Weddings and marriage are a common topic among girl friends, but what (if any) difference is there between how generations view the subject?
- My mom, age 59, married 38 years.
- Erin, age 35, married for 10 years.
- Bill, age 28, married for one year.
- Elise, age 25, going to be married in one year.
What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word 'wedding'?
Mom: Church ceremony. It's a sacrament.
Erin: That's exciting! I always think of fun because I love love, so it's exciting because two people are in love.
Elise: Love and the dress.
What is a wedding?
Mom: A bride, a groom, the priest, and your closest family and friends.
Erin: The joining of two people with a party afterward.
Bill: The union of two people with a celebration of that union.
Elise: Defined by the dictionary, it is the union of two entities into one.
What's your favorite part of a wedding?
Mom: When the bride walks down the aisle with her dad going to meet her groom at the altar. It's symbolic of handing over to the soon-to-be husband.
Erin: The vows.
Bill: The reception. That's the fun part.
Elise: The actual ceremony.
What do you not like about weddings?
Mom: That they've gotten so over the top, expensive, themed, and trendy. You have to have a wedding planner and all that stuff now.
Erin: Now, it's all about the wedding. It's not necessarily about the union of people anymore, it's about the party. I hear a lot of people regret things from their wedding, like that they spent too much money on flowers and thinking that something was a big deal when it's not. You and the person you're marrying are the biggest deal. When It used to just be the basic stuff, there weren't open bars, and now we're serving lobster and champagne at every table.
Bill: All of the unnecessary stress and pressure that gets put on the couple to please everyone going to the wedding. It should be about the two people getting married.
Elise: All of the stress that goes into the day, like it's hyped up to be this huge thing and it should be a lot of fun and no one should be stressed. Crowded with people too.
When did you know you were ready to get married?
Mom: You gotta kiss a lot of frogs. I knew when I really missed my husband when he moved to Kentucky for a year while we were dating. I just didn't want to go out with anybody else.
Erin: I probably thought that I was ready to get married before I actually was. I think that I idealized, ya know, like all my friends are getting married so I wanted to get married. I wasn't thinking about the actual commitment, whereas my husband thought about it as that big commitment. He said, "We should make sure we wanna be together for our whole lives, not just that we're in love right now."
Bill: That's a hard question to answer. When I met my wife I think.
Elise: When I realized I didn't want to hang out with anybody except my fiancé.
What's the hardest part about marriage?
Mom: Your expectations not being met, because you don't know. You think it's gonna be one way and it isn't, and you think wait a minute, what happened here. It's like any part of life. Our first year was the toughest, it's a huge huge learning curve.
Erin: Life makes marriages hard, like when life happens. Whatever that is. It can be a family member's death or a trying time at work, that's what makes marriage hard.
Bill: Being selfless. That's hard. It's not just you anymore, you have to think about another person's needs instead of just yourself.
Elise: Balancing your significant other's needs as much or more than your own.
What's the best thing about marriage?
Mom: Just having somebody that you trust and that you can confide in. Someone who loves you and have their most concerns for you, they don't tell you not think or feel a certain way. My husband always used to say I'm too sensitive, and that's just who I am. So now he says, "I know you feel this differently than I do, I don't feel that way." He says I have emotional IQ, and he's my sounding board for when I need a logical perspective so I'm not too emotional about something. That's the balance. You get feedback from somebody who knows you really well and wants the best for you.
Erin: My husband is the best thing. It's really cliche, but it's pretty awesome to be able to make all my memories with him. We get to do that together and nobody else gets to do that with him. I'm really lucky that I got him.
Bill: You get to hang out with your best friend all the time.
Elise: Hanging out with your best friend every day.
What advice would you give to a couple who is thinking about getting married?
Mom: Patience. I think we live in a world of fast food, get everything in under two minutes, so if everything doesn't happen just the way you think it's gonna be within a certain period of time and you're just like, "I'm out of here," that's not gonna work. If you're messaging or emailing or calling someone and they don't respond and everything's not pronto- relationships take much longer than that.
Erin: I would say make sure that you have good communication skills because that is one of the most important things about marriage. You should be able to talk to each other about anything at all.
Bill: Think about the worst day you've had in the past 10 years, and if your significant other isn't the person that you want to call, then that's a problem. You should look to your spouse in good times and bad.
Elise: You should realize that the person you're marrying isn't going to change. You can't make then into anyone other than who they are. Some people think they can change people's minds after they get married because they're married. It's not like that.