I recently read an article on CNN called ‘Narcissists want weddings, not marriage.’ The article discusses the hoopla around the Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries marriage (and now impending divorce) and how it relates to narcissism. Since Kim Kardashian’s announcement of a divorce after 72 days of marriage, I have read plenty of articles and blog posts on narcissism and weddings. As a recent newlywed and having gone through the process of figuring out how my husband and I wanted to honor our union, I had my own musings and observations I wanted to share pertaining to this topic.
The articles I read point out that a downfall to relationships is when the major focus is on the wedding celebration as opposed to what a marriage really is (i.e. compromise, trust and work). The wedding industry has evolved into a massive money making business. Vendors can charge prices at a higher rate simply because it’s a “wedding.” Dresses costing thousands of dollars are now necessities. The need to have the “best” or most “unique” wedding is pervasive. More commonly, I hear people doing things for their weddings, not because they want them but because the wedding industry tells you that you should. Who dictates that a bride has to wear a white gown from a prestigious bridal boutique? Why do people need centerpieces and little favors in order to have a complete wedding? What truly saddens me though, is when I hear people talk about the overwhelming amount of stress that comes with planning a wedding. Finding the person you want to commit to for the rest of your life and celebrating that should be the least stressful time in your life and ideally should be filled with gratitude and joy. That’s when I took notice that as a culture we are moving further away from the beauty of marriage and more towards the phenomenon of the wedding.
Kim Kardashian’s wedding was the most obvious example of a wedding just to have a wedding. The focus was always on the wedding and not the commitment and partnership that would soon follow. Furthermore, there was no emphasis on what it actually entails when creating a real life with another person. The title of the TV show nuptials was “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding” and not “Kim’s Fairytale Marriage.” This type of wedding and “fantasy” has perpetuated much of the stress and anxiety that many brides (and grooms) feel when planning the wedding because they not only feel pressure to have a perfect day but some also come to feel entitled to it. When entitlement happens, unnecessary demands and burdens (financial and emotional) are placed on others and some irreparable damage happens to friendships and family relationships. What really matters at the end of the day is the actual marriage and relationship between two people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a wedding to publicly celebrate a beautiful commitment between two people. The problem is when people lose sight of the gratitude for simply finding their partner in life. There are so many uncertainties and hardships we will all face inevitably at some point in our lifetime and what is most important is the love and support we have in our lives. If you’ve found that love and support, you’re so lucky. Embrace that and enjoy it to the fullest because real love is a rare gift and it’s the most beautiful one you will ever receive.