If you wouldn’t marry someone without a wedding, then you probably shouldn’t have one with them.
Before I jump headfirst into giving and explaining this advice that absolutely no one asked me for, let me explain a little bit about myself. My name is Chelsea, I’m 24 – I’ll be 25 in the fall of 2019 – and I’ve been married for four-going-on-five years. I’ve been with my husband since I was 17 years old – we got married young despite a lot of people telling us we were making a terrible, terrible mistake. Needless to say, they were all wrong (HAHAHAHA! IN YOUR FACE NAY-SAYERS!) and we have an incredibly successful relationship.
That being said, when I hear the struggles of my best friend, my heart breaks. She’s wonderful – one of the few people on this earth I’ve had the pleasure of encountering with a genuine and loving spirit – but her boy problems are real. So, whenever I listen to her, or I watch a YouTube video, or I see a tweet, post, blog, etc., about how much money or expensive things play into marriage, I’m just a bit gob-smacked.
If money is the determining factor on whether you marry someone or not – whether it’s a big wedding, a giant shiny ring, a fancy honeymoon, or a lavish house with drop-of-the-hat vacation weekends – then you probably shouldn’t marry the person you’re thinking about. Marriage is a lot more than the fancy wedding people have or the nice things someone else can buy for you.
Most marriage vows include some variation of the phrase, “I take you to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer”. This is included because for poorer and for worse will come. It’s inevitable – every day isn’t going to be cupcakes and rainbows with steak and shrimp for dinner. Some days will be chopped liver and thunderstorms with noodles and water for dinner, and if you only married your significant other for money and the material things they can give, or to have your moment in the spotlight, you’re going to have one hell of a time weathering the storms together.
Here’s the honest truth: a wedding only lasts for a day – really, only a couple of hours. The day will pass, and you won’t be a bride or a groom, you’ll be a wife or husband with a whole new set of expectations on you. If you aren’t willing to meet them, or don’t even realize what they are because your mind was focused on all the attention that comes with “getting married” and “planning a wedding” and “picking honeymoon spots” and showing off your ring, then what are you going to do when all that excitement bubbles down and settles into an actual marriage? Or worse, what if life happens and you can no longer afford to do all the extravagant things you did before? Are you going to stay? Or are you going to be the first person to tout that getting married was a bad idea?
People say it all the time and I’m here to reiterate it: marriage is hard work.
It’s nothing like dating, in my experience. When you’re dating, you feel like you know someone, but once you’re married, you learn the true depths of who a person is. Dating is like watching a movie and marriage is like reading the source material – there’s just more to it. It takes listening and understanding and patience (so much patience) and thinking outside of yourself to consider the well-being of another adult. It’s difficult, no matter how easy some people make it look.
That’s not to say it’s not worth it, but it’s also not something to rush into because the idea of a sparkly ring or a fancy wedding or having a wife or husband “sounds good”.
If it’s not the person you want, but the event, evaluate what decisions you’re making for yourself. If you don’t look at the person you’re considering marrying and think to yourself, “I don’t care if all we can do is go down to the courthouse or jump over a broom, I’m marrying them one way or another” then maybe reconsider who you’ve chosen to meet you at the end of the aisle.
That’s just my two cents on the matter though – spend it how you like!