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‘Penny Lane’ is not enough to keep you together

December 18, 2012

I went to my friend’s wedding the other day. The groom is a Christian and the bride is Jewish.

The wedding was conducted by both a Minister and a Rabbi. The Rabbi was hilarious, he was so funny; every second line was a gag and there was non-stop laughter all the way through.  He was funnier than a lot of comedians I’ve seen, but then being Jewish, there was bound to be humour.

It was the most fun and most memorable wedding I’ve been to for a very long time. The brides’ mother turned to me and said, “You have no idea how happy I am that this is actually happening”. When my friend first told me she was getting married she said, “Mum’s disappointed because he’s not Jewish but I’m 37 so the fact that I’m getting married at all overrides that disappointment”.

Indeed, the mother was the happiest of all the guests. My friend could have been marrying a one legged convict on the run, and there still would have been a sense of elation. The Rabbi announced at the beginning of the ceremony that it was an unusual wedding, because two religious leaders were present. Personally, I thought what was more unusual was the amount of laughter and fun.

I’ve been to some weddings, which could have passed for funerals. People getting married because they feel they should be, or because, “Well, he was the best I could find and time’s getting on”, “I want to have a child and he’d make a good sperm donor”, “My mum likes him”.

My friend told me, “The reason I’m getting married is because I love him. He’s a very kind person”.

The Rabbi said, “The reason one should get married, is not because you think, “This is the person I have to be with, but because you think this is the person I can’t do without”.

My friends are not exactly young, they are both successful, they know what they’re doing, and I was pleased neither of them got married out of desperation (as far as I know). What’s great is that my friends’ mother didn’t drag a man from a bus stop and force him to marry her. So, it was a very joyous wedding, she smiled and laughed all the way through and he looked relieved and ready for retirement.

What I loved most was the fact that they are both of different religions, he is a practicing Christian and she is very culturally Jewish but it was never an issue. It was almost never even discussed. They never let their personal beliefs get in the way of: we like each other, we love each other, he’s rich, let’s get married.

It’s crazy that people still go out of their way, spending their whole life looking for someone to marry who is of exactly the same religion, same class, same height, same bank balance, even from the same village. Then they’ll wake up one day and think, ‘I don’t even like the look of you never mind love you, but at least we both like The Beatles’.

But ‘Penny Lane’ is not enough to keep you together for 50 years.

But then again, we could look at our parent’s generation, some of them didn’t know each other at all, some met on their wedding day, some hated each other before they’d even met, and have still been together for 50 years. So why can’t we do the same?

Because we have choice, and freedom, and an education of life they probably never had. We don’t have the restrictions that they had, we know too much and we know better.

My friends who married, have travelled, studied at the best institutions, have great jobs, money, a wide variety of friends and have had other boyfriends/ girlfriends. Why would they want to marry someone from the same village as them? Their minds wouldn’t match; they’d get bored after a while and start having sex with the neighbors, or burying each other under the patio. Things you see in horror movies or read in trashy magazines.

I think it’s all a lot simpler than we make it.

Maybe it’s true. All you need is love.


The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.


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