Marriage – who says it takes two?

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It seems there is a slowly growing trend among single, 30- and 40-something women, of marrying themselves.

Yes, you did read that correctly – in a bid to prove to themselves, and the world at large, that they have no need of a husband in order to feel complete, some women are going so far as to buy a wedding dress, book a venue, invite all their friends and relatives, and engage in a ceremony in which they vow to love, honour and cherish themselves. Followed, of course, by a party, dancing, cake and even, in some cases, an exotic ‘honeymoon’.

Far from being the glorious celebration of singledom that it is clearly designed to be, it all just strikes me as desperately sad. For the message it sends is not “I’m happy being single, and I don’t need to marry somebody else to be complete” but rather “Marriage (or the idea of it) is so important to me that I would rather marry myself than wait one minute longer for a man to marry me”.

It also displays a complete lack of understanding of the difference between a wedding and a marriage. For what these women really want, is not a marriage at all – it is a wedding. Specifically, the fairy-tale wedding that so many little girls dream of – the white dress, the flowers, the ceremony, the champagne, the proud father escorting them down the aisle, the mother wiping away tears of joy, everybody commenting about how beautiful they look in their dress. The fact that they don’t have a handsome prince with whom to exchange vows will not deter these women from having the wedding they have dreamed about all of their lives.

Marriage, on the other hand, is no fairytale. Even the happiest couples will admit that marriage takes work, and endless compromise. It’s all very well to vow on your wedding day to love, honour and cherish your spouse, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as you both shall live, but the number of marriages that fail after just a few years or even a few months, are testament to how difficult people find these vows to stick to in reality.

Do women marrying themselves promise to remain faithful only to themselves, forsaking all others, as long as they live, I wonder? Somehow I doubt it – after all, it’s one thing to put on a great show of your independence and happy single status, but quite another to publicly declare to all your friends and family that you are essentially taking a vow of chastity.   What then, when two years later you meet the man of your dreams and have to explain that you can’t be with him because you don’t wish to be unfaithful to yourself?

Surely the way to celebrate singledom, to prove that you are happy by yourself and that you don’t need a husband to complete you, is simply to carry on with your life as normal, doing exactly what you wish to do without any need for friends and family to validate your choices? Rather than wasting money on a dress, a ceremony and a party, instead go travelling, or take up a new hobby, or even simply stay home, surrounded by cats, and watch television, if that’s what makes you happy. Because if you find yourself having to throw an expensive party to prove to yourself and your friends how happy you are being single, chances are you’re not.


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