Weddings are dangerous. Think about it. People making promises you know they are going to break, others falling under the spell of the magic that is the ceremony and pop a question they had no intention of asking before. And stuff–namely the garter and bridal bouquet–are thrown at people to encourage them to be the next one to take that trip down the aisle.
Don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled that people are still committed to the institution of marriage especially the younger generation. They seem to hold hope that they won’t join the 51 per cent of couples who get divorced. I’ll borrow some famous words from Jesse Jackson, “Keep hope alive!”
The minister, at the wedding I attended recently, spoke eloquently about the keys to a successful marriage being the need for the couple to trust, respect, support and most important, for them to be able to forgive each other for transgressions that will undoubtedly occur. As he said those words, I could see some of the married folks shifting uncomfortably in their seats–except of course for those who obviously were recently married and those who have been married so long they stopped counting the years. The newly weds were holding hands and beaming at each like lovesick teenagers and the long married couples were holding hands as a sign of quiet reinforcement. By the end of the evening, the newly wedded couples could be heard talking about renewing their vows while some of the not-as-long-married folks were arguing about why their wedding wasn’t as beautiful, or arguing about who is drinking too much, or throwing the minister’s words back and forth at each other like poisonous darts.
And the single people were the most vulnerable. If they came with their significant others they continuously fielded the “So, when are you two getting married?” question. Of course it came in all its various forms, “I guess that makes you two next.”, “He hasn’t asked you yet?!” and the famous “So, what are you waiting for?” The poor dears! Then to make matters worse, they line up all the single men and women and have them fight to catch the garter and bridal bouquet–as if they were truly prizes–because now all eyes are on you and so is the pressure to be “next”.
And therein lies the danger. It’s in the illusion and the expectations it creates for the guests. We are meant to buy in to the specialness of the moment and to believe that we too can find Mr. or Miss Right and have the fairytale wedding. Reality though is a bitch with PMS. Most women pass a certain age won’t get married especially since we outnumber men almost 3 to 1 these days. And if you are a Black woman, your odds increase to 5 to 1 if your spouse has to be a Black man. I won’t go into all the reasons for that in this particular post but watch for it soon. And so while garters and bouquets are thrown around to give you some luck, your odds don’t get any better and the illusion is still just that.
I’ll admit that the wedding was beautiful and if I had not flown solo, I too might have fallen under the magical spell and looked at my date with “marry me” eyes. The couple looked truly happy and it wasn’t hard to hold hope that they will be among the 49 per cent that make it to “until death do us part”.
At the end of the day, we must go forward with hope and not backward by fear and division. – Jesse Jackson
These are interesting times.
C. Carol Brown