Building a fortress of… Wait, what exactly?

Weddings are fantastic.  Yes, the event is joyful, yes, the dress is usually gorgeous, yes, everyone is so happy, yes, it’s all so romantic, but most importantly of all, here are two people who are pledging that together, they are going to build a fortress of well-being and salvation that will become the fundamental building block of society.

Or at least, that’s what it’s supposed to be.

When I first heard that Prince William was engaged, I knew there was going to be a lot of media coverage regarding the wedding – after all, he is Lady Di’s son, and everyone must love it as much as I do to see him this happy.

But just like with so many other things – I’m thinking, in particular, about Michael Jackson’s death a year and a half ago – the interest has, in my opinion, gone way too far. One thing in particular which has, in recent days, been cluttering my Google reader as well as my inbox is the focus on Kate Middleton’s dress. I love dresses, and I love wedding dresses, and of course, I am looking forward to seeing it, but, in the words of the BBC,to treat it a “jealously guarded (secret) at the highest level of the British state”, and a “secret that millions are desperate to learn and journalists are scrambling over each other to uncover” seems a little over the top. How have we gotten at the point where we can say things like: “Just as with any matrimonial ceremony, the dress will occupy a status within the event’s hierarchy only just below that of bride herself”?

The dress has its importance – wedding days are important and should be treated with the dignity it deserves – but the hierarchy seems to need a major change. After all, a wedding isn’t about the dress – it’s about the commitment two people are making to build a strong unit to help knit the fabric of our crumbling society tight again. The outward trappings should be about enhancing the real focus of the wedding, i.e. bringing two families together.

Since I strongly believe in the power of the grassroots to make a change, I think that we can do something about this sad situation. More than a personal reflection that each one of us, either already married, getting married or wanting to get married, should have, we should put a support system in place in which we can help one another not get carried away by the strong currents of materialism that puts the focus of marriage on the outward trappings rather than on it’s essence. We have to be careful what we say to someone when they get engaged for example; don’t let your first question be “let’s see the ring”. Why don’t you ask about how the couple decided that it could build said fortress of well-being and salvation? Then ask about how the two families got together and are building unity within them? And then, when the important questions have been asked, take a look at the ring.

There is no dichotomy between having a beautiful, outwardly enhance wedding and having a deep, meaningful wedding. It’s only a question of balance, and putting the priority where it should be.

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