Bridezillas and the “Perfect” Wedding

Confession time: I used to watch Bridezillas, that horrible reality show about brides abusing their future husbands, their hapless bridesmaids, their mothers, their future mothers-in-law, and basically everyone else they came into contact with in their quest to reach the altar.

Now that I’m planning my wedding, I understand the beleaguered brides’ plight much more than I did when I watched the show. I don’t sympathize with or condone their bad behavior, like breaking into bar fights on the day of the bachelorette party or engaging in unnecessary drama. But I understand the pressure, and pressure makes people do crazy things, like having a crying fit over something as seemingly simplistic as what kind of flowers to put in a boutonniere.

I still find it amusing that the most common piece of wedding advice I’ve gotten is “it’s your wedding; do what you want.” In all honesty, if I could do what I wanted, I’d just have a church wedding and avoid all the rigmarole and expense that comes with the reception. Hell, if I could do what I really wanted, I’d have the wedding at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The reality is that “it’s your wedding; do what you want,” but with several caveats: what the budget allows, what your family will and will not tolerate and/or pay for, what his family will and will not tolerate and/or pay for, what the church will and will not let you have at the Mass, and so on.

So… it ain’t Burger King; you can’t have it your way. In that sense, wedding planning must be the smallest microcosm of what marriage is going to be like: realizing that you can’t do what you want anymore, at least not without consulting with your future spouse. This has been particularly mind-blowing to me because I’m a fairly independent person. I like to do what I want, and I don’t like having to consult what seems like a thousand other people for their opinions, because then I begin to second-guess my own opinions.

Then there’s all the “informative” material: wedding magazines, wedding etiquette books, sites like Pinterest and the Knot and WeddingWire… and the list goes on. I read or scan through it and literally get sick to my stomach. It’s too much. Weddings are a business and an industry, and the vendors have to make money and will inundate you with aggressive advertising for stuff you don’t want or need. It’s easy to get bogged down in it all and forget that you’re planning for one day. One day. Yes, it’s one very important day, but it’s still one day. No wonder some women become bridezillas.

The fear of becoming a high-maintenance bridezilla has caused me to stay far, far away from all that “informative” material. I don’t want to read a sappy story about how Person X and Person Y met and planned the Best Wedding Ever and how they did it all incredibly cheaply and it all turned out looking like a Disney fairy tale. To me, it ought to be less about the wedding and more about the marriage, the journey together, the ups and the downs and the day-to-day stuff that can make you or break you (not to mention the spiritual aspect of it, but that’s another blog post). I just wish that for every wedding magazine, there was a marriage magazine, and for every happily-ever-after, picture-perfect wedding, there was a good, stable, lasting marriage.

I guess all the wedding hype is another symptom of how our culture is so laser-focused on momentary pleasure and making things look Facebook- and Pinterest-worthy, but I think that’s yet another blog post for another day. I’ve bored y’all enough. 🙂

Duggar Disaster, Part II

This is somewhat of a follow-up to this post. By now I’m sure everyone’s heard about the latest Duggar scandal (and I suspect there will be more to come), in which Josh Duggar (oldest son of the brood) admitted that he was addicted to pornography after he was found to have used an Ashley Madison account to cheat on his wife.

Honestly, I can’t tell you what I think Anna (the wife) should do. I can’t tell you that girls should be raised to breathe fire. Come on, people. It doesn’t matter how much fire you breathe. If someone’s a dirtbag, they’re going to be a dirtbag regardless of what you say or do. If she divorces him (highly doubtful), he’ll continue to be a dirtbag, and if she stays with him and offers love and forgiveness, he’ll continue to be a dirtbag.

My theory about Josh is that he chafed against his parents’ restrictions and rules, but instead of rebelling outwardly (you really can’t rebel in a Fundamentalist Christian household, apparently), he internalized his rebellion until he became an adult and separated from his parents upon marrying Anna. Instead of gaining a little freedom from restrictions and responsibilities, he became saddled with four young children in quick succession, so he was once again in the same position he had been in at home: the leader, the oldest, the responsible person. It’s a lot of pressure.

In keeping with his parents’ values (but apparently not his own), he started working for the Family Research Council in Washington, DC, a conservative pro-life and pro-marriage lobbying organization. From what I hear, the District of Columbia is not a nice place, what with all the politicians and other venomous creatures. What a change from life in rural Arkansas. So it’s really no wonder that he started to lead a double life in which he felt as though he could explore other options beyond what he had always been taught.

I don’t expect that things will get better for Josh in “rehab.” If anything, being beaten over the head with Bible verses might cause greater confusion; it seems as though a life steeped in religion was what he had been trying to escape by creating his illicit online accounts. The issues run deep, possibly too deep to be fixed. Maybe Josh isn’t a certified, grade-A dirtbag, but he certainly needs help; probably more help than he can get from another Bible-based rehab that only echoes his parents’ teachings.

 

Guilty Pleasures

In my universe, there shouldn’t be such a thing as “guilty pleasures,” which are “guilty” because the unspoken understanding is that you should be ashamed of enjoying them. Many are afraid to admit they enjoy reality TV because it’s supposedly complete and utter garbage, but it continues to climb in popularity, and new reality TV shows appear every day, each crazier than the last. Some people must like it, so many people must have the same guilty pleasure.

Perhaps we don’t admit our guilty pleasures because we might be afraid that others might think we’re stupid or wasting our time or money on what we enjoy. But I always say that it shouldn’t matter what you like and what other people think about what you like (unless it’s illegal or causes harm to animals or people).

The real waste of time is feeling guilty about your pleasures. The other waste of time is worrying about what others like and don’t like. Life is too short for that. So if someone likes reality TV and it doesn’t seem to be turning into an unhealthy obsession or causing them to act as crazy as the personalities on the show, that’s their business.