This week two coworkers will get married. This will be the third of many weddings that I’m aware of happening this year– only one (my brother’s) of which I will have been a part of. The sad part is, the wedding this week will be no more than a formal event– a time for family to enjoy food, to get pictures and celebrate a union of two people who got it all backwards.
You see, that’s what the modern wedding has become. We now expect and even go so far as to encourage young teens to experiment and to engage in sexual activity. There was a time when we could expect a young lady of 18 to be chaste, saving herself for her husband. This is evidenced by the character Nancy Drew. There’s a new movie coming out, but in order to adapt it to our culture they had to find a thirteen year old:
In the classic series of books that peaked during the Eisenhower administration, Miss Drew was a young woman, either 16 or 18 years old, depending on the driving laws of the time. She had already stepped out of the pimply pool of seething neuroses that we call high school, and dwelled, unencumbered by a day job, in an orderly world where your housekeeper prepared the meals and tweedy new clothes were charged to your father’s account at the local department store. The old Nancy was so mature that the actress who portrayed her on television in the 1970s posed for Playboy. If the new Nancy Drew did that, child pornography laws would have been broken.
But that is no longer the case. In fact, it seems that more and more people are deciding that marriage is simply an option that they have– if they want it. Between laws that have been added to protect those outside of a marriage union (be it for homosexual couples or those simply cohabitating) and the spread of out-of-wedlock births, the attraction of a stable marriage relationship is waning. Our culture encourages us to trust only ourselves, look out for ourselves, and it is constantly reinforcing the idea that we do not need to be married to be happy.
It said the long-term fall in the popularity of marriage was continuing, with millions of couples choosing instead to live together and delay having a family. The figures, which cover 2005, the same year the new rules were brought in, show the number of weddings in England and Wales dropped by more than 28,000, from 273,070 to 244,710.
That means that the modern American wedding is simply a sham– something that is done out of formality if done at all. And that would bear out with the amount of money that is spent putting on a wedding. I mean, look at all the television programs glorifying everything from how he asks to the day itself. Rob at SayAnything catches some of this when he talks about how absurd the modern wedding has become:
Am I the only one who’s tired of weddings? Am I the only one who sees these over-blown ceremonies for what they really are? I’m not talking about the ideal of marriage, but rather the industry that has cropped up around that concept.
Think about it for a minute. A young man and a young woman fall in love. They’ve been dating for a long time and its becoming clear to both of them that they should take the next step. So what is that expected next step? An engagement ring, of course. And, of course, the fiancé-to-be won’t be expecting a run-of-the-mill ring. She’ll be expecting a ring of the “how else can six months salary last forever” variety. Why is she expecting that kind of a ring? Marketing, of course.
All their lives today’s women have been told to expect a fairytale wedding. They want huge rings and huge ceremonies. Forget that most young couples already have enough financial burdens what with most of them facing enormous student loans and credit pit-falls at every turn.
So, at a time when marriage means less, we’re putting more money into the ceremony to commemorate something that’s already happened (the couple that is living together and in some cases has a child together) instead of taking time to make the ceremony have real meaning.
We’re supposed to be celebrating the union of a man and a woman– making of two one. Not creating an excuse to blow a bunch of money on two people who have been playing house and now want to try to somehow get some kind of blessing on their own selfish actions.