Despite everything, I am six weeks married. The ‘everything’ is not the man. It’s marriage – an institution that I long hesitated to enter. For one thing, I didn’t understand what the state, the ultimate manifestation of the public, had to do with my private life. I considered a relationship a daily plebiscite, not a bond. If I were comfortable with sitting in one particular armchair for the rest of my life, why would I affix straps to the chair and ensure that I could not move? Could modern marriage be anything more than a romantic gesture, like the acquisition of a tattoo of the beloved one’s name, relatively easy to do but an expensive and embarrassing pain to get rid of? Was not the very idea of marriage, like many of its quasi-obligatory rituals, both retro and fictionalising – like the ending to a Victorian novel?
I answered these questions in my own way – but did not cease to be preoccupied by them as my wedding approached. I was working as literary consultant to Jed Mercurio for the recent BBC One adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a novel that had no illusions about marriage and fully endorsed Constance in asking for a divorce