Weddings are overrated: Marriage is underrated!
Why do people put so much emphasis on their weddings and forget their marriages?
I feel like weddings bring more contention and insanity than a lot of events in life. People often go wing-ding stark raving crazy over every last detail of the wedding and completely forget why they are getting married in the first place. Isn't this exactly what shouldn't happen?
Weddings are often ridiculously stressful and over-hyped
Having helped prepare for weddings, having had one of my own (though mine wasn't stressful!), and having watched many engaged friends go through it, I have been shocked and appalled at how stressful people make these exciting events. Families, friends, and even couples fight over the decorations, who is paying for what, who is invited, where the venue should be, what the budget is, when it should be, and more.
It seems to me that many people care more about the flowers and the music than the fact that this couple is uniting in the most holy way possible.
The mother-in-law's wedding
I have heard bride after bride complain about their mothers/mother-in-laws taking over their wedding. “You have to do this!” “We can’t have a wedding without that!” (In reality, the only thing you can’t have a wedding without is a bride, a groom, an officiator, and a marriage license!) “We have to invite all of my friends.”
Honestly, some weddings seem almost like a competition of who can throw the biggest show to impress their friends/family. Half the time, the bride and groom don’t even know most of the people there and don’t necessarily even want all of the attention. I know Ross and I didn’t feel like socializing that much at our wedding. Don't get me wrong, we loved sharing the occasion with a few special people in our lives, but we really just wanted to be together.
I know if you step in and tell your mother/mother-in-law to lay off, you might be told how you aren’t letting her plan her own son’s/daughter’s wedding, which she has been planning since the child was in the womb.
A woman once told me that she didn’t like to remember her wedding, because as the bride, her opinions were mostly ignored and it became her mother-in-law’s wedding.
Now one thing I will say for the parents is if they are paying for it, they should have veto power. They should decide the budget, but not the details. For instance, my in-laws funded my wedding (which was a modest wedding), but they didn’t want to pay for the cake I picked out, so we split the bill and I paid the extra amount to have what I wanted. That is fair.
It’s your wedding: you don't have to please everyone
I can’t emphasize this point enough, so I’ll repeat myself. It’s your wedding! You don't have to please everyone. You can invite the people you want, you can have the decorations you want (within budget), and you can do what you want! It’s the one day in your life where everything is about you and your spouse, so make it about you two. The wedding is supposed to celebrate your love and your eternal union. It is about the two of you being happy - so don't make yourself miserable over frivolities.
If the flowers are stressing you out, don’t have flowers! If you want to have pizza, have pizza! If someone will make you uncomfortable by attending, don’t invite them! If they hold that against you for the rest of your life, then they aren’t a good friend, so you shouldn’t be hanging out with them anyway.
It is my opinion that anything that distracts from the love you and your soon-to-be spouse share, should be done away with.
It is heartbreaking to see what kinds of fights people get in over weddings. I’ve watched all sorts of terrible fights that should never have happened. The two families clash like crazy, people regret inviting certain people they felt obligated to invite, even couples fight, and more. Whatever you're fighting over is not more important than your wedding.
It’s your wedding! Do what makes you and your spouse happy!
Negative correlation between spending and lasting marriage
It seems weddings are thought to be “better” if you spend more money. Fortunately, this isn’t true at all!
There is an interesting paper on wedding expenses that uses multivariate regression to discover that high spending on weddings is actually inversely related to the duration of a marriage. It’s not a long read, so I recommend looking at it.
It found that spending $500-$2,000 on the engagement ring is optimal, as going lower or higher increases your risk for divorce. It also decreases your stress over wedding-related debts. (Apparently not having an engagement ring at all also increases your risk of divorce.)
To be specific, it was found in the sample of men that spending $2,000-$4,000 on a ring will give you a 1.3 times greater chance of divorce than those in the $500-$2,000 range. It will also give you around 2 or 3 times the odds of being stressed over wedding-related debts.
It also found that spending $20,000 or more on your wedding is a bad idea, as that also significantly increases your risk for divorce. And don’t freak out here, but there is evidence to show that spending $1,000 or less on your wedding is also associated with longer lasting marriages.
Compared with spending $5,000-$10,000, in the sample of men, it was found that spending less than $1,000 on your wedding gives you half the risk of divorce. And again compared with spending $5,000-$10,000, in the sample of women, it was found that spending $20,000 or more on the wedding is associated with 3.5 times the likelihood of divorce. Both men and women who spend less than $1,000 on their weddings find an 82% to 93% decrease in their odds of being stressed about wedding-related debts than those who spent $5,000-$10,000.
It was also found that larger differences in age and a spouse's looks being a significant part of the decision to marry are significantly associated with a higher hazard of divorce.
However, higher household income, regular attendance of religious services, having a child together, high wedding attendance, and going on a honeymoon (no matter what it costs) are each significantly associated with a lower hazard of divorce.
Statistically ideal wedding scenario
So, the optimal situation is you don’t marry for age or looks, get an engagement ring between $500-$2,000, invite lots of people (who don’t stress you out), have a wedding under $1,000, go on a honeymoon, go to church, and get good careers!
The bottom line: your wedding is not about how much you spend.
You should care more about being married to your best friend than the event
If you are willing to fight with the person you love more than anyone in the world over the celebration of your unity, why are you getting married? It shouldn’t be about the decorations, the family, the friends, the music, lights, and all of that. Those are nice, but the central focus should be on the two of you.
You’re marrying the person, not the event!
Growing up, I wanted a really fancy wedding. I had so many plans and I had most everything figured out. Then I actually fell in love (though I prefer to call it "grew in love"). When Ross and I decided to get married, I didn’t care about the glitz and glamour anymore: I just wanted to be married to my beloved Ross. He was my focus. There were elements I cared about, like getting pictures, having a Precious Moments cake topper (I won't even start explaining why this was so perfect for us!), a pretty cake, and a gardenia in my bouquet, but nothing outshone my desire to be one with Ross.
He and I joked several times about eloping during that time. The wedding wasn’t as important to us as our marriage.
In the end, the wedding is only one day
I had close family that I didn’t invite to my wedding because they mistreated us. To this day, they're still mad at us (I don’t regret my decision to not invite them and have met other people who wished they had done the same at their weddings), but I never understood why people are willing to give up a lifetime of connection with a couple over missing one day.
When one of my best friends got married, we discussed my invitation and concluded that it would be best if I didn't go. I was really sad and it bothered me that I didn't get to see that new exciting chapter begin with my friend. I understand that we like to be there for beginnings. Nonetheless, I got over it. Do I wish I could have been there? Of course. But I know the best days are yet to come, and those don’t have to be missed.
In the end, the wedding is only one day of your life. It is beautiful and precious, but there are many more to come. If things don’t go perfectly at your wedding, it is not dooming you to a lifetime of sorrow (I don’t know why people seem to think that’s the case). Simply brush it off and make your future brighter.
Why are people excited about weddings, but not marriage?
What I really don’t understand is why people love weddings, but somehow discourage marriage. People love to joke about relationship problems, like nagging wives, lazy husbands, the good old days before they were married, and bad love lives. People seem to think that your relationship is an exciting budding thing that leads up to the grand finale of the wedding, and then you have to endure the grind of marriage for the rest of your life. Bachelor and bachelorette parties seem to convey the meaning that you want to be unfaithful one last time before you’re “tied down”. (Why do you still want to do that if you're in love?)
What a miserable perspective! To think that the climax of life is the first day of your marriage.
Marriage is every day after the wedding
In my opinion, marriage is the most beautiful and wonderful institution ever. I tend to obsess over it. It gives life meaning and has many health, financial, and quality of life benefits. There are much deeper connections to be found in marriage. It is truly the most beautiful experience I have ever had in my life.
Marriage is about coming home to your spouse, texting during the day, staying up late talking to each other, going on walks together, praying together, crying together, laughing together, and just being together.
Marriage can truly be greater than the sum of its parts.
The wedding day isn’t the best day of your life (at least I hope it isn't!)
My wedding day was beautiful and wonderful. It was simple and elegant. We only had 15 people there, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I’ll never forget the love in Ross’s eyes on that day, and honestly one of the reasons is because I see that same love and devotion from him on a regular basis. We were so happy and in love on that day, but we’ve become happier and more in love as time has gone by together.
If your wedding day was the best day of your life, please start focusing on your marriage and nurturing it. Life should get better! Yes, you do have to deal with adult life and the daily grind, but there are many precious moments that can be had every single day.
Ross and I have had the most amazing experiences together since our wedding and we’ve only become more connected. We goof off together, have a million inside jokes, we’re more comfortable sharing our thoughts and feelings, and we spend every minute we can together. It is beautiful and I cherish it.
Marriage is like having daily sleepovers with your best friend!
Marriage should last forever
In my faith, we believe that marriage lasts forever. It is an institution ordained by God to continue through eternity. When Ross and I were married, it was not for as long as we live or until death, but for time and all eternity. And I am so glad to have that comfort of knowing that I don’t only get this fragile life to be with my most beloved.
“[M]arriage can be, more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person.” - Spencer W. Kimball
Marriage truly is a more exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. I have obsessed over marriage my whole life (I dare you to find someone who is a bigger fan of marriage than me - I want to talk to them!), and my greatest wish has always been to have the most beautiful, eternal marriage possible.
And honestly, my marriage turned out better than I hoped. Of course Ross and I have problems and are imperfect, but every day provides more evidence as to why we are perfect for each other. I am so thankful for his kindness and love he has shown as well as his belief in and love for our marriage. It is truly the greatest blessing in my life.
Sorry the first part of this was a bit rant-like, but it’s something I am incredibly passionate about, as I think marriage is incredibly underrated in our society, but somehow we overrate weddings and forget their true purpose.
My challenge to you is to watch the marriage seminar by Mark Gungor. It is amazing. My husband and I are watching it for the 5th time. It is incredibly insightful and a wonderful reminder of how to be more understanding of your spouse, and to improve your relationship.
If you don’t have time to watch this (I strongly encourage you to make time), then at least think about your spouse for a few minutes and think about several things you absolutely adore and admire about them. Try to bring at least one of those points up today!