It’s spring and we all know what that means: it’s bride season. I am always amazed at the amount of television shows that revolve around brides: Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezillas Wedding Challenge, Wedding Planners and even The Bachelor.
What interests me the most is the overstated emphasis on the surface features of a wedding: the venue, gown, food, flowers and party favors. The last thing on anyone’s mind is the actual wedding, much less the marriage that follows.
There’s a popular phrase that all women want weddings, but none want husbands. Of course this isn’t true, and it’s offensive to say the least. But when little girls are reading fairy tales that end with a wedding and a “Happily Ever Ever,” what message are they getting?
When young girls dream of their gowns and their bouquets, the stage is already set. When the wedding scene in a movie is the high point, we are still getting the same message, even as adults. This “Happily Ever After” idea says that a wedding is the most important milestone in a woman’s life; sustaining a healthy marriage is not.
All the programs I mentioned highlight the bride in the most negative light: a selfish, ruthless drama queen with the singular ambition of inconveniencing everyone around her.
She spends too much money, makes too many demands, spends too much time arguing and seems to hate the people who disagree with her.
I’ve never seen any follow up programs that follow the couple through their married life. My guess is that it would present the same negative image.
What we have here is a double edged sword: a woman is supposed to revere and honor her wedding as the pivotal moment in her adulthood. Yet she approaches the most important event in her life as that same six-year-old girl reading fairy tales. She forgets that maintaining a happy marriage is a daily commitment.
She still believes that the “Happily Ever After” will happen all by itself, while the wedding is what takes all the work. Not only that, it reinforces the joke about wanting the wedding and not the husband. This is not a kind or charitable view of the woman as the bride. But many woman fall into this way of thinking. Why is this?
While I can’t answer why, I can suggest what to do about it. Turn off the TV and ignore the fairytale view of marriage.
Instead look at marriage with the understanding that the relationship will take work, commitment, sacrifice and love. Remember that this is an adult venture, and a decision that an adult should make with full awareness of what happens after the “Happily Ever After.”