Although we're both staunch atheists - to the point where we consider the religious to actually be slightly unhinged - Moore and I have talked several times about the value of some of the traditions of the christian church in particular, or religions in general.

The first time we talked about it was after a christening. We've since been to a secular 'christening' and in fact Moore is a godless-mother to little Esme. In both cases, it made sense to us for the new birth to be celebrated, and for the child to be introduced to the people who are going to be part of it's life. Most religions contain something of the sort, and that's a good thing: it fulfils a basic human social role that is quite separate from its theoretical religious significance, which is apparently something about welcoming the child into the family of God... well, sod that, clearly.

There's one that Christians don't often do so much as some other religions: the coming of age. Although there is 'confirmation' in the C of E, it's fairly unusual these days. Many Jewish people still take their Bar Mitzvahs seriously, though, and I understand it's for girls too now. Islam has a parallel, and there's pagan precedents too, and no doubt others. It's a celebration of fertility, a celebration that you made it through childhood, and a symbolic transfer of adult responsibility. I think the modern British equivalent is taking them down the pub to get rat-arsed, and that seems absolutely fine and splendid to me too. Welcome to the real world, kid.

Similarly, Moore and I can both see the value of a funeral, remembrance service, or particularly the fabled (but probably non-existent) Irish-style wake. Remembering your dead friend, celebrating their memory with others who remember them, swapping stories and hopefully gaining some sort of closure. That's all good stuff. I've done something of the sort myself - thankfully only once or twice - and been grateful for it.

And there's one other formal celebration which almost all races, religions and creeds subscribe to. As old as the species, it declares that this person, this one here, is with me. We two publicly declare our love for each other, in front of our friends, family and peers, for all to see. We will live together, love each other, grow old together.

Reader, I married her.