Thursday, May 5, 2011
"The Wedding" vs. the Marriage
There is a big difference between a Wedding and a Marriage.
Why is it that so many people (women, really) get so caught up in the Wedding that they lose sight of the more important thing -- the relationship and the Marriage? Is it something in our culture? I wonder if women in other countries spend the time and effort planning the "perfect" wedding that American women do. And I would love to know how much money women in other countries spend on their weddings, when compared to what women spend here. Personally, I could never justify spending even half of what the average American bride spends on her wedding. And notice I said, "her" wedding. Unfortunately, that seems to be what it's all about -- the bride. It's HER day. Well, I say, what about the groom? Doesn't he have a role other than just to show up and do what he's told? Doesn't he realize that when he steps aside and allows his bride to take complete control that he is setting a precedent for how things are going to be in the future? For so many men, this is, indeed, the direction things go.
The Wedding is just one day. The Marriage is (supposed to be) for a lifetime. Wouldn't it make sense to focus at least as much, if not more, time and energy on the partnership rather than on the planning of a "perfect" wedding? In the end, when all the excitement of the very special day wears off, what will a couple be left with? Where will they find themselves? If the relationship was strong to begin with, they may do alright. If it wasn't, however, keeping up the "appearance" will become increasingly difficult.
A Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. When one person in the relationship is making all the decisions, when one person is slowly severing the other from his/her family, friends, and what were once favorite past-times, when you see them changing into someone you don't even recognize, what are you supposed to do? What if you are expected to stand by this couple on their wedding day in support of the union, but in your heart, you have some concerns.......what then?
When it seems as if one person is controlling and manipulating the other, and the other person is allowing him/herself to be controlled and manipulated, it IS concerning. A relationship that's built on solid ground does not look like this. It is true that grown adults are capable of making their own decisions. They are also capable of making their own mistakes. But I think it's important for couples to realize that you set some very important precedents at the beginning of a relationship -- ones that can remain well into the future. In a healthy and fulfilling relationship, I think it's very important that BOTH people have an equal share in the decision-making. If, as a couple, you aren't able to be flexible, to communicate, to negotiate, and to compromise while planning the Wedding, then how in the world are you going to be able to have flexibility, communication, and the ability to compromise in the Marriage?
When you see all of this happening to someone you have known and loved for their entire life -- when you see him/her behaving like a stranger -- someone you don't even know anymore, it is painful and heartbreaking to stand by and watch. And the all-to-difficult question comes to the forefront......At what point is it acceptable to step in and speak your mind? Is it ever acceptable?
And if you do, will there be a price to pay?