start in and that was when I was like, “Well, we should probably talk about marriage then too, right? Like, if we’ve decided in which month of which year we’re going to have kids or start having kids start trying to have children, then it probably makes sense to decide, do you want to get married? Do you not want to get married? When would you like to get married? What would you like to do when you get married? Do you want to save up a lot of money and buy a dress? Do you want to have a really huge wedding with a lot of people? Do you want your family from Brazil to come over to Australia? Do you want my family from Australia to go to Brazil? Where do you want to have the wedding? Do one of two of them?”.
And so, once those sort of questions started coming up, we were discussing it and we both agreed that it probably makes sense, for us at least, to get married. And then, as soon as that happened I said, “Well, I guess now it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. So, we might as well say were engaged, right? Are you my fiancée? Am I your fiancé? Are we engaged now?”. And she looked at me and was like, “I guess we are.”.
So, that was pretty much how it happened. That was pretty much how we got engaged. Very, very lackluster, not very romantic, but very pragmatic, very systematic, organized. But yeah, that’s how it happened.
But it is interesting. I guess, I want to talk a little bit about marriage in Australia and why what it’s like and why I’m going to get married to Kel, and how we planned to get married, I guess, so to give you guys a bit of an insight into what marriage is like in Australia.
Australia’s obviously, at least as far as I know, I think, I think it’s still, Christian majority. There’s probably a lot of atheists of which I’m definitely one. I mean, I’m an atheist in that I have no religion. I’m not really… I don’t practice any specific religion. So, for the most part, the stereotype of a wedding is a Christian wedding where you have… the woman gets a white dress, she has a white veil on, the groom wears a suit, usually a tuxedo, I think, usually, like a… can be different colors, but usually a dark coloured suit, and they will, I think, less and less often now, but back in the day, these… the couple would obviously get married in a church. If it’s a Christian marriage, you would usually get married in a church, which would involve the groom, and the groom’s party, the groomsmen, the other the other guys that are helping the groom on his day, the best man who is the prime and that helps the groom. And then, there’ll be a few other guys who are there for moral support in the small things. They tend to arrive earlier to their church, and they’re waiting there as the bride and the bride’s party, the bridesmaids and the maid of honour, the primary maid in the bride’s party, in the bridal party, will be bringing the bride to the church, and then she gets walked down the aisle to the groom by her father.
So, that’s sort of the traditional way. And then, you’ll have the… what would you call him? The priest? Or whoever the guy is at the church. You know, he’ll preside over the wedding, he’ll then, you know, say a few things, he’ll have the bride and groom say their vows, he’ll then say, “Do you take this woman to be your wife? Do you take this man to be your husband?”. And then, the… each of them will say, “I do. I do.”. And they have put rings on each other’s left hand, on the second finger, their wedding rings, by that point. And then, you’ll hear the expression, or the saying, “You may now kiss the bride.”. And then, everyone usually cheers. And that’s sort of standard western wedding.
But more and more these days, things are changing, because obviously Australia is becoming less and less of a religious country, like most western countries I feel, except for maybe the US, people now are using celebrants, which are not necessarily affiliated with any church in order to get married. So, they’ll use a celebrant to marry them. They will do it outdoors. They’ll do it at houses like families houses. They’ll set up ceremonies in certain places. There’s places you can go. Like, a friend’s wedding I went to last year was in the Dandenong Ranges and this is like a mountain range in Victoria where there’s all of these huge trees in these forests. It was really beautiful. It was outdoors. And they just had a, I guess, agnostic or atheist celebrant. Someone who’s not affiliated with any church who marries them. And so, that was a really good wedding, but that’s happening more and more and more.
So, I guess, coming back to Kel and I, and how we planned to get married, it’s probably going to be about as crazy, about as wild, about as romantic as the proposal, where I think we’re more interested in just seeing friends and having maybe a get together, some kind of party, and spending time with friends, and then just signing the papers and getting the rings, and that probably be it, a kind of, you know, small party with just friends and family, because to be honest, and I’m sure some of you guys probably understand that weddings can be frickin expensive, weddings can be really, really expensive. I’ve had friends who have had really wealthy families and their families end up spending, you know, tens of thousands of dollars on weddings. And I think Kel and I are both not really the kind of people who like spending a lot of money on things. We’re not very flashy. We don’t like showing off wealth or anything like that. Mostly because we don’t have any wealth.
But, so, I think we’re just keen to save as much money as possible through that kind of process or event of becoming married and spending the same, you know, time with friends and family, whether or not we spend a bit on food or something might be a different story. And I think part of the complexity there, or part of the reason we want to do that is too because our families are both on completely different continents. Obviously, Kel’s family is from Brazil and South America. My family is from Australia. And so, it would just be a nightmare or at least more complicated than it needs to be if each of us wanted to get our families together for a wedding or have a wedding with both of our families separately. Long story short, it would just costs a lot of money.
So, that is where we are currently at. So, we’re not sure when it’s going to be. We don’t know how it’s going to be, but it’ll probably be in the next year or so, I guess.
And so that’s the story, guys. That is the story. That is how I got engaged, and it’s funny, because it’s one of those situations where if you’d told me a year ago when I was single that this was going to be the way in which I would get engaged and then planned to get married, I would definitely not have believed.
Anyway so, I am getting close now to the cafe. I might go grab my coffee, guys. Thank you so much for hanging out. Thanks for listening. If you guys have an interesting story that you would like to share about how you got engaged or how you got married or even just about the different cultural practices of getting engaged or married in your country, then please, please let me know. Send me a message. Comment on this wherever you see it on the website, on Facebook, and let me know. So, you know, another excuse to use your English.
Anyway, that’s long enough, guys. I hope you have an amazing day. Get outside, do some exercise, and drink more coffee. And I’ll chat to you soon. See you, guys.