Wedding articles are all over the interwebs. As we all know, anytime anything gets posted on the internet, commenters from all walks of life chime in — the funny ones, the haters, the self-righteous hacks, the MRAs, the sympathetic, the sarcastic, the passive-aggressive, etc.
But there is one trend that never escapes me: nearly all the wedding articles generate one version of this comment.
If what you are really obsessed about is an extravagant ceremony, a big ring, and keeping up with your girlfriends, I would tell [the groom], "Run away."
Ironically many people put enormous effort into the proposal and wedding then completely check out of the marriage itself which is the most important part.
I have also noticed that this condescending comment is always, always directed at women. In these discussions, men escape accusations of marrying for shallow, misguided, and attention-seeking reasons, and they're not lectured on the importance of marriage. (There's my micro-aggression for the day.)
It never ceases to amaze me how accepting we can be of the ridiculousness of this comment. Getting married for the "extravagant ceremony" is as wise as buying an Arbys just so you can eat a beef 'n cheddar whenever you want.
Although I have no doubt some people do strive for the "one special day" nonsense and nothing more, I highly doubt they would enter into a legally binding, permanent contract to get it. There's a more nuanced explanation for the complexities of modern marriage, and it has nothing to do with ice sculptures and Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians.
Not that long ago, marriage was an economic agreement brokered between two families. Expectations and guidelines were extremely straightforward and direct. Everyone knew his part and how to play it. There was little divorce because all parties knew what the deal was and society stigmatized it. In other words, no surprises.
Today, marriage has changed drastically, but humans are understandably slow to catch up. Given that we choose our spouses, that means we will bear some responsibility if the marriage fails. That's a lot of pressure even for the happiest of couples.
There are millions of resources on weddings and how to plan them. But the resources on how to be married aren't as numerous. To make things more complex, how to be married solely depends on the two individual, ever-changing halves of a couple, unexpected events, extended families, previous history, and what all that means when they come together.
Yet there's only one way to fold a swan napkin, and you know immediately if you've succeeded or failed. And if you fail, you're not going to hear, "You didn't try hard enough. Your generation sucks."
Is it any wonder that people gravitate and devote themselves towards empirical, undebatable knowledge as opposed to the ever-changing unknown?
People don't "check out" of marriage after the bouquet is tossed and the cake is gone. I have yet to meet or read a first person narrative from any individual who didn't think his marriage would last or an essay that confessed, "Hey now that the wedding is over, I'm done with this whole marriage thing." Seriously...does anyone ever actually say that?
Oh but the haters of all things overpriced, frilly, and white charge through these comments with their self-righteousness ablazin'. Always quick to think their opinion is original and unique, these commenters broadcast that consumerism is the devil's taint and "expose" the real motives of women they've never met.
I'm confused too because just a few days ago, I read that my gender had a million complicated emotions and dudes only think about boobs, beer, and sports. Yet when it comes to weddings, we ladies turn into this and nothing more:
I don't know which it is, but boy am I sure grateful for some faceless stranger on the internet telling my entire gender how it really is because, God forbid, we would know our individual selves better.