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. And I’m not talking about genders! Marriage has somehow become less important than the wedding. And this highlights the harsh reality that marriage isn’t for everyone.
I grew up as a product of divorce. So, I know what it’s like to be an unwilling eyewitness to “marriage gone wrong.” Whether it’s incompatible personalities or goals, you need more than a couture dress to ensure a successful marriage. And truth be told, being a match on paper is hardly insurance against divorce — I saw that firsthand with my own parents as well. I think that in some aspects, what has caused a semi-decline in marriage (or interest in it) in the new millennia is the unrealistic emphasis on the fairytale wedding with the happily-ever-after trope.
I feel we’ve reached a low in society where we’re so collectively focused on presenting a perfect image to the world versus investing in sustainable relationships, that things like true compatibility or aligned long-term goals with your spouse don’t factor heavily into the picture before marriage. As a bridal expert, I see numerous readers liking my pictures on my website or Instagram and focusing more on finding the dress, even if they’re not in an actual relationship or are dating a place-filler, versus someone who could be the one. But you don’t marry a dress; you marry a person.
Marriage, much like anything else worth having in life, takes work. No, every day shouldn’t be a sentence to the salt mines, but you need to be prepared for the days when the love of your life acts like a jerk. You need to be committed to the concept that you won’t turn tail and run for the hills at the first sign of trouble. And most importantly, before you say “I do” or ask “Will You,” you need to know whom you’re marrying.
In many ways, I am one of those millennial statistics. My husband and I are both '80s babies who spent most of our 20s living together before getting married at the age of 31. Even though this went against my conservative Evangelical upbringing or my husband’s Catholic background, we’re both extremely glad that we lived together before seriously considering marriage. It gave us the chance to get to know each other at our best, worst and everything in between. So, when we walked down the aisle, there was no surprise after “I do”. If I could give every first time bridal couple advice, it would be – LIVE TOGETHER FIRST. Everyone’s awesome when you don’t go home to them. But see how you gel first…then consider if Mr./Ms. Right Now is marriage material.