A few years ago I had a rather interesting conversation with a girl I used to work with and it’s left me pondering what people really want when they say that they want to get married. When I caught up with this girl at a function, I asked about her partner of four years and immediately wished I hadn’t. They’d broken up since the last time I saw her. Awkward. She told me that he ‘couldn’t commit‘ and so she had to break it off with him although it broke her heart. We’d had a few glasses of wine so we continued to talk about it. I had met her partner several times and he was, in a word, awesome. Extremely loyal, very funny, ambitious, good looking. One of those good on paper, great in person kind of guys. They owned property and a dog together so the split was pretty brutal, she said.
Hang on a minute, I said. You just told me he couldn’t commit? She said yeah, he wouldn’t put a ring on it so I kicked him to the curb! I was stunned. There’s a mighty big difference between not being able to commit and not wanting to get married. This girl had made a massive mistake. What’s worse was that she was completely aware of it but had this resigned air of her hands being tied. Marriage was just not something she could compromise on and that was that. This guy had bought a house with her and a pet and wanted to start a family with her. That sounded like a marriage to me. He even suggested eloping. What the girl wanted was a wedding. She didn’t break up with him because he couldn’t commit, she broke up with him because she didn’t get a ring and a party. Literally a ring and a party. So why was it so important? Important enough to end a fantastic relationship with a great guy? And for what? To find some mediocre guy to have a wedding with?
I’m not anti-marriage or even anti-wedding. I love weddings, I’m like Hire-A-Bridesmaid over here. I’ll often befriend a random bride and invite myself over for seven hours of invitation construction with shitty champagne and stale macaroons and love every second of it. Bring on the weddings! What I’m against is people thinking that weddings are mandatory. If people need or want to be married, that’s fine. If they can afford and want a wedding then that’s just grand. If they want to invite me, that’s even better. I’m just not comfortable with the notion that a wedding is expected or deserved. By either person in the relationship or anyone else. I can respect that there are traditional and religious exceptions sometimes but for the most part, a wedding should be wanted by both the people participating in it. As should a marriage.
I often hear single women saying that they want to get married but they have to find a guy first. Not ‘the right guy’ just ‘a guy’. I’ve heard single guys say that they just ‘want to be married’. I find that incredibly bizarre. To me it’s like someone saying ‘I want to have a hip replacement, I just need to break my hip first‘.
Over to you… do you think twenty-somethings are obsessed with weddings?
What do you think motivates people to get married in 2012? Have you ever been to a wedding that was a wedding for the sake of a wedding?
* Also I personally can’t take marriage very seriously while homosexual couples are still excluded from it in Australia. It makes me feel icky that my relationship is valued differently to another relationship based purely on the fact my man and I are packing different junk. It’s ridiculous.