Not on the same page

The New York Times arrives every Sunday. I madly rifle through all the sections in search of the only one that matters. Sunday Styles. And, it’s not even the entire section that I crave with the frenzy of a meth addict. My weekly fix is the marriage announcements.

I am fascinated by the marriage announcements. I love looking at the photos of these happy duos that cut across age, colour, and sexual orientation. I stare at their smiling faces, projecting the radiance of people in love, anticipating the next happy chapter in their lives. I love reading about where they met, their degrees, their pedigree and their plans.

But every so often there is a picture that stops me dead in my tracks. It is a picture of just one person. Not a couple, but a singleton.

I wish I could ask, “Hey, where’s your partner? Did they get the time of the photo shoot mixed up? Did they get called away on a last minute emergency? Are they in the Secret Service and can’t be identified for security reasons? Are they hideous looking?”

After all, this is not a grad photo, an obit profile, or an executive appointment. Nor is it a photo of a celebrity, politician or convicted felon. If this were the case, it would make perfect sense for the picture to include only the man or woman of the hour. But a marriage announcement is an entirely different thing. One expects to see two people.

I have a hypothesis. I believe these “singleton couples” have a higher divorce rate than the couples that pose together in the photos. It’s a hunch, but I wish someone would do a study to prove me right.

The whole point of marriage, if there is one, is to have someone by your side to ignite the best possibilities in life, and to extinguish the worst ones. It is putting your heads together – both literally and figuratively – to accomplish more “as two” than can ever be accomplished “as one”.

A marriage announcement is hugely symbolic. If one can’t get on the same page at this early stage of commitment, what does it foreshadow for marital success down the road?

Previous: Blue, pink and rainbow work
Next: Jessie’s Boy