If you've seen engagement announcements popping up on Facebook at warp speed lately, you're not alone. 'Tis the season for people to get a ring on it! And thus, 'tis the season for lots of bling bragging. It's enough to make many singles -- and heck, even married -- people want to scream. A hilarious viral photo of one woman's reaction to her friends' engagements actually illustrates the feeling perfectly. Of course we're happy for the newly engaged, but at the same time ... what's the big deal?
That's what HuffPost writer Valerie Alexander wants to know, too. The viral photo struck her as so funny that she felt compelled to write a piece entitled, "Let's Ban Weddings, and While We're at It, Baby Showers, Too." Ha. Her rationale: When it comes to getting married, we're making a mountain out of a mole hill, and when it comes to other more important things, we're not making enough of a mountain!
For example, Alexander asks why we don't go all out and spend $15-45K on a huge bash to celebrate a graduation? Or a new job? A promotion? What if we were excited to say yes to a dress for those milestones in our lives? What if we had reality shows dedicated to those achievements -- instead of saying "I do"? Would more little (and big) girls dream about bigger, more important goals than becoming someone's Mrs.?
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Okay, okay, we've come a long way since women were expected to aspire only to being someone's wife, and of course, in 2013, you can dream about finding and committing your soulmate AND curing cancer or stopping climate change or winning a Pulitzer prize or educating classrooms full of young minds. But we're still thinking in a backasswards way by considering a wedding, or even getting married, an accomplishment. Sorry, but it's not.
Quite honestly, when I was engaged, and even after my husband and I got married this past spring, I was a bit taken aback by our friends and families' congratulations. I get that they were just saying, "We're so happy for you!" but are congratulations really in order? What were we doing that was worthy of that, besides deciding to take our relationship to the next, legally-binding level? What's the achievement in that?
Don't get me wrong. Getting married was fantastic, something I wanted in my heart of hearts, and I am grateful to have found and tied it up with my husband. Our wedding was beautiful, and I am sure I would have done it almost the same if I had to do it all over again. (Though, I would've definitely picked a more comfortable pair of shoes!)
But I don't think getting hitched mattered the way other things my husband and I want to accomplish will. If anything, it's only to be congratulated, because it's the first step toward other things. i.e. Mazel tov on being one step closer to parenthood/becoming homeowners! To me, those are things beget congrats. As will be getting my first book published.
But in a time when big weddings are so common, ridiculously over-hyped, prioritized above marriage itself -- and let's not forget how marriage itself is all too often impermanent! -- getting a ring on it should be the last thing we consider worthy of a pat on the back.
Do you see getting married as an achievement? Do you think it would be better if we celebrated other milestones in the same - or at least a similar - way?
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