On Love: The meaning of marriage
A personal Hasselblad portrait project by Reni
Katrin: I'm 32
Matthew: I'm 5.5, 6 months older than you.
Katrin: You love being older than me.
Matthew: Well okay, I know we’re the same age.
Katrin: No you love being older.
Matthew: I’m going to be older than you again in September.
Matthew: So how's it different? After making the step and actually been married, how's it different from anyone being in a committed relationship? I don't know, because ultimately what is marriage? In my opinion, it is the commitment that people make.
Katrin: It's naming it in quite an official way.
Matthew: It's a verbal agreement, it's a contract. It's a thing that you declare, but something quite profound happens when you do that in front of each other. You make that same commitment in front of an almighty, a God and then your closest family and friends and then you actually put it in front of the law as well. It's almost like a reference to go back to. Like the ceremony, you did something that other people witnessed and it kind of makes you accountable in a way. I don't know... When you do something and you share it with other people it almost makes it more real.
Katrin: Yes like you planted something in the ground and you go back to it.
Matthew: It's the thing that you do and other people saw that. Other people almost remind you of that. There is something amazing, and I don't know what it is, you could call it sacred, you could call it some sort of spiritual...
Katrin: You could call it blessing
Matthew: ...profoundness, you feel covered in some sort of other reassurance of security. Once it happened it's not some magic thing that now you are committed and it's done. You still have got to live out that commitment. That's the real work of marriage.
Reni: Did you have a vision marriage would be different?
Katrin: No, I thought it would be the same, and I thought the ceremony to honor that decision was very important but I didn't think it would be a big difference between before and after. And yet there is a very nice new layer of something. I still kind of think of it as mystical.
Matthew: I felt like my best self on that day. I don't know what it was. I felt just so at peace and I felt like my best self. I even said that to you.
Katrin: That's still my favourite thing about our wedding, you saying that. I was like wow.
Matthew: I think when you put it out there, you are opening yourself, and you are pledging to other people that you are going to treat each other well and it's a constant reminder of 'I did that'... But it's like I promise, promise, promise. We always break promises. So things fall apart. It's not to say that it doesn't, because people do end it. I know, because my parents ended in divorce. So I know that it's not final but I think for me.... I think we've done a lot of work before and we kind of understood each other and we didn't go with unrealistic expectations and we didn't think that suddenly marriage is going to be this perfect happy ending, happily ever after love story. This is the start. I think we're quite clear that this is actually where through the mess of life, at least you're together. And we formed this bond and you have this person on now you've created your own new tribe.
Katrin: Yes, that was very nice to do.
Katrin & Matthew, both 32, have been married since February 23rd, 2013