Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Or Forever Hold Your Peace…

Now this is just creepy to me!

Allow me to explain…

BACKGROUND INFORMATION #1:

Yesterday, I was making a long and boring drive, so I was doing my usual—thinking. One of the things that I was thinking about was about weddings and the point that you see in the movies where the priest asks, “if for any reason someone here today has a reason these two should not be married please speak now, or forever hold your peace”…

[In the movies] Someone always speaks.

[In real life] Silence.

As I thought about this, I began to attempt to think back to the weddings I have been to and tried to recall if that line is even used in wedding ceremonies in real life nowadays. Honestly, I couldn’t really remember, but I could remember that I’ve never been to a wedding where someone DID “speak now”—because I would have for sure remembered that!

The more thought I gave to this topic, the more I was willing to bet that IF that line IS used in weddings then I figure very rarely does someone actually speak up in the ceremony.

Sure, it’s great drama for the movies, but in real life, by the point of the ceremony, let’s face it, most people aren’t going to stand out and jump up and start bickering about how much they can’t stand your fiancé, or about how they think your significant other isn’t the best choice for you. Many times, people that care enough to even tell you that will probably have said it to you BEFORE the ceremony anyways. And if that is the case, they normally understand that saying something at a ceremony isn’t going to change anything. Or sometimes, the person will chose not to even attend the ceremony—depending on how strongly they feel.

So is this “line” even spoken in wedding ceremonies anymore? And if so, is there really a purpose? Do a groom and bride really expect people to say something? Do they really WANT someone to say something?

These were some questions crossing my mind while I thought about this yesterday…

BACKGROUND INFORMATION #2:

Also yesterday, I got in the mail the “My Secret” Postsecret book that I had ordered online. I was way excited, of course! HA! So today I started reading through it while I was stuck at home because the pool guy was here working. It was when I was only on my 48th page of postcards that I came across the card shown at the beginning of this entry.

CREEPY! I had JUST been thinking about this exact topic yesterday! So, I just stopped and stared at it and thought…

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Now, on with the thoughts…

I’ve been to several weddings over the past 5 years. I’ve had many friends, some close friends, getting married, and most of the times it’s the bride’s side I’m sitting on. Many times the groom is a guy I do not know very well.

Yes, I’ve had the hand-full of weddings I’ve attended where I knew my friend’s significant other very well, but those weddings have been the minority. I’d be willing to guess that many times a lot of the weddings people attend, they only know one of the two parties uniting very well.

So there I am, attending these weddings (which I typically dislike attending weddings), and sometimes I find myself having thoughts (that I have obviously had BEFORE the actual ceremony) about how I have some of my own personal uncertainties about the couple uniting. [Note: Don’t be acting like you’ve NEVER had this happen to you before…HA!]

On some of the occasions I have shared these thoughts with my soon-to-be married friend, but sometimes I haven’t. I’ve talked about my concerns with other mutual friends of the fiancé and I’ve gotten many different responses. What is often believed to be the best response is the one about how it is not my life and I can’t make the choices for someone else. I can’t argue that. That is true. But then I still can’t help but think about the responsibilities of a friend, that I would want my friends to express their concerns with me, especially my close friends, if I were in a similar situation. I can’t say their concerns would change my mind, but I would appreciate and respect them none-the-less.

So I have those thoughts. Then I have other thoughts…

What about the women who so badly want to get married and one of their darkest fears is living a single life forever? What about those women when they see a chance to make a marriage happen. Granted, it might not be EXACTLY what she wanted, but it will do, because it will keep her from her deepest, darkest fear of remaining single the rest of her life.

But sometimes the pressures to go-through-with-the-marriage are not internally driven. Sometimes it is the expectations of the others around the couple—family, friends, etc. Sometimes a couple that has been together for a while is just “expected” to get married. But what if you are starting to grow apart or you realize that maybe the “other half” is not really who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Or maybe you’ve decided you can’t “put up with this” any longer (whatever “this” may be). Sometimes it’s the fear of having to tell everyone “it is over” and that what they “expected” isn’t going to “be” after all that leaves people in what seems to them like, no-other-choice but to say, “I do.”

Or, maybe it’s pressure from the significant other. Maybe one of the parties really wants to get married and the other just isn’t ready.

Or, maybe they are pregnant and one party demands marriage before the baby is born, or even quicker—before the baby is even “showing.” Or maybe the pregnancy has brought about pressure from family members to get married.

So many reasons and pressures that encourage one to go through with a wedding that maybe just isn’t quite ready yet; or even worse, a wedding that maybe never should happen.

Well, what about the author of the Postsecret postcard…

Does he/she have external pressures to go through with the wedding? Does he/she feel he/she couldn’t carry the guilt of backing out now, so they need another reason, as in “your” support and help in giving them a reason to get out? Is that his/her prayer that you would make the plea for him/her?

I think the bigger questions to me are: Has this person told ANYONE that they want out? Have they given ANY signs of doubts so someone could have picked up on them? OR, is this person scared into silence of revealing his/her true feelings? Does he/she feel the expectations and pressures are too great to overcome—strong enough to the point of choosing the misery of going through with the wedding that he/she does not truly want (as in the quote from the card “I don’t want to be here anymore”)?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that if the author of this card were a friend of mine, I would hope they would decide to come out with their true feelings to someone, before he/she does something they could regret for quite some time.

Sometimes breaking the silence can be one of the hardest things we ever do, but many of the times, once we break it, it feels no where near as difficult and embarrassing as we had expected it to. It can be one of the most freeing experiences to let out our true feelings that we were keeping bottled up!

I give my best wishes to the creator of the postcard and any others who feel they are relating right along with the “secret.” You can get the courage to say something if you really want to!

6 comments:

jules said...

very interesting. well written. good points that many people are not open to hearing.


...deep thoughts by jg.

Anonymous said...

I have told someone that I didn't think that marrying the other person was a bad idea. I did attend the wedding, hoping that I could be there when reality struck and could comfort the person. No such luck. Such is life. Marriage is such a huge decision and should never occur out of desperation. I can not imagine how it would feel to realize that the person you commited your life to was the wrong person.

FeedingYourMind said...

Jules: I sometimes wonder if I were in "many people's" shoes if I'd be "open to hearing" them...

Hmmm....


Brooke: You're comment has REALLY made me think. I've come back and reread it several times now.

While this blog is general, it is tied into a personal debate I have going on right now, about attending an up-coming wedding. I loved what you said about "I did attend the wedding, hoping that I could be there when reality struck and could comfort the person." I never thought of it that way. I mean granted, I don't think the reality will likely "strike" during the ceremony...but the week later, I'd want to be there for my friend. You make a GREAT point.

Part of me doesn't want to attend because I feel attending shows my support of the decision, which I don't believe I support, but at the same time, I have the constant reminder: "It's not my life and I can't make any decisions for anyone else, so move past that." But still, it's hard for me to humble myself to the point of feeling like I'm supporting something that I am not happy about. Make sense? Who knows.

THEN at the same time there's the voice of: "You're just being selfish. It isn't about you. Attend in support of your friend." Then once again the, "but attending sets the impression that you agree with it."

What an exhausting debate! HA!

I greatly appreciate your insightful words!

Anonymous said...

This will be a long response, but I've had some experience with situations like this. Here are my two cents in random order.


Perhaps it's not that "many people" aren't "open to hearing" these points, but perhaps these points don't apply to the "many people" of whom you speak.

Also, attending the wedding is less about showing whether or not you support the decision and more about whether or not you support the friend.

I've been a part of a wedding that was called off a week before the ceremony. It's a good thing that she did, because more than likely she and her husband would've been mighty miserable today. Then again, there's also the chance that it could've been just cold feet and it would've worked out fine. I say don't chance it, though. Regardless of when it is, it's not too late to call the wedding off. No matter how much money is spent and how many plans are made, wasted money is definitely preferrable to a potentially wasted life.

Like you said, the decision has to be made by one (or both) of the people involved. It's not anyone else's decision to make or place to judge. The only people who really know what is going on in each individual relationship are the two people involved in it. True, perhaps their very close friends and family may have some insight into it, but I'd say that in most cases, unless you are seeing the couple and interacting with them on a regular basis, you probably don't know as much as you think you do about the situation. If you fill one of those roles (close friends/family) and interact often with the people, you definitely owe it to the engaged person to voice your opinions. The key is to do it in a loving way and to respect the decision they make after talking to them.

If you're wanting to talk to your friend with the upcoming wedding about her situation, then make sure you fit the bill as a person who really has a place to speak and that your motives are pure (or at least have evidence that you've caught the groom red handed doing something wrong!) Approach her in love, and whether or not she agrees, she will likely thank you for your concern. If you don't really know enough about the situation to speak, approaching the person will probably do more harm to your relationship than good.

FeedingYourMind said...

Jennifer: Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate very much your taking the time you did to share it. I agree with many things you said!

"Regardless of when it is, it's not too late to call the wedding off. No matter how much money is spent and how many plans are made, wasted money is definitely preferrable to a potentially wasted life." --Very well put! And this is even coming from someone who is engaged and set to get married in a matter of weeks! And if someone in that situation, seeing first-hand the amount of money and time invested in a wedding can say that, you have got to believe it!

"Like you said, the decision has to be made by one (or both) of the people involved." --Yep!

"The only people who really know what is going on in each individual relationship are the two people involved in it." -- Correct again! And this one can be SOO hard for others to want to agree with, but at the same time, the truth can be hard.

"...unless you are seeing the couple and interacting with them on a regular basis, you probably don't know as much as you think you do about the situation." --Yeah, many times we get a little bit here and there and then think we are experts on the matter. Tis life! HA! So I'd agree.

Put here are the two scenarios I put before you (and please understand I am NOT making these out in reference to any specific individuals):

1.) A young lady is dealing with states of depression. She's lonely. Her time spent with friends is limited for different reasons (i.e. she's too busy with work; her friends are too busy; her friends do not live close by; etc.) She finds herself feeling alone and just wanting to relieve the depressed feelings...

A young man comes into the picture. He isn't the greatest guy, but he is filling the loneliness void the lady was experiencing. This in return begins to alleviate some of the depression. Sure, maybe he isn't the kind of guy she had pictured for herself, but he's a warm body to hold. He keeps her from being alone. Her parents are happy for her because she isn't depressed (or as depressed) anymore, so they are happy about the couple and supportive of marriage. And since they are not (as you put it) "involved" in the relationship themselves, they really don't know what's going on (i.e. how the guy TRULY is or how he treats the lady).

Some of the guys "ways" are noted by some of the lady's friends, but since the lady (as well as her man) spend minimal time around the friends, the lady write the friends "concerns" off as "they don't really know."

Sure, maybe the friends didn't put it in the nicest way, but at the same time, they were just trying to express some concerns.

The lady, like I mentioned, wrote the friends off as "not knowing" and relies on the part she is clearly seeing--her decreased depression (which at the time for her, is all that matters, who cares that he isn't treating her the best).

Or this one...

2.) [very similar] The young lady dealing with depression meets the man, who happens to be relieving many of her depressive symptoms. The lady begins focusing ALL of her time on the man and ignores her friends. Her friends begin to bring this to her attention, but the lady realizes that her depression was related to feeling like she needed a man in her life, and now that she has one (even though he isn't treating her, or her friends in the nicest manners) she feels this is the right thing because the depression has subsided (for the time being).

So the friends try to bring concerns to the young lady about how the man has shown disrespect toward them (some of the lady's close friends) and how she has changed because of him too (i.e. she has begun ignoring her friends, ceased getting together with any of her friends, etc.)

But once again (as in the first scenario), the lady writes off the friend's concerns because she is too wrapped up in the feelings she is having of the relieved depression that she can't "see" the other concerns. She might be even be upset that the friends would bring such concerns to her.

Soooo....

In scenarios 1 and 2 are the friends out of line bringing up concerns because they COULDN'T be "close" to the relationship? Close enough to express concerns (as you seemed to be describing in your comment)?

Also, would you agree that the young lady could be experiencing a distorting perspective because she THINKS everything is "fine" because she has gotten to a better state of being since the man came in the picture (her depressive state, which she HATED, has been relieved to SOME extent), but that has distorted her view of other things that are going on in the relationship.

Okay. I'll stop now because that's a lot to read. HA!

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on the matter! It really did mean a lot to me!

Anonymous said...

Even as I typed my comment earlier, I knew there were definitely situations here and there that didn't fit that mold. What I was speaking of was mostly personal experience (not necessarily myself, but situations I've been a part of.) I've also been in the situation where the guy is a jerk to the friends or just basically a creep in general (under the surface.) This is where you have to weigh whether what you have to say will help things or hurt things. You don't want to drive your friend away when they soon may need you to lean on, but you feel it's your duty as a friend to address the situation. It's a hard place to be. I think the key remains speaking the truth (or your perceived truth) in love. A loving attitude will accomplish so much more than a threatening or condescending attitude.

I don't know much about depression, and I personally feel that a man is the answer to very few of life's problems that a single girl may face. Now that I'm about to get married, I see that a relationship doesn't make life perfect. So as far as the depression issue goes, men do not equal prozac. It can definitely come back if a man is the cure. Seems to me that the depression needs to be addressed seperate and apart from the man.

Also, in regards to dropping your friends for the new man, I must admit that I'm more guilty of that than I ever thought I'd be. I haven't dropped my friends per se, but priorities change when you fall in love. Lucas is my best friend now, and I'd rather be with him than with anyone else. That's what preparing for marriage is about. You need that stage where you spend almost all your time with that person to know if he's going to be a good choice for the rest of your life. It's not that I don't still love all my other friends, it's just that my free time is so limited, and he's who I want to spend that limited time with. It's not that the engaged girl is necessarily withdrawing and pushing everyone away (although it could be,) but perhaps she is just getting to know him better so that she can tell if he will be that suitable life partner.

I don't have all the answers, obviously, but that's what I think about those things you addressed. Every situation is different, so you just have to be careful. Often times well-meaning friends do what they think is best, but it actually only hurts things. I've done it. I'm sure many of us have. All I'm saying is that from the other side of the fence, things may not always be as they appear. There also comes that time when you just have to let people make their mistakes and learn from them. I believe that anything can work out if the parties involved are willing to work it out.

So there you go. :)