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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for Truth: Drive-thru marriage

Published: April 18, 2008
Section: Opinions

What does marriage mean in modern American society? I remember when I was younger, little girls would watch Disney movies believing that the Prince was a real person. But with age comes wisdom and you come to learn that no one is perfect and life is more exciting that way. But what happened to that fantasy marriage ideal and why are we lacking it now?

Nowadays, marriage is no longer the romanticized ideal it once was. Instead, it is a matter of convenience, an impulse decision, or the finale episode of a contestant show on TV. The American society has a pretty loose view of marriage and what was once a fairytale is now a say hello to your spouse as you run off to work kind of thing.

Marriage has become trivialized and has become something of convenience or an ideal from the past that no one can reach. It seems like today marriage is what people do when they get pregnant out of wedlock or something they take a spur of the moment trip to Vegas for.

In a recent Boston Globe article, the decline in marriages was discussed. Why are less people marrying? Certainly there must be some correlation to the culture, right? In a society where marriage is more of an industry and is idealized for the commercial aspect, love seems to be an afterthought.

Don’t be fooled, I will totally be insane when I get married and go on a giant shopping spree as all who know me best will tell you, but shouldn’t the actual wedding be the thing you think about second to the actual marriage? Call me crazy, but it seems like the actual marriage is an afterthought and people don’t realize what they’ve gotten themselves into. People think it’s all cakes and dresses, and then the honeymoon’s over and voila, what did you get yourself into? Women are portrayed as Bridezillas and there is even a show by the same name.

Not to judge, but what are people thinking? Seriously, why do some people get married so quickly? If you can read or interpret data, you should see that marriages that aren’t thought out aren’t likely to last. Call me old fashioned, but I always figured that it would take a relationship longer than a month or two for a couple to get engaged and married. But with all of these ridiculous ‘find your mate’ type shows like the Bachelor and Tila Tequila, what has American society done to ‘marriage?’

I admit it, I’m guilty of having watched a few of these shameless shows in the past, but now I just look at them with disgust. How can anyone expect to find love on a television show? And how does the added pressure of having your relationship filmed affect things? Have we all forgotten what happened to Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey?

Some may make the argument that going on TV to find your husband is sort of like a blind date where you’re set up with some random person. But most of the time, blind dates involve a friend of a friend who you trust won’t turn out to be some psycho. And sure, blind dates have turned out to make for some great marriages, but love on TV? As far as I recall, there was only one relationship of this type that actually is still going-Trista and Ryan from the first Bachelorette. And that was after her relationship failed on the Bachelor.

The media idealizes celebrity marriages and fights for the rights to wedding photos, but sooner than later they’re fighting to report the latest celebrity divorce. Don’t you think this says something? Why hold marriage up to such an ideal when you’re only setting it up to come crashing down? Let people get married in peace and maybe then we’ll have a better public track record where marriage longevity is concerned.

Surely there are some Hollywood marriages that are stable and last, but many of them are mere publicity stints that don’t last. Why do we pay so much attention when Britney Spears has a 55 hour marriage? Is that the best news we can find and is that really representative of the American society?

Marriage should be something we take seriously and should not be vulnerable to cultural influence. It has the potential to be a great thing, but only if we stop to take the time to appreciate it. Sure, everyone’s busy with their careers and lives, but families and relationships take work and shouldn’t be treated like a right.

America needs to stop taking marriage for granted, or else they’ll soon learn that the honeymoon’s over!