Weddings, Weddings Everywhere

And not a single one for me.

For a woman in a complicated relationship, wedding season is a toughie. I've done a bachelorette party. Next week I'll be celebrating my friend L's wedding. Next month I'll be celebrating my friend C's wedding. I get a month off, and then another friend's wedding in October. Not to mention blog friend Nicole just got engaged (yay!). Oh, and last night I boohooed through Bethenny Frankel's wedding on Bethenny Getting Married? Yes, I am a huge emotional dork and reality TV junkie. I own that. Besides the sheer expense of lots of friends getting married (totally worth it, but yikes!), there's the emotional cost of struggling with my own relationship and where it's headed.

The year between having been SCL dating for 6 months and when we'd been dating about a year and a half (when I still believed we were getting engaged soon), I was pretty wedding fixated. One of my favorite wedding daydreams was thinking about our first dance. SCL and I are both ballroom dancers, so I imagined foxtrotting to Frank Sinatra or some other crooner in a beautiful gown, the crowd "oo"ing and "ah"ing at our mad dance skills. I struggled with the right song though. "Our" song is really inappropriate--"PDA (We Just Don't Care)" by John Legend on his Once Again album. It's about getting down in public. Not exactly the kind of song you'd want to play in front of the old folks. Or my big brothers.

See how easily I slipped back into it? For fuck's sake, even just blogging about it puts me back there. I digress.

As I fretted over how I'm going to survive this wedding season, I figured, hey, I'm going to be surrounded by this wedding stuff for the foreseeable future; how do I make the most of it? I've decided to try to examine my own desires to get engaged, have a wedding, and get married. What's really behind this? I'd like to think that it's just that I love SCL and want a "life buddy" as my friend L describes it. But I  think it's more than just that. I think part of it goes deeper to my own lack of self-confidence and self-worth, probably a result of my abandonment issues from having a shit father--some inner lacking that even the most beautiful wedding couldn't satiate.

And the thing is, my head fucking knows this already. Look at my friend going through a divorce. I was her maid of honor--beautiful wedding, beautiful couple, and now look at where they are. They don't even like each other anymore. And look at my own mom--divorced and abandoned by the person she thought she'd love forever. I know it all in my head, but the truth is in my own self-delusion, I think that it won't happen to me. Just like a lethal car accident, lightening strike, breast cancer, or other horrible tragic things. The truth it, any and all of these things very well could happen in my life--a divorce being one of the more likely.

So, what's up with this fixation on marriage? The truth is, I don't know. My friend (at least I like to think we would be friends) Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the beloved Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia) just published a new book called Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage. And I am obsessed with it. So obsessed, in fact, that I plan to write many a blog entry about it. Maybe I'll even write about it a chapter at a time because it's that good. I hope you'll stick with me as I work through this very though-provoking book and uncover my own feelings, desires, and beliefs about marriage---and hopefully see what it is I'm really after.

7 comments:

  1. I think it's hard not to be a little obsessed over marriage when it seems like everyone around you is getting hitched. I know I felt like that. My wedding came right in the middle of a lot of my friends getting married and I remember before we got engaged I probably drove the hubby NUTS with my wedding talk. We actually fought a few times because he kept saying if I brought up rings one more time I wouldn't ever get one.

    It's hard. Between TV shows and your friends and all that... it totally is. I feel ya hon.

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  2. Thanks, Krysten. I used to ask about my ring a lot. It totally drove SCL crazy. It actually drove me a little crazy, too.

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  3. I cried over Bethenny getting married last night too. I'm a sucker for classy reality tv.
    Wedding season is always tough when your dealing with emotional relationship crap. I've been there.
    I get the obsession with marriage and I see what you're saying with the inevitable divorce outcome, especially in todays generation where divorce seems to be the answer to everything.
    I have a million different ideas about this and come up with new theories all the time as life is a learning experience and I learn new thing everyday.
    One theory in particular is that we are socialized as kids to obsess over the concept of marriage. We see it in the media, books, movies, life in general. Today there are dozens and dozens of shows devoted to weddings and the planning etc., how can one not obsess?
    As fun as all the wedding stuff is, I think it may distract people about the reality of life. That marriage is forever, not just a five-six hour affair. Sometimes people get so caught up in the idea of marriage, that they live their before marriage relationships in a sort of fantasy where everything is perfect and even if they discuss important issues about the future they don't realize how important those issues will become once the permanency of marriage is present. Then all of a sudden your married and it's
    "Wait, WTF do you mean you don't want..." fill in the blank with any various issue here.

    I also think people are ever evolving, always changing and always growing. For this reason, the person who you were when you got married may not be the same person twenty years later or even a couple years later. Not that I would know any better cause I've only been married for 8 months, but I've been told the key to success in this department is to try to grow with each other and not alone.

    Unfortunately, you don't know what you're gonna get in the future. Only hindsight will give you answers, but then it will be too late.

    You just got to hope, have faith and be willing to give, compromise and put work into it.

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  4. right there with you and krysten - it's at that point where everyone keeps asking you when and then you start thinking yourself...yeah, when? we've had arguments as well and it's hard not to plan yours when all you do is attend them and have ideas.

    love elizabeth gilbert - just picked up stern men. committed is most certainly on my list.

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  5. Are you in my mind? I think about my wedding All. the. Time (but not the e-ring because honestly, he could take a ring I already have and 'make' it my engagement ring by simply putting it on my finger when I say yes. But this is of course, after we mutually decided we were going to get married). Anyways, I always think, why do I want to get married? Would I feel the same way if I got married and there wasn't a wedding? Yes, I would. I would still marry my bf even if we didn't have a wedding, so it's not about the wedding. Then what exactly is it that compels me to want to get married, especially in the face of rampant divorce? That's a very hard question to answer and also personal. I love my bf and want to spend my life with him, isn't that enough? Apparently not. I want to be married. Tough questions.

    I totally get you with the "it won't happen to me" because I'm sure those that are divorced thought that very same thing.

    Have you read the blog A Practical Wedding? (apracticalwedding.com) It is amazing. And it's not totally about weddings; it's about the marriage. Some of my favorites posts

    http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/07/as-long-as-we-both-shall-live/#more-3796

    http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/01/reclaiming-wife-marriage-ambivalence/

    Read the comments. Lots of smart women. It is really my favorite thing to read (and Committed is on Meg's book list (Meg runs the site)). I've been wanting to read Committed for a while now. If you're going to post about it then I might have to order it from Amazon right now.

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  6. Eat Pray Love is one of my favorite books. I imagine I would adore her followup as well. I look forwarding to hearing your reaction to it.

    Marriage is a funny thing isn't it? I didn't realize how much emotional baggage everyone carried around over the subject until I attempted to plan my own wedding and everyone's tantrums started surfacing. It was exhausting for everyone.

    This is a brave question to ask of yourself. I hope you find your answer.

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  7. Thanks, everyone. You have helped me feel less like a pyscho.

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