[T]he modern wedding, if it does anything, shortens marriages rather than cementing them.
Here's why. The modern wedding, with its stupendous cost (£20,000 on average) and duration, is really a celebration of the participants. They really are unique and precious snowflakes, just as they have suspected all along. In fact, they are each and both of them just the unique and precious people they would like to be. Everyone pretends that for the day the couple really are starring in their own film: following the conventions of modern films, that means nothing really bad can happen to them.
The great point about completely impersonal ceremonies, whose form is the same for everyone, whether these are religious or entirely civil, is that they remind us that the problems and difficulties of marriage are universal. They come from being human. They can't be dodged just by being our wonderful selves, even all dusted with unicorn sparkle.
On your wedding day you feel thoroughly special, and your guests will go along with this; so that is the moment when the ceremony should remind you that you're not all that. What you're doing isn't a step into fairyland. And if it does turn out to be the gateway to a new life, that is one that will have to be built over time and unglamorously with the unpromising materials of the old one.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Incisive comments here about how the modern wedding ceremony actually undermines marriage. An excerpt: