Rich Bride/Poor Bride, Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress. Those 3 titles say it all to me – our society is obsessed with weddings and it seems to be permeating into failed marriages because we put more thought into our wedding day than our marriage. Girls aren’t being taught how to actually build a happily ever after but being taught that if it doesn’t work out, you can start all over again.
Now that you’ve heard my simplified opinion on the matter, I asked some of my favourite female bloggers to tell me what we as a society teach girls about marriage and what we SHOULD be teaching girls about marriage.
Brita of Belle Brita
Life is hard. Illness, job loss, death, financial struggles, abusive people–we all face difficulties at times, regardless of our relationship status. I’ve heard that marriage is hard, but I think of it differently. Marriage is two people dealing with the challenges of life together. Thus your spouse’s challenges will affect you, but your spouse should also ease the burden of your own difficulties. “For better or for worse” shouldn’t just mean that you’ll stick together during the bad times, but that you’ll work together, as a team, to make those bad times better. My own marriage has faced a lifetime of stressful events in just our first two years, but my husband and I have supported each other through it all. My marriage makes my life easier, not harder.
Amanda of The Literary Counsellor
I think we need to teach girls that getting married isn’t automatically going to change their relationship into something magical, and that they shouldn’t look at the wedding day as an end goal. No one talks about what happens after, when the cake is eaten and the honeymoon is over. It’s not just about adding a Mrs to your name. It’s about sharing the same space, cleaning up after each other, having difficult conversations, being supportive even when you think your spouse might be making a bad decision, compromising on things you never thought you could or would, and facing problems together as a team. And while putting on matching rings isn’t going to change either of you, you are going to change as the years go on and hopefully you like who the other person becomes but it isn’t always guaranteed.
Sara of Mrs. Imperfect
Girls grow up on a steady diet of fairy tales, popular movies, and romance novels that portray the romance leading up to the wedding, but usually don’t show the actual marriage. Marriage is so much more than the romantic moments and being swept off your feet with the feelings of love. True love and as a result, a successful marriage endure even when things get tough. Divorce has become so commonplace in our society that the assumption is that it is the easy out for when things do get tough, or things go “stale.” Marriage can be hard work, but when you love your significant other and are invested in the relationship, you want to put in that work. Sometimes it won’t even feel like work.
Marriage doesn’t have to be the end of romance, though. It doesn’t have to be the end of excitement, laughter, and sparks. There is nothing better than waking up every morning to the person that you plan on spending the rest of your life with. And learning that you can fall more and more in love with them as time passes and your relationship matures and grows. Having someone to share all your smiles, successes, tears, and disappointments with is pretty magical in its own way.
Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
The media and society would have women believe that getting married ties them down. They tell girls to complete their education, see the world and have a career first because once you’re married, you are a wife and a mom and won’t get to do your own things. The truth is, if you marry a spouse who supports you and your endeavors (which they should), you can do all of those things and more, no matter your life situation! I started my college degree (after receiving my cosmetology license), two months before I met my husband. Throughout our marriage, he has encouraged me to continue pursuing my education, even when I’ve been tempted to quit. I’ve been able to complete my degree because of his support emotionally, financially, and this past year since we’ve had our son, physically. I honestly never would have been able to do it without him! Beyond my education, he’s supported me traveling, pursuing my own personal hobbies, and more. Sure, marriage can tie you down, if you aren’t willing to support each other in the things that you want to do. But marriage will open doors that weren’t previously available to you because you have someone who is invested in your future as an individual and as a couple and who will push you to be your best and live your dreams!
Camille of Friday We’re in Love
I think movies and society places such an emphasis on physical attraction in relationship and marriage that it comes across as the most important thing. My mom always said, “Looks will fade, but smarts won’t!” As usual, she was right! It’s amazing how it is important to have attraction, but that means so much more than physical. We should be teaching girls that attraction includes a mental, emotional, and a spiritual level as well. You really need to be friends, you need to be supported in your hopes and dreams (and able to support their hopes and dreams too!), and you should be able to connect on your beliefs and levels of spirituality. All these things only help build physical attraction, and should be the foundation for your marriage!
Charlene of Enduring All Things
Our society today teaches girls, and really boys too, that marriage is not the sacred union that it once was. I’ve heard teenagers say “That guy would make a great first husband.” First husband?! I could hardly believe it. When you get married, you vow to love and cherish your spouse for better or for worse until death parts you. That vow means nothing in today’s society. People are almost expected to get divorced. We have very selfish attitudes toward marriage and as soon as we aren’t happy anymore, we just get out and move on. But marriage can be so great! It can be mutually beneficial. We should be teaching young girls that it’s very possible to create a happy marriage that lasts until death. But they have to go in with the attitude that they chose to love their spouse forever. Even when they don’t feel like it in the future. Marriage is about going through life as a team. It’s not about what the other person can do for you and having all your needs met. It’s about meeting each others’ needs and being there for them through it all. Being a wife is not a passive thing. It’s something you have to work on every day but it is so worth it.
Marley of Marley Justine
Of all the things I think we should be teaching girls about marriage, there are three that stand out from all the rest. First and foremost, I think we need to teach girls that marriage is a choice, not an obligation. Marriage is not something you have to enter into because you’re an adult, it is not something you have to enter into because you’ve been with a partner for a certain amount of time, or even something you must enter into because you love someone. Second, despite how often you get asked the question, “When are you having kids?”, just like marriage itself, what comes next is a choice. And third, I think we should be teaching girls the difference between a ‘wedding day’ and a ‘marriage’. Growing up, I always thought I wanted, or more accurately, needed a grand, expensive, fairy tale wedding and when I first got engaged, this is exactly what I tried to plan. Looking back, the best decision we made while planning our wedding was to keep our wedding day simple and intimate and to celebrate our marriage with a five-week honeymoon.
Chelsea of The New Wifestyle
now that i am halfway through my pregnancy and we found out it’s a little girl – i am hypersensitive to just how much socialization influences many our deepest thoughts and views. in terms of what i plan to teach her about marriage (and every other child i come in contact with), i could fill book after book because it’s something i am so passionate about. since i’m not writing a book here, i shall pick the area that i feel can influence many other areas of a relationship. when it comes to teaching girls in our society about marriage, i believe the biggest factor is that a marriage is partnership. her dreams, her aspirations, her thoughts, her hobbies, her whole self matters just as much as her spouse’s do and there needs to be mutual room for both person’s needs to be met. i also want young girls to know that if something doesn’t quite sit right and just because it appears as though ‘every other couple does it this way,’ that she (along with her spouse) has the power to make her own choice and not live by anyone’s expectations. i want every little girl to know that marriage should be something that empowers her, to choose a partner who encourages her best self and to seek happiness together!
Hannah of With Love in Mind
Marriage does not ‘tie you down’…in fact, a good marriage can liberate you. Society and popular culture seems to hammer home the somewhat humorous cliché that getting married ties a couple down. The old ‘ball and chain’ routine. But in fact, being married to someone who shares your ambitions, and your dreams, can help you to achieve them, perhaps even better than you could on your own – and sometimes they can be all the more fulfilling experienced together. If you want to travel the world, find a spouse who wants to travel it with you. If you want to try your hand at writing a book, find a spouse who will support you and encourage you even when you want to give up. We don’t have to sell out on our dreams the minute we get married. In fact, marriage can be a great way of creating new dreams together.
So tell me, what other truths about marriage are being lost in our society? How do you teach girls in your life(or your daughters!) about marriage?