72. Marriage: Marriage For Many – Is About Growing Up.
Often you may see sayings that suggest that you should ‘Never Grow Up’, or ‘Never Grow Up It’s A Trap’ or even that ‘Adulthood is Overrated’, and so on.
Although these sentiments may seem clever at first, over the years I have realised that these kind of messages are not helpful.
These images usually denigrate the achievement of what it means to become an adult.
Adulthood is something that many children and teenagers constantly aspire to. Yet when we become adults – these sayings or epigrams subtly tell us that adulthood is exaggerated and just hyped-up.
There is of course a big difference between remaining young in spirit whilst growing older, compared to negating adulthood all together – which many of these epigrams do.
Yet we often dismiss or forget the powerful rituals celebrated in today’s society. The Bar Mitzvah or the Confirmation ceremonies are celebrations, that help give teenagers a recognition of their coming of age and their new place within society.
Part of becoming an adult should require that we eventually become independent from our parents and that we look forward to becoming responsible for ourselves. This usually includes having fun, travelling, seeing the world, developing a career, finding new friends and building relationships. Usually this also involves paying the mortgage, the rent, the bills and possibly even supporting families and our children too.
Being and becoming an adult often means that we are also free to make our own choices, as a result of what we will have been taught both at home and at school. And as we develop fully into adulthood, this should provide us with a sense of achievement and a feeling of satisfaction and confidence.
Then as we mature there is another hurdle to overcome – marriage.
Choosing the right partner, deciding whom to marry, falling in love, choosing the type of wedding both parties are reasonably happy with, and then telling and inviting friends and families to the wedding, preparing a home – is all part of another important ritual that celebrates adulthood.
In many societies, marriage is seen as the ultimate symbol of maturity and responsibility.
And it is often seen as a union or extension of two families coming together so as to lay the foundation for the couple and possibly their children too.
The celebration or wedding, is then usually witnessed and shared with friends and families.
When I was training as a relationship therapist, I was told that statistically marriages that celebrate their union via a traditional wedding, with friends and families present as witnesses – usually last longer than sudden or secretive elopements and so on.
Because the fear of telling friends and family that your marriage has failed often creates a massive incentive to triumph and succeed.
But not everybody chooses the path of marriage.
Many prefer to remain single and independent – but this does not preclude being responsible.
Yet many who remain single are still frowned upon within certain societies.
Men and women often find that even today, married couples far more respected than even unmarried couples. This is mainly due to the rituals within society and certain religions which prefer that couples unite in marriage.
The idea of marriage is taught to us very early on, often via various fairy tale stories and through witnessing those around us connect in this union.
These rituals are often buried deep within our unconscious. And wearing a white or pink virginal wedding dress remains a fantasy for many women.
Even the media sells more magazines of weddings and indeed celebrity weddings, as we all watch and look to see will marry whom – and what dress the bride will wear.
Becoming an adult is a Rite of Passage and for some – marriage is part of that ritual.
For many, their wedding day remains the highlight of their lives. And the bride often radiates in a kind of splendour – that many report they never ever feel again.
And hopefully the couple will remain in love or for many others, they will at least develop a closeness and a friendship that will stand them in good stead throughout their marriage.
In the West, besides love and rituals, there are also practical reasons for a couple to marry. And I repeat what I wrote in the previous blog:
Why do people marry?
1) For better financial security.
2) Less income tax.
3) Pension perks.
4) Insurance benefits.
5) Inheritance tax benefits.
6) You have more rights in most countries as a married partner or parent.
7) In most countries, if you do get divorced you and your children will have more rights.
8) Marriage changes how people view you: In many cultures marriage is seen as a natural progression from young adulthood into mature adulthood as you get honoured and respected for becoming an adult and taking on responsibility.
9) Confidence and security gained via a standing or recognition within society.
10) Long-term companionship and friendship, which often creates better mental health.
11) In some countries you will gain a better social and religious acceptance.
12) It is easier to bring up kids within a family environment – often with both parents present.
Reading though this list, one is once again reminded of all the responsibilities that growing up involves.
We can either denigrate these achievements or we can celebrate them.
It is up to you.
But remember that Chuck Palahniuk once wrote that, ‘The price of greatness is often through responsibility’ – whatever that may mean for you.
© 2017 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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