In today’s more liberal day, it’s almost odd how much importance we still place on the idea of marriage. Though very few people I know are religious in any way, and I myself have not been to mass since, well, the last time somebody died, many of us still view a church wedding as the inevitable next step in securing a relationship.
And if a couple have done almost everything else – stayed together passed the three year itch (it happens long before seven), moved in, bought some stuff at Ikea and made some babies – yet not stood before a priest or minister of some sort to make their vows, we become somewhat curious. ‘Why aren’t they getting married?’; ‘Are they afraid they’ll want out?’; ‘He hasn’t proposed, should she be worried?’ – that’s a particularly annoying one, as if the woman is biding her time for a diamond ring. But is marriage still the definition of a solid relationship?
Recently, Joshua Jackson gave an interview to Glamour magazine during which he was asked why he and girlfriend Diane Kruger haven’t yet tied the knot. Like what’s wrong with them? Some outlets even took to framing what Jackson said like this: ‘Why Joshua Jackson won’t marry Diane Kruger’ as if she’s got a white dress in the wardrobe gathering dust. In reality, she’s just as content as he is to live in the here and now.
Refreshingly, Jackson shed light on how being married wouldn’t make them any more serious and committed than they already are, minus the legally binding contract. As both of their parents divorced, it’s easy to see why this pair would have little faith in the institution of marriage, but that’s not to say he will never ever produce a ring.
Speaking candidly to Glamour, Jackson says “I can tell you why we’re not married: We’re not religious. I don’t feel any more or less committed to Diane for not having stood in front of a priest and had a giant party. We’re both children of divorce, so it’s hard for me to take marriage at face value as the thing that shows you’ve grown up and are committed to another person…. It may change at some point. We may get married.”
I notice it amongst my friends too. Growing up on a diet of rom-coms that always end in nuptials, without really understanding much about the tenets of marriage, it’s now become an almost ritualistic topic of conversation as we presume that those of us in long term relationships will be getting hitched in the not-so-distant future. Have we become so distracted by hollywood narratives, engagement rings, designer dresses and the chance to throw the party of a lifetime with our nearest and dearest that we’re forgetting the true meaning of commitment? When you strip back all of the tulle and fanfare, do we know why we’re getting married?
Over to you. Is it time to stop expecting marriage when couples get serious?