On the value of marriage (and parties)

posted by Jeff | Thursday, July 23, 2009, 4:31 PM | comments: 5

Tyler doesn't think much of the wedding in the video below, as he said in his blog post. Specifically he says, "I want to say that making a production like this in a church is evidence that the couple doesn’t value the true meaning of marriage." Assume for a moment that he didn't want to say it, and actually did say it.

Personally, I think it's awesome, and I'll tell you why. There are a hundred stupid traditions that people adhere to for weddings. I don't have a problem with that, and what's stupid to me may not be to other people. That there's some connection between what you do at your wedding and how you value marriage is absurd to me. I had the completely traditional and "normal" wedding first time around, I loved my wife dearly (and always will, if in a different context), and took very seriously what was going on. You know what? We still ended up splitting.

The "meaning of marriage" is whatever you make it. And for some, it's living out your life in a miserable existence. For some it's sharing your life with the ultimate co-pilot. Whatever it is, it is your own, and I think Tyler is making a strong judgment against anyway who sees it differently. To the extent that I know him and Beth, I can understand his strong convictions though, because they're a pair that seem to get it right, meeting very early in life, and that's his experience. I think if I had met Diana in high school or college and we would've hooked up then, I'd probably feel the same way (not likely... we were both incredibly different people then).

As for tradition, well, you know how our wedding turned out, and if you weren't there, you saw it through Tyler's eyes in photographs. We didn't have a church, or clergy, or shoes. And we had one hell of a party on a boat. Now I wish we had choreographed dance moves. :)

I think marriage is a party. I try to celebrate it every day. Marriage being a serious commitment and marriage being a party are not mutually exclusive concepts. That these cats could get their friends and family together to do something truly memorable and different is top notch. Aside from the vows, weddings are a show for other people as far as I'm concerned. I had a friend just get married, with a very similar relationship history to my own, and she eloped. Everyone rolls their own way.

As an aside, the "in a church" part of Tyler's comment also spurred another thought... that if so much of church the way I experienced it wasn't so much like a weekly funeral, perhaps I'd still go. Religion that focuses on you being a sinner piece of shit is incompatible with faith that brings you great joy for life. That's a post or another day, I suspect.


Jeff, July 23, 2009, 4:37 PM #

Saw this in the related video column... man can that chubby guy move. Awesome.

Walt, July 23, 2009, 5:30 PM #

I think I get where Tyler is coming from. For some, there does seem to be a disproportional focus on planning for the wedding versus planning for the marriage. I'm not we can judge anyone for dancing down the aisle, though. Without any other context, it's harmless. I personally loved it, especially in relation to the idea of not always doing the expected.

As far as church is concerned, there really has been some promising developments in what church is and how Christians practice their faith. As someone who went to church every Sunday, it's kind of fascinating to see how views on worship have changed over 30 years. But not only that, but also how we as Christians should practice our faith.

I think one part of that has been the emerging church (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerging_church). One guy who comes to mind - and someone I think you could really appreciate - is Rob Bell. You should check out his stuff at http://robbell.com.

I subscribe to Relevant Magazine, which falls in line with this progressive view of Christianity. The current issue just happens to feature Zooey Deschanel on the cover. You can view it online. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/magazine/current-issue

Even here in Cleveland, there are churches that are most definitely not like a funeral. A great example is Gateway Church, which meets on Sunday mornings at Pickwick and Frollic. http://gatewaycleveland.com

Carrie, July 23, 2009, 5:51 PM #

Yeah, I also get where Tyler may have been coming from. To me, it's not so much how they chose to get married. It's more that it appeared as though they were making fun of a formal tradition.

In other words, if you don't want to do something traditional, then don't choose a traditional venue. Go somewhere else and do it up anyway you want.

For me, it sort of touches on that same concept we talked about with interviews and such. It's ok to do whatever you want. It's not ok to expect everyone else in any context to conform to the way you want to do it.

Jeff, July 23, 2009, 6:03 PM #

This is the problem with syndicating to Facebook... everything ends up in two places! But as I said there...

I am slightly familiar with the "emerging" church concept, Walt. I've seen plenty of criticism toward it claiming that it caters to people who want something more self-serving, which is bullshit if you ask me since if religion doesn't serve you, what's the point?

I don't find it disrespectful at all. Who is it supposed to be disrespectful toward? God? Does God not want people to dance? Is dancing immoral? I think Kevin Bacon did a movie about that once.... Read More

Remember, dogmatic ideology over religion is responsible for 90% of the conflict in human history. Deciding for others what is best when it comes to religion is ultimately a failure.

JBB, July 23, 2009, 6:44 PM #

A wedding is a ceremony. A marriage is something completely different. And the wedding, if you're doing it right, shouldn't contribute more than about 1% to how the the marriage turns out.

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