Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Engagements, Weddings, Babies, Oh My!!

Well, it seems as if I have hit the age where most people start "growing up" - including myself, I guess with moving to CT and all, but I mean the stage where my facebook newsfeed is completely filled with pictures of diamond rings, white dresses and/or ultrasound or baby photos.  Before I write any further-- I'm not upset by this.  In fact, the baby photos make me smile 9 times out of 10 and brighten my days.  The wedding photos are always fun to look at.  I love seeing people's dresses and colors and venues.  I also love looking at beautiful jewelry (duh!).  But it can be a bit overwhelming when it's one after the other.

Since I'm friends (on facebook) with so many people I went to high school with, it increases the number of these posts that I'm seeing every day.  It's not just people I talk to "IRL", as Dan would say, so it just seems like a crazy amount because of our age.

One of my friends posted this article from TIME tonight:  "Who Needs Marriage?  A Changing Institution" 

It's incredibly interesting.  It makes a lot of sense.  I've always been deeply interested in people's psyches and what makes men and women tick (so differently at times and different stages in life) and society's impact on these trends.  My bookshelves are packed with books on these exact topics and I graduated with a minor in Literature (concentration was Gender Studies).  Recently, with all of my friends getting married, I've been thinking about the institute of marriage, what it means to me and the stats that are so frequently regurgitated that put quite the damper on the romance of it all.

I found it hard going to friends' weddings thinking "half of these will end in divorce".  I hate saying it, but people think it.  It's just the truth.  You hear it all the time.  "50% of marriages end in divorce."  I've been predicting a big change in those numbers.  Why?  Because people are waiting later and later in life to make that step together.  I think people are more mature when they do decide to take that step and it's less of a "mandatory next step" and more of a choice these days vs. when our parents were our age, or even more, their parents.  I could be totally wrong, but I'm a hopeless romantic, so I'll always be an optimist when it comes to the future of romance.

I do, however find the article's research hopeful.  Loved this: "Marriage is like glue, says Eisenberg. You can build something with it. Living together is like Velcro. The commitment of marriage gives people the opportunity to grow and thrive in ways that other relationships do not." Interesting and a positive, or at least not jaded, way of looking at marriage.

I was intrigued by the idea that marriage is becoming something for the wealthy (no surprise there-- look at the glorified shows like Say Yes to the Dress where brides (or their future husbands or their parents) pay upwards of $5K (that's a cheap dress on that show) for a dress that will be worn once (hopefully).  Like marriage is a gucci bag or something...  A less positive view on the new trends, so I digress...

Cindy looking less than thrilled at her wedding 
Anyway, marriage is constantly on my mind because it's EVERYWHERE.  So many TV shows about it, so many celebrities engaged (or preggo), so many friends or acquaintances doing it, it's hard not to think about it and what it means to each of us.  I guess I'm a bit irritated with the sheer volume of it all being in front of my eyes at seemingly all hours of the day (even my facebook advertisements are for engagement rings), because it does turn into a material type of goal achieved at some points--spending way more money than I could ever imagine spending (for who?  For what?  The guests?  For ONE day?  To prove something?), it's still nice to see when it's done for the right reasons and done for the couple, not for show or family or any other silly reasons.

My parents were high school sweethearts and have been married forever.  Hard to live up to, but something that was great to watch and learn from.  I think there's something beautiful about marriage or at least the idea of marriage, but divorce has always terrified me.  To the point, at times, of really questioning if it was ever worth chancing.  Obviously I'm making leaps and bounds at taking myself out of my comfort zones, but we will see what the future holds.  Marriage to me isn't an "ultimate merit badge" as they say in the article.  I don't think it proves anything.  I think every girl dreams of someone being so in love with them that they would make such a bold move to prove it to the world, but aside from that Disney ideal I grew up with, do I think it's NECESSARY?  No.  Probably not nowadays since the things/reasons that most people married back in the day was because society said it was the next step after high school and a must step before children.  That's no longer the case, so...  there ya go.  But do I still think it's a beautiful thing when two people who are deeply in love make that commitment to one another because they feel the need to make that step in front of friends and family (even though the pressures of society to be married to move along with the next steps of life have dwindled)?  Yes.  I do.

Any thoughts?


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