In the past eight months I’ve attended three weddings and one funeral; but it’s weddings I want to talk about right now, seeing as I attended my younger brother’s yesterday. It was a fantastic day, and the bride and groom had put so many of their own personal touches into the day: making their own invitations, with matching place settings, menus, and bunting strung up around the place; not to mention the bride making all the flower decorations, which were a combination of wild flowers grown by my mum and gran, added to some bought ones. They also had an old-fashioned sweet stall at the back of the room, much to the pleasure of children and adults alike, with an assortment of glass jars, collected over the past year, filled with multi-coloured jellies and the like. It was all just beautiful.
I have absolutely no doubt my brother and his new wife will be in it for life, as you can just tell that about some couples; whereas with others, you wonder why they even headed down the aisles in the first place (but you never dare saying anything for fear of causing offence – maybe that’s just a British thing). But I got to thinking about weddings and what they actually mean and represent to people. Weddings are so ingrained into our culture that it’s just the norm to follow suit (If I had a tenner for each time some no doubt well-meaning family member asked me when I was next, I’d have between £50 and £100 now). It’s just expected. And it got me thinking back to the Game of Life board game I mentioned in the previous blog; whoever invented that game in the Eighties, assumed that everyone playing it had to get married and have children. Like passing Go and collecting £200, or whatever it was in Monopoly, in this game you HAD to get hitched – and stick a little pink (or blue) pin in your car next to you. I was wondering what an updated version of that game would look like today; there would have to be multiple life choices: to choose to be gay or straight; to choose to co-habit or get married; to choose to live alone but still have a partner; to choose to live happily single; not to mention the multiple educational choices. In fact, I don’t think anyone would be able to make an updated version because the board would be too big! But the very fact marriage was mandatory in this game, just goes to show how ingrained the wedding ceremony was (and prob still is) to humans.
These days there are so many different paths to tread, and you don’t have to stick to the one everyone else does; though you need to have a bit of a thick skin at times if you do choose to shun ‘convention’, as everyone else will naturally assume you should do as they did, because we like other people to be like us, to make us feel more ‘normal’.
Marriage is a human construction created primarily for the joining of assets – at least that was its original function, until religion hi-jacked it and brought God into it; now it’s not even so much about God anymore as more and more people opt for civil weddings (as was the one yesterday). And don’t get me wrong, I am truly happy for my brother, and it was a wonderful day; I danced until my feet were sore – in fact they still are as I write this! But I got to thinking about ‘tradition’ and how we often do certain things, and in a certain way, because that is what is ‘normal’ or expected. Humans are creatures of habit, I guess.
But things are changing – some people get married while rock climbing, or deep sea diving these days! And some people don’t’ see the point in marriage so don’t do it at all (and there are far fewer legal reasons to do it these days, I think).
Over all I’d say to people they should do what they want to and what they feel comfortable with, just don’t go expecting everyone else to do the same. As Carrie Bradshaw said in Sex and the City, there is no day, other than your birthday, where if you are single your life is celebrated; whereas with people who get married and have kids, there are multiple celebrations (which all cost money) you feel obliged to attend. She asks the question: why can’t you have a celebratory singles day? Someone to come along and say ‘hey, well done on earning money, paying your taxes, being a upstanding citizen, being a kind and compassionate person and member of the human race!’? I guess you could just hold a massive party in celebration of yourself and your achievements, but then everyone would think you were self-indulgent and narcissistic. But if you hold a massive party in celebration of a relationship, to show a commitment to someone else, that is seen as OK.
I know I’m starting to sound cynical now, and I don’t mean to. Maybe there’s a part of me that felt a tad jealous of his relationship and how smooth it all seems to have been for him – I mean, they’ve been together since university, as opposed to my on then off then on again then off again then on again then off again long-term relationship (with some other dates added to the ‘off’ periods just for extra emotional confusion). Plus, other than my single uncle, I was quite possibly the only other single adult there (except for maybe a few at the evening bit); so, surrounded by a sea of family – cousins who all have kids, and if they don’t then they are engaged, or soon to be married – I suppose it made me feel someone the odd one out. But only momentarily.
Now, back home, I think how lucky I am to have such a great family, and also a job I love and which I find fulfilling pretty much every day. And I’m not against weddings – I’m sure one day I’ll get married and most probably have a family of my own… but until then, I just wish people would stop asking me when that day will be!!! (or even thinking it, because I can sense when people are thinking it but not asking out of being polite).
What Katy Louise Did...
- Katy Louise
- Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.