So my son has told me recently that he is now engaged to his girlfriend and that got me thinking again about weddings and marriage. Something I have done quite often as I have been married twice and I am the offspring of divorced parents.. Also when I was a theologian (before I was a psychologist) I had very strong views on remarriage, especially with regards to the church. Marriage and the wedding service have undergone many transformations in the last 20 to 30 years and as of today the URC are now marrying same-sex couples in church – so it shouldn’t be long before the Anglican church follows suit! There are no ends of different venues where you can get married too. With this age of supposed equality one of the thorny issues can be about surnames – she may not want to take his name and he may not want to lose his family name, so double barreled is often the answer, but then what are their children going to do? There will quite often be more speeches at weddings now too, as the mother of the bride may want to say something as well as the father and the bride herself of course – it’s not only men who can make good speeches.Women don’t always want to wear white either – after all the only virgins in the place will probably be the child bridesmaids! And it certainly seems that the veil is often not worn now, quite rightly. But what about the meaning of the service:- is it just a legal document? In which case a civil partnership would be enough, or is it just an outmoded piece of theatre (as my father told me when I first became engaged); or is it a sacrament ?Or….
The author Elizabeth Gilbert (who wrote “Eat, Pray, Love”, which was made into a film starring Julia Roberts) has also written a book about marriage, which I found helpful when preparing for my second marriage; (yes preparation is more than just choosing the menu and flowers – it is a commitment and therefore should not be undertaken lightly i.e. don’t listen to the words of the Bruno Mars song!) It’s called “Committed:a skeptic makes peace with marriage” and as well as being personal it was well researched. It seems the best marriages are those undertaken when you are older i.e. in your thirties or forties, so the present trend of having the children first is not such a bad one. Marriages and weddings seem to work best when there is equal interest and commitment from both parties, so maybe one day we’ll have a service for heterosexuals when it is the groom who walks down the aisle!! Or….