Wedding season is here, and while we're digging out those garden-party dresses, we're also reflecting upon the ancient institution of marriage and its place in modern society. Though pundits across the Internet endlessly speculate that marriage is falling out of fashion, it's a tradition that still holds huge meaning for many of us. It's true. The importance of marriage to each of us (and its very definition) is changing...but what makes most of us get hitched? From atypical arrangements to decades of wedded bliss, we gathered a handful of voices to find out what marriage looks like to women the world over in 2015.
I love weddings! This goes without saying since I’m a bridal expert and founder of the bridal inspiration site, The Anti Bridezilla. And, I’m also married. But as much as I love weddings, and fully support marriage equality, I’m also the first to say that the concept of marriage today versus the past has changed drastically.
My husband likes to say that I’m the most well-adjusted child of divorce he’s ever met. His rationale: I don’t have daddy issues. I don’t have a fear of commitment. I wasn’t one of those kids who romanticized their parents' relationship, and I never secretly wished they would get back together.
Women have changed their last names from their father’s to their new husband’s — a tradition that used to symbolize the transfer of “property” from one man to another. That property, of course, was the virgin bride. Many people will argue that it no longer has that implication, but for me, as a feminist, partaking in a tradition that is so rooted in the literal oppression of women is something that left an incredibly bad taste in my mouth.
I would have thought getting married and divorced would give me some kind of insight into marriage, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned through it all is that humans are terrible at predicting how we will feel, and I’m no exception.
My husband and I went through several drafts of our wedding vows, but none of them included a promise to “forsake all others.” We have been polyamorous since we met, meaning that we sometimes have romantic or sexual relationships with multiple partners.
It has been 18 years since we got married and in our first visible act of equality in our relationship, we both hyphenated our names, taking each other’s last name. From the very beginning, as we attempted to define what we wanted in our marriage working primarily from knowing what we didn’t want, we determined a foundation on which to build.
Unfortunately, I participated in the cultural phenomenon now known as the “starter marriage,” having tied the knot with my college boyfriend in my early 20s. This marriage lasted only a year. My flakiness caused it to end quickly, but the mismatch between us was irreconcilable anyway.