‘I Do…nut: Have Weddings Lost Their Meaning?’ was published on Scotcampus.com in April 2015
As young adults, every day we’re edging closer to that age when the tap water suddenly becomes infected and most of our friends are getting down on their knees to declare their eternal love to one another. You’re either diagnosed lovesick or completely immune to the romance; there’s no in-between. And if you’re anything like me, you’re more likely just figuring out how to sew a button back on a shirt to avoid paying for a new one, never mind budgeting for a wedding.
To me, that’s what being young is all about: learning – and not just those damn lecture notes. Learning about ourselves. What suits me? When do I want to settle down? What do I want to do before I commit to starting a family of my own?
Take “poor” Kim Sears, the blushing new bride of Andy Murray, who “waited” nine years for a ring because her tennis sensation boyfriend took his time – not that he was busy or anything. Was she feeling inadequate as she moped around at all of his games waiting for a big rock to appear on her left hand and reinforce her worth? Or was it not just the press branding her less of a woman without one?
I couldn’t help laughing when I read a recent interview with Andy Murray – renowned understater of life changing events – about his big day.
“It was alright,” he answered.
It was alright? Andy, people camped outside Dunblane Cathedral just to see you in something other than Adidas shorts.
“I don’t think a lot’s going to change,” he grunted in a different interview with the BBC, “I kind of feel like we’ve already been married in terms of how we spend our lives and live together.”
Hold your abuse: mopey Murray might actually have a point. Having spent seven of their nine year relationship living together, one of the traditional gimmicks of marriage had already been eliminated before Kim even left the bridal car.
Today, the concept of marriage is so different because peoples’ ‘firsts’ tend to happen so young: first date, first hand hold, first kiss, first love, first home, first child… And yet, at the end of a perfectly successful five year relationship, you could still be sitting there thinking “oh wait, were we supposed to marry at some point during all that?” Are you supposed to put on that white gown – the fundamental symbol of purity – and act like you’re about to embark on everything for the first time?
We just assume that the small things in love are better after marriage as though it’s some right-of-passage into the real stuff in life. But waking up with your fingers intertwined next to their hungover face on a Sunday morning on any occasion before marriage isn’t any less magical than if you’d spent two years stressing over shades of napkins together for your wedding.
Think about what goes into a wedding – there’s a reason why some lucky peoples’ parents have been saving for it since their birth. There’s so much expense involved it’s difficult to understand the pain of someone who’s had to go through it twice. From the home leg of the Hen tour to the away leg of the stag tour, the church where you’ll marry to the picturesque venue where you’ll stage photographs, to the extortionate band and the string quartet for the bride’s grand entrance. It’s quite possible that the fundamental purpose of a wedding is vanishing beneath frills and fears of inadequate centre pieces. It might be your day but you’ll spend the run up to it making sure your guests have a nice time, and probably forget about pleasing your poor other-half who doesn’t want ANOTHER photo by the wedding car.
Is it any wonder why people can commit to a home but not a ceremony in front of everyone who’s ever cared about them?
Of course, maybe I’m just cynical.
For some, an engagement is the first real testimony to love. It’s when that person you’re with decides that they love you enough to spend the rest of their life in your embrace, and they want to secure that future by making you a promise of eternal love. It’s the ultimate commitment. Willingly uniting bank accounts and agreeing to be two separate legal entities by marriage provides an undeniable sense of security. This kind of commitment is more than just a house that can be moved out of should the relationship fall into the fire. In addition, having children while married creates a further secure environment to raise children.
When religion comes into play, weddings can really mark the beginning of a new life – the chance to finally be able to live together and start a family. Uniting in front of friends and family in a place of worship is truly special, and in such circumstances the true meaning of marriage might feel more prominent.
Finally, just to eliminate the elephant in room, and given that standing alone is widely encouraged as students, it is widely assumed that marriage will evidently destroy your individuality. Allow me illustrate my view on this assumption:
From colour-schemes to holidays, everything you do in life beyond the day of marriage is shared – though, I’m not sure if this is actually a bad thing. For me, it’s deciding that you’re ready to share your being with another who fills in your blanks but at the same time challenges everything you ever believed in. Always having someone who you can split the bills with and is there through all of life’s complicated adventures must be a pretty spectacular feeling of both security and wholesomeness.
After all, it’s hard to be completely independent, but it’s just as challenging learning to share your life with someone else.