Thursday, 12 August 2010

A marriage, at what price?

My eyes were drawn to this story on the BBC News site recently. The long and short of it is that a Church of England priest used his slot on Radio 4's Thought For The Day to pronounce that many of today's weddings have "lost their way", and that "they are specifically designed to be all about 'me', about being a 'princess for a day' ". I couldn't agree more.

When we lived in the UK, I sang in my local church choir, and was often called upon to sing at weddings. What we saw was sometimes pretty shocking. On one memorable occasion, the vicar came into the vestry ashen faced, saying that he wasn't looking forward to taking the ceremony at all. When we asked him why, he said he'd just seen most of the congregation piling out of the pub down the road, and that they all looked pretty drunk. And drunk they certainly turned out to be. The vicar had to make a special announcement at the beginning of the service asking people to respect the solemn nature of the ceremony, and we all watched in horror as the congregation giggled, chatted, and laughed throughout the couple's vows. Now, some will disagree with me, I know, but I really do think that the moment a couple take their vows should be treated with the respect it deserves.

And it's not just the attitude of the congregation that gets my goat. It does seem to me that there's often far more focus on the wedding than the marriage it's celebrating. My husband actually balked at a lot of the bells and whistles my mum wanted for our wedding, because he felt that, in his experience, more often meant less in terms of weddings versus marriage. He had been to several lavish weddings of friends, only to see them divorce a few years later.

I'm not saying of course that taking pride in organising a beautiful day means you're not taking your marriage seriously, because that would certainly make me a hypocrite. We planned our big day with love and attention, and wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and celebrate with us, too. But I must say that at its core, and vitally important to us, was a very meaningful, quiet, special ceremony where we made promises to each other in front of the people in our lives who matter to us the most.

Because when you take away all the frills and vast quantities of money spent, what's left is a relationship. And I agree with the Rev Dr Giles Fraser that, in some cases, lavish ceremonies are being used as sticking plaster for marriages that may not last the test of time.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more. So many of the HS age girls I know are watching the TV shows and eagerly awaiting the moment when it is "their day" - who the man is, what his values are and the commitment are the furthest things from their minds. One girl I know will even rate a cute guy based on how he would look in a tux and whether or not he matches her already chosen color scheme... it's a scary state of affairs.




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