People ought to be straight with each other, and give each other a heads up. Life seems to be a slow unravelling of unfortunate revelations that are completely unsupported by the things we were taught to be right (right in a moral sense).
I attended a wedding. It was lovely. All the people came, oohed and ahhed, feasted magnificently and made merry. Prior to the wedding, I scoured Keats for some inspirational lines on love, but found him to be too authentic for wedding card wishes: a moment after speaking of joy, he plunges into the depths, always linking the two together. Life is simply not all roses—and love especially.
The marriage celebrant bemoaned the youth of today and their loathing of anything binding. A more intelligent way to consider it is that we have seen the mistakes of our parents and grandparents, and we recognise the gravity of such a contract as that of marriage. As everyone clicked their cameras and giggled at the flower girls, and ogled the diamonds and evaluated the bridesmaids’ hair, the couple vowed to stand by each other in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. As we filed out, all I could say to my mum was, ‘Man, this marriage stuff is heavy—what if your spouse ends up terminally ill, in poverty?’ I like the balance that has traditionally been built into the ceremony (though I’ve seen others that emphasise that the bride will love and obey her husband as the church does Christ, while the husband gets to be the deity of the relationship), that contrasts each positive with its negative, and quite starkly so. But I’m not so sure that weddings ought to be the celebrations that they are. At least, they should be equally serious as they are happy.
And this is the problem that has plagued generations: their elders push them into unions as morally correct and as blissful, God-blessed unions, but once couples have passed through to the other side all the difficult things are revealed. And I don’t mean difficulties like shared toothbrushes. I mean mismatched personalities, unequal ambitions, drastically different perceptions of family and the like. If our elders treated marriage as seriously as many of my generation do, they wouldn’t push us into legal contracts with people we haven’t yet investigated fully enough.
So let’s be straight with each other: signing a legal contract promising you’ve got someone’s back no matter what is kind of a big deal. Forsaking all others until death parts you signals you are certain that you’ll never meet another person whose temperament, humour, interests and financial aptitude match yours so perfectly. Hiding all these hard things under expensive bouquets and intricately beaded lace and inspired photography won’t make these things go away, and doesn’t lend the situation the true gravity it deserves. We saw what your parents drove you to, and we questioned your choices. That is why we are taking our time and don’t fear your judgement.