I take marriage more seriously since I got divorced – honest!
As a kid, I used to spend hours making elaborate wedding dresses for my Barbie dolls. All I needed was a box of Kleenex and a roll of Scotch tape to be happily occupied for a whole afternoon. When I’d finished my masterpiece, I’d try to persuade my stepfather to officiate the wedding – he was a pastor, so he knew the real words to use.
On Saturdays in June, when he was usually presiding over a real wedding, I’d sneak next door to the church and stow away in the balcony to spy on the proceedings. I was clearly obsessed with weddings.
When I got married myself, 25 years old and pregnant, I told everyone all I wanted was a big poufy dress and a tiered cake. But, of course, it turned out that wasn’t all I cared about. I fought with my future mother-in-law over the guest list, had a fit about some patio furniture I didn’t like at the reception site, uninvited one of my fiancé’s oldest friends because I thought he was a drag, had an anxiety attack about the weather forecast and cried at the rehearsal dinner. In short, I was a monster. And for what? To throw a party at which I was the star.
I wanted to feel like one of my Barbie dolls, only dressed up in real lace and tulle rather than tissues. I wanted everyone to watch us kiss, and cut the cake, and think about how beautiful I looked – none of which had anything to do with the fact I was entering into a life partnership with someone, promising to love and cherish him in good times and bad, for as long as we both shall live.
The wedding actually turned out okay. I had my big white dress and my fancy cake, and people mostly forgave my bridezilla antics. The marriage didn’t last, though, and somewhere along the line I began to hate weddings.
I’m not sure when it started. I used to enjoy flipping through an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings as much as the next girl, and I’ve been known to watch an episode or two of Say Yes to the Dress.
If I had to choose a timeframe, I’d put it somewhere between Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries and when it became obligatory to have your own wedding hashtag.
I not only lost interest in everything wedding-related, weddings actually started to make me angry. All that time and worry and pressure and expense just for one day – it seemed dumb and wasteful.
Whether you walk down the aisle to Etta James or Mendelssohn, get married in a church or barn, or choose a reading from First Corinthians or Kahlil Gibran, weddings are all about putting on a show. But when it comes to the actual marriage, no-one really cares.
Now that I’m divorced, I take marriage a lot more seriously. Before I was married, I didn’t understand how little a wedding day matters. It’s just one day; it hardly seems relevant in the grand scheme of things.
Even though I failed on my first try, I’m a big fan of marriage. I’d like to get married again, and this time I want it to be just between me and my husband-to-be – no wedding.
A wedding feels like a performance – and a performance isn’t real. Saying wedding vows to each other feels like too intimate a thing to do in front of an audience. You wouldn’t invite your family and friends over to watch you have sex, so why do you want them to watch you get married?
Sure, have a party later. Have some cake and champagne. Tear up the dance floor. But don’t write your own vows and say them to each other in front of a bunch of guests. No-one wants to hear it. Really.
Here’s an idea: what if we forgot about the wedding altogether and focused on the marriage instead?
After all, at the end of the day, it’s just the two of you. Your marriage isn’t anyone else’s business. A clever hashtag isn’t going to help you when everyone goes home and you’re faced with the rest of your life with this person, who is probably wrong for you in many ways and will certainly infuriate and annoy you some – or much – of the time.
Images via tumblr.com.
Comment: Did you have the best wedding hashtag ever and want to tell me where I can shove it? Or do you hate weddings too?