It’s my wedding and I’ll cry if I want to
I’ll be the first to admit that I partake in tossing my left hand in the air and fiercely dancing whenever I hear Beyonces’ “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it).”
After enjoying the catchy tune and legendary video, I stopped to examine the actual lyrics of the song and the message it sends to women everywhere.
It seems that recently, the obsession with marriage is inescapable. I thought at first it was my ignorance to the concept, but images of marriage have been increasingly thrown at society by every media outlet.
The Learning Channel (TLC) used to be infamous for its home makeover shows.
But more recently its prime time line-up consists of shows which follow engaged couples on
their journey into marriage.
Shows like “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Masters of Reception” and “Wedded to Perfection” flood the airways.
These shows, however, rarely focus on the actual marriage, but rather on the luxuries of the wedding with a few tantrums and outbursts from the bride-to-be, or what has been defined as a “bridezilla”.
Slice’s hit show “Rich Bride, Poor Bride” is an entire hour showcasing a couple taking the plunge where the main message is always, “Whatever the bride wants, the bride gets.”
I’m all for girl power, but there is something deeply insincere about this mentality.
It seems that the modern world has forgotten the eternal sacred vows of marriage.
Instead, the focus has been placed on the wedding; it’s become a means of showcasing your wealth and status to society.
I’ve never really understood the institution of marriage, nor desired to ever be apart of it.
Now that marriage has become one elaborate wedding, and your dearly beloved is just another material possession to show off, I really don’t understand it.
I tried to recall the days when marriage was considered a blessed sacrament and quickly realized, I don’t think there was ever such a day.
Marriage is strictly a male invention; primarily because it was more beneficial to have a wife than a slave.
The man had someone to maintain the household as well as raise his children to carry on his family name.
In return, the woman received protection and wouldn’t have to face the shame of being a burden to her parents.
As marriage became an essential practice, arranged marriages were the most popular institution among the upper-class of Medieval Europe.
Parents had the final say of whom one was betrothed to based on connections, wealth, position in society and most importantly, how the match would benefit them.
Love was never in question, despite how Hollywood depicts the Middle Ages in movies like Ever After; marrying below your station was simply not tolerated and had deadly consequences.
We tend to forget how unique personal marriages are.
After an entire history of suffering through arranged marriages, we are finally able to marry on our own terms.
However, what exactly has that gotten us with a startling 48 per cent divorce rate?
In a recent study, conducted by Stony Brook University, 10 married couples were studied and surveyed, using innovative brain scans. The study concluded only one couple felt the same emotions towards their spouse as they first did when they first met.
I think the final question weighing on my mind is why even bother to get married?
If it is merely for love, what is the difference between a long-term commitment and a marriage?
Are the tax benefits and elaborate wedding really worth it?
If there is anything we have learned from the days of arranged marriages, it’s that marriage should be a choice.
It should never be viewed as just the next step in a relationship, nor should one ever “put a ring on it” as an alternative to breaking up.
With a generation possessed by instant gratification, we are not used to putting effort into our practices or committing fully to them.
With this approach embedded in our brains in combination with society’s pressures that we are only complete beings when married, the divorce rates will skyrocket and the simplicity of a lasting commitment will further become history.