Tuesday, July 10, 2012

the crazy wedding addiction & the disappearing divorce stigma

I don't know how often people actually read the comments section on blogs, but we get a lot of genius insights from readers at the BLOW OFF.  And we've decided that when we get a really good one, it'll get it's very own blog post.

The one below came from one of the best bosses I've ever had.  Back in high school and college, I worked at the famous Cafe Adria in San Jose, CA.  The owner was (and still is) super hot and confident and I think I picked up some great flirting skills by watching her talk to the customers.  And she even trusted me to open and close the cafe.  In the worst mistake of my career, I once accidentally slept in 'til 8am when I was supposed to open the cafe doors at 6am.  Did I mention it was on the same day her live-in boyfriend was moving out of her apartment?  Anyway.  She was kind enough to share her wisdom on our Why Do People Get Married So Young post.  So well said:

Sara, I couldn't agree more! There are a couple of things I'd like to add. Marriage is no longer viewed as a life-long commitment and those who divorce no longer are looked down on or made to feel embarrassed or like a failure. As is the current housing market with foreclosures & short sales; what used to be seen as a huge embarrassment and a personal failure is now viewed as common practice. As much as divorce no longer carries a stigma with it, it sure would be nice to see couples enter into marriage with the hindsight that being in your 30s or 40s can provide. I personally found that marriage is not an answer to anything. My commitment to my partner goes deeper and has more value than any government certificate can provide. But that's a whole different subject.

Another thing I'd like to add is all the ridiculous attention given to brides prior and during the wedding ceremony. Most young women today are starved for attention, and what better way to feed their addiction than by the wedding ceremony itself. The need to feel like a princess outweighs the reality of what it takes to have a successful partnership, when it should be the other way around. I myself congratulate all the couples on their wedding day, because it's the proper thing to do. However, what I really want to say is "best of luck" and give them my sincere congrats once they're able to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Achieving this is the big accomplishment, unlike the big party sponsored/financed by their parents. It's my opinion that "not for life, but for now" with no consequences for failure makes getting married just another fun thing to do.

 We haven't really talked about divorce that much on this site even though it is the ultimate in BLOW OFFs.  Mostly because none of our regular contributors have been through it.  But I so agree with the above comment: divorce stigma has def decreased over time.  I'm sure a lot of people go into a marriage thinking, "if it doesn't work out, we'll just get divorced."  I've attended at least five weddings where the couples are no longer together anymore.  One of those couples got divorced just a little over a year after the wedding.  When the H-bomb and I asked the groom what happened, he said they had some problems they couldn't work out and decided to "cut their losses."  I'm not gonna lie, I was a little peeved we made the trip to the wedding.

I also totally agree with the whole starved for attention wedding phenomenon.  Even when you try to not get caught up in it, it's so easy to get swept away in all the planning and events leading up to the wedding (guilty as charged).  It's the worst.  However, maybe sometimes throwing a big wedding and proclaiming your love in front of everyone does raise the commitment stakes-- unless you're Kim Kardashian, you don't necessarily want to spend all that $$ and drag all your friends and family to celebrate, only to file for divorce two months later.  A friend once described a wedding to me as a "launch party" and I thought that was a really good analogy.

Maybe like our loyal reader said, weddings should just be small and intimate and the giant "let's celebrate our love" ceremony should come ten years later...if you're still together.  What do you guys think?   Comment below.


  1. I think she makes a FANTASTIC point. Very insightful. I mean look at all the TV shows dedicated just to brides! I mean, I LOVE them but it's all getting a little insane.

    Weddings have become about the party and not about the life-long commitment.

  2. I love her comment!!! So true. ESP all the bride/ wedding hype.

    I think there's something to be said about having "coming of age" celebrations. In many religions and cultures, they celebrate becoming a man or a woman around 15/16. Sometimes I think marriage can be looked at as a "coming of age" celebration as well. Maybe focusing more on individual celebration of adulthood would give women their princess fix, without the costly risk of marriage and divorce. Then again, maybe society is redefining marriage and for some, the marriage/divorce process could be an important learning/growing point. I can see it from a few angles.

  3. I love this comment. I am all about not making divorced people feel like pariahs...
    But...(there's always a but)
    We have begun to completely ignore the negative effects of divorce on our communities. Your divorce might be your own business, but it impacts people you have never even met.
    For example: Couple gets divorced, they let the house become foreclosed on and don't pay property taxes throughout the deal. The school in this district is partially supported by these taxes. Education suffers because people get divorced.
    Children of divorced parents are more likely to have unsupervised time/be "latchkey" kids. These kids are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and engage in risky sexual behavior. Creating addicts and unwanted children doesn't help society.

    There are a lot of other reasons to get married for the right reasons and STAY married (barring mitigating circumstances).

    Some of the BEST ceremonies I have been to acknowledge the fact that invited guests are meant to be people that hold the couple accountable for doing everything they can to uphold the contract that they are entering into and asks for help and guidance along the way. The community is accountable for helping and supporting the folks getting married, the folks getting married are accountable for doing their best by the community by staying married.
    We have come such a long way in individualism, but we are neglecting the role that community can play in our lives.

    OK, soapbox away.

  4. Whoa, I've never thought about the community/marriage analogy. That's an interesting point. It totally does take a village. Although, sometimes I do think that a marriage is really between the two people in it and that other friends or family members getting too involved will just make things even more toxic. And I think the whole latchkey thing is a case by case situation. There are plenty of fucked up kids in two parent households, etc. Love all these comments!

    1. I totally didn't mean to imply that children of divorced kids had the market cornered on being fucked up. It's just statistics and food for thought.

      I straight up got told by a woman last week that since I didn't have kids I should leave my husband because my MIL calls him 2342 times a day. I have been married a bit over six months! Her solution seemed extreme.

      I mostly just meant that we ALL need to be the cheerleaders of marriage and instead of suggesting divorce to kvetching wives, we suggest more wine and an unjudgey ear. Then send them back to their husbands and their crazy mothers-in-law.

    2. Could not agree more! and that is hilarious about your MIL! I try and spin things positively, like isn't it great that he's close to his family, but that would drive me nuts!! you are a good wife. And totally, i think sometimes the friends that are quick to suggest break ups or divorce are either single or unhappy in their own relationships.