“So here is a related question for your blog: Why are the prices of modern weddings extravagant, as divorce and cohabitation also become so much more common? Why do the externals of marriage become more elaborate as its true meaning disappears?”
A good friend of mine posed this question and I’d like to mull on it now.
Why ARE the prices of modern weddings so extravagant? Especially in light of the increase of divorce and cohabitation? And my favorite part of the question, “Why do the externals of marriage become more elaborate as its true meaning disappears?” That really is a good question, segway-ing into my somewhat-un-researched take on it.
I think this question can be broken down into two parts; the increase of the price of the modern wedding versus the increase of divorce and cohabitation.
A quick google search prompts this estimate from www.costofwedding.com:
“On average, US couples spend $24,066 for their wedding. However, the majority of couples spend between $18,050 and $30,083. This does not include cost for a honeymoon or engagement ring. “
That’s a down payment on a house. A very nice house.
A second quick google search prompts this estimate on the divorce rate: still hovering around 50%. It fluctuates above and below, but always around 50%.
An insightful quote from Jim, a character on the NBC hit-TV show “The Office”:
“Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, so… it was her parents or my parents…”
And one more quick google search on Cohabitation:
“Among women aged 18-19, cohabitation was more common than marriage as a union form, with 11% of these women cohabitating and 5% married. For women aged 25-44, marriage was the dominant union type, with 62% currently married and 8% currently cohabitating…. Among men aged 25-44, 59% were currently married while only 10% were currently cohabitating.”(1)
Those are high numbers.
And what do they mean?
A large part of me wants to look at this and interpret the increasing exhorbitance in wedding spending as a facade people want to believe in. As a way for the wedding’s total dollar amount to measure up to a mathematical formula which means “Well, we spent XXX on the wedding, which means we are going to stay together for at least XX years …”
Then again, there is the idea that people truly want to believe that they are only going to get married once, so they might as well “do it right”. The best and the brightest for their one and only wedding day. I feel as if this self-selected group is not as large as they think they are … I would venture a guess that of most people getting married, most do not PLAN on getting divorced, but rather think they are of the small percentage that will remain married for what is truly “’til death do us part”. I fear however that most couples worry more about the wedding itself rather than about preparing for the marriage that is to come …. (digression. Sorry.)
And yet again, there is the thought process of forced attention: everyone is going to what may now best be termed as an “event” for YOU, and to celebrate YOU, and to look at YOU, and you want to prove to them that you are ______ (fill in the blank.) Wealthy, prosperous, healthy, skinny, extravagant, happy, etc., etc., etc. In that case I’d argue that the focus of the wedding is extremely lost ….. And yet I feel this option somehow fits best.
The value of marriage is constantly decreasing. (I speak societally, not individiually; I trust there are many individuals who value the sanctity of marriage as one-man-one-woman-til-death-do-we-part, but that is not the popular opinion these days). The prevalent idea is that we get married “for now”. We get married when we find someone we think we are in love with, not fully understanding what love truly is or what personal sacrifices we will be called to make that come with the territory, and we do this all with the knowledge that in 5-7 years if it doesn’t work out, we are free to move on and find the next husband, or the next wife. A new person for a new phase of life. A new person like a new haircut. That USA Network TV show “The Starter Wife” shocked me in a way it shouldn’t have: I didn’t realize people actually thought like that.
As this value of marriage decreases, I find it interesting that as my friend pointed out, the cost of marrying is itself skyrocketing to an unprecedented high. As I stated before, this really could indicate any number of things …. but I most strongly hold that it indicates a hole. A void. That somewhere in the lives of the engaged couple (or their parents!), there is some void in need of filling in the most American way possible; Retail Therapy. When in doubt, buy it. When depressed, buy it. When you can’t afford it, buy it. What better way to show how healthy you are!
Let’s get it all!
And this is where the rubber meets the road. What does that mean, for us? What does that mean for the small fraction of Americans who believe that marriage is for keeps, that it’s for all the marbles, that a man and a woman are deciding to love each other until death, real death, meaning that they will continue to love with actions and words through sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, UNTIL DEATH DO WE PART?
Keep living it. That’s what it means. Just keep living your values, hold fast to your beliefs, keep setting an example, find marriages worthy of imitating and imitate them. So many of us come from broken homes and broken marriages and we are products of that selfish desire for personal gratification …. but when will that cycle end? When we take control of ourselves and come to understand what love truly is, and begin to live it ourselves on a daily basis, regardless of whether we are in a relationship or not. It doesn’t take a spouse to show someone you love them.
Changing anything in this world begins with us.
This was an incredibly interesting article. I wish I had a better word than ‘interesting’. It was eye-opening, rather, that the female cultural shift in America has reached this point. This poor woman (and her mother, we find out) are both addicted to getting Liposuction done.
What a terrifying addiction.
What a belittling addiction.
“I would be perfect, if it wasn’t for this pinch of fat here on my thighs..”
Here is the final paragraph, if you don’t have time to read the whole article (though I recommend it to all women.) The final line is what struck me most, both as hopeful and as saddening:
“I make another appointment with Katz. He pinches my legs and says, “Nope. Nothing I can do about this. The fat is under the muscle. The only way to get rid of it is with cardio.” For a second, I don’t understand. What does he mean, “No”? But his refusal—the first I’ve heard over the course of four operations in a dozen years—gives me pause. The surgeries on my waistline solved a problem that had no other clear solution, but it’s startling to realize how accustomed I’ve become to throwing money and a cannula at my every body issue (an attitude I may have inherited from my mother, who, despite discouraging my own revisions, has a surgery count nearing the double digits). Now, after a few weeks of daily visits to the gym, my developing muscles remind me that change can be achieved by myself, all on my own—on this particular problem area, at least.”
What is the future of the health of America, and it’s women?
What an odd idea. A divorce ceremony? I wonder if that will catch on in America. I can understand the idea behind it, sure, but I can’t imagine…. inviting people? “Oh hey, by the way I’m getting divorced on Friday, black tie only.”
“The ceremony also includes a “divorce dress,” and Miki Saito chose a daisy-yellow summer dress. In Japan, daisies are believed to symbolize an “amicable or platonic relationship.” Designer Akiue Go said he created the dress with emphasis on the back for a specific reason. “I designed this dress so the woman’s back looks the most beautiful when she turns around and walks away,” he said.”
Prayers for those whose marriages are struggling.
Really interesting graph here.
A good article to read on the 4th. Happy Independence day, America. And thanks to all of our servicemen and women who are protecting our rights as we speak.
Besides the fact that I don’t agree with the gay agenda at all*, and that I am saddened by the fact that people can be coerced into supporting something simply because they’re yelling at the top of their lungs, what bothered me most about this article was the so-called ‘conversion success story’ of someone who worked on the Bush Administration.
“Showing the potential for conversions on the issue, David Frum, a former speech writer for George W. Bush and a commentator who had long been opposed to same-sex marriage, this week said he was wrong. “If people like me had been right, we should have seen the American family become radically more unstable over the subsequent decade and a half” since same-sex marriage was allowed in some states, he wrote on his blog.”
Really? Have you not seen the divorce rate skyrocket? Have you not seen the numbers of the hundreds upon thousands of aborted babies? Have you not seen the increase of birth control use among 13 – 15 year olds? Do you realize that a staggering percentage of children grow up without knowing their father?
What kind of instability are you looking for, David Frum?
*Post on my stance on homosexuality vs. gay rights to come.
Online Campaign Aims to Help Cheerleader Who Refused to Cheer for Player She Said Raped Her – FoxNews.com
Admirable cause, interesting situation.
It is important to remember to pray for all of the victims of sexual assault, as well as their perpetrators.
That’s really all I have to say.