Home > dating, fun, health, humor, Life, love, Man Law, Relationships > Man Law #70: Women Want a Wedding, Not A Marriage.

Man Law #70: Women Want a Wedding, Not A Marriage.

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“I think there should be a law against anyone getting married under 35.” – Tom Hanks, New York Times article published in 1988. Married for the past 22 years.

Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, Married since 1988.

For the record, I’m going to start this post off by stating that I want to get married. I want to have kids, raise a family,  the whole 9 yards, the Full Monty. I do not have anything against the institution of marriage per se or against monogamy. I simply think that one should wait until they are of an age where they feel they have experienced enough of life before trotting down the aisle.  I want my decision to get married based on my personal choice and not from pressure from the girl who I’ve been dating or a fear of growing old and lonely. Personally, I don’t believe that this can happen before you turn 30.  If you are 21 or 22, and have dated the same guy or girl for a few years and feel like the only thing left for you to do is get married, by all means, go for it if you feel that it is right.  However, the period of getting married at 20 and staying married to that person for 30-40 years has pretty much died off and if America or society is ever going to truly mean “Till Death Do Us Part” when we exchange wedding vows, we will have to revisit the whole idea behind matrimony.

So last Sunday I’m channel surfing and came across a fascinating interview with Elizabeth Gilbert on the Diana Rehms Show (Editorial Note: the interview can be played through Windows Media Player). Mrs. Gilbert just released a book entitled “Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage”. Here is a woman who went through a horrible divorce. It really shaked her belief system and she went through a period where she questioned what her original decisions to get married were based on – just WHY she felt the need to get married at an early age.  As she states in one interview on NPR that when she was 19, she would stay up until 2 in the morning with the other girls in the dorm and PANIC over how they were going to raise their kids and hold a full-time job.  To put this in perspective, the only thing I could think of when I was 19 at 2 in the morning was how to watch the porno I downloaded from Napster without waking up my buddies next door or my roommate. (If you are reading this, Sorry Will, duty calls!)

In the next few paragraphs I hope to give an accurate but brief summarization of two of her musings that really stood out and left an impression on me. Married or not, everyone should listen to the interview. If you are a woman, you need to listen to the entire interview more than anyone and leave us poor guys at peace. So, sit down, grab some coffee, listen to the interview and think about this stuff before you find yourself walking down the aisle wondering who the person is standing next to you that you are about to live the rest of your life with…

"Ronnie, we've known each other for almost a full week, why haven't you proposed" -Sammi Sweetheart

Women want a wedding and not necessarily to get married. Almost as soon as little Suzy learns to walk and starts reading, she starts planning her wedding.  Now this isn’t ALL women, but a large majority actively think about these types of things. It’s no wonder that America is lost when it comes to marriage.  She is looking for a man to fill a role, a position. You can picture the Craigslist advertisement: “Hey, we have a job opening for a man with these qualifications. Send resumes AND references to suzy@housewife.com ).  I remember living in the dorm rooms and seeing some of the girls with subscriptions to Bridal Guide. There’s only one problem with that equation, you need a boyfriend first! Now, not all girls are like this and many have a strong, more realistic head on their shoulders. As one of my girl friends, who I shall call “Trixie” puts it, “I went to college to get a BS, not a MRS.”   To hear Elizabeth Gilbert talk about the inspiration behind this law, skip to around the 15th minute in the interview. (Ladies, that means you.)

To many women, marriage means that they have been chosen. It signifies that out of the pot of women of every shape, size, and color, that she has been chosen as being worthy of someone’s love and attention. She has been PICKED from the crowd. In some respects, this would make anyone feel special.  In Elementary School,  No one wanted to be the last person picked on the dodge ball team. The faster someone chose you, the better you were. In many ways, we never grow out of this childish way of looking at things. We carry this belief system into early adulthood. The faster we finish school, get a high paying job, get married and have kids, that we are somehow beating the rest of the competition. And then what? We are subconsciously programming ourselves to look for outside validation.  Gentlemen, for those ladies out there accusing you of wanting to be a bachelor for life or being single, share with them the fact that it is statistically proven that the longer you wait to get married, the greater the likelihood of staying together. Why do you think that is? Maybe marrying the second or third person you ever slept with wasn’t the best idea after all. At least wait until number five or six.

Now, prior to the twentieth century there was a very REAL reason for getting married early. If the average life span was 35, you couldn’t afford to wait until after your law degree to have kids if you were a woman. But in 2010, we are experiencing the longest life expectancies ever. You have at least two solid marriages to prepare for in your life so SLOW DOWN! That’s one marriage to have kids in, and one marriage to actually be happy in…but NOT if you wait, you can have your cake and eat it too. For those of you who can’t, go for it, maybe you can break the mold. Prove me wrong.

On a side note, I was recently promoted to another position within the company. I received an e-mail from my Mother today (1/23/2010) congratulating me on “…doubling my salary in three years…” but she was quick to point out  “Another 20k and you can finally get married…”

Thanks Mom, I love you too.

  1. Anonymous
    January 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Women all across the country NEED to read this!

  2. Elle
    January 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Not all women feel the need to rush to the alter! I have seen first hand how miserable people become in a bad marriage, it visibly sucks the life out of someone :(. Not only do half of marriages fail but the people who do seem happy describe marriage as “hard and boring”, blah.

    • January 24, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      Why do you think some women feel the RUSH to get married while others take their time?

  3. Elle
    January 24, 2010 at 2:52 am

    I wouldn’t mind a wedding and not a marriage but I personally can’t wrap my head around the dodgeball theory! I’m not married and I certainly don’t feel as if I haven’t been chosen. I’ve been chosen by men, I have yet to accept their offer.
    One of the main reasons women want to get married to their long-term boyfriend is because they want to have children. I think Tom Hanks gives great advice “I think there should be a law against anyone getting married under 35” (which I agree with) but doctors strongly suggest women should have children by the age of 35. 35 is going to be a busy year for me if I plan on keeping Tom Hanks and my doctor happy lol. Marriage may seem “hard and boring” to me right now but it may seem more appealing to me once (and if) my biological clock ever starts ticking!!

  4. January 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Yes, I completely agree. It would be great if Tom stated WHO should wait to get married? Men or women. I think what society should stray away from is not somehow mark those who are NOT married and slightly older as somehow deviant. Elizabeth Gilbert makes an interesting observation, we now have a black President but she personally believes that we will NEVER have an unmarried President! I understand the basis and rationale behind it. America is one of the only countries like that it seems.

  5. Kraska
    January 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    It cannot be applied to all women. I absolutely disagree. yes, majority of women in the US just want a wedding to get a huge ring and a big ceremony.However, the reality is different. Guys, keep looking, there are exceptions. Elizabeth Gilbert gave a great interview that would be also interesting to foreign people.

    • January 24, 2010 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks for commenting Kraska. The way the Law is written, it makes sense that you would think its describing ALL women. That is not the case. There are always exceptions which I hopefully pointed out successfully in the actual post. What Elizabeth Gilbert is stating is that many women (herself included) are simply jumping into marriage at an early age and not looking at the reality of what it means to share your life with someone for the REST Of your life. She points out that it was arrogant of her to think that she would somehow beat the odds and stay with her husband simply because she was different. This seems to be a uniquely American attitude is what she points out and that other nations do not have the same high divorce rates as Americans do. Why is that the case? How did we get this way? What change in American society romanticized this idea behind marriage?

  6. Svetlana
    January 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    This mostly applies to the US, it’s different in other countries. America needs to stop commercializing everything: weddings, Christmas, Easter etc. When the value is placed into material possessions the marriages will fall apart. There are people who are using the tradition of receiving the engagement ring to enter into marriage as a business transaction thinking that the more expensive the ring is the more the guy will think before proposing (because it’s an investment) so he will not propose for the wrong reasons; however many women in America expect to have a big ring and a huge wedding. I know a lot of girls who got married in a city hall with just one witness, wearing regular clothes and without a huge engagement ring, who are happy because they are with the person they love. But for some this kind of wedding is a deal breaker. The bottom line is the marriage should not be commercialized by the retailers and the industry, then it will be entered into with the thought of a life together, not of one perfect day to impress everyone. Then the divorce rate will drop.

    • January 24, 2010 at 10:15 pm

      Thanks for commenting Svetlana. I agree with you completely. Every time I check the “list of requirements” to get married it grows. At first, I thought it was just a Wedding Ring…then I find out there’s an engagement ring. Next thing I know, half of the women out there won’t except an engagement ring without a PROMISE ring…When does it stop? Then you have Bridal Showers, Pre-Bridal Showers, Bachelerette Parties, Pre-Bachelorette Parties, registries…How did it get so complicated! To my wife, whoever that turns out to be, Just tell me what day of the week it is and I’ll show up at the altar.

      • Anonymous
        July 17, 2015 at 1:58 pm

        I like this guy. man it can be overwhelming.

  7. January 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    As both the childhood friend of the author of the Unbreakable Man Laws who spent many years sitting together in the brass section of the school orchestra starring at the flute players as well as a writer of a blog that extols the virtues of marriage (http://artofmarriage.wordpress.com) it seems only appropriate that I offer a few observations from the other side of the aisle.

    First off, and I have to say this first because I’m a big American History guy, we did have an unmarried president – James Buchannan, you know, the guy who came before Lincoln. He was America’s first and only President who never married but there have been Presidents who were widowers as well, notably Thomas Jefferson whose wife died early in their marriage and who never remarried. There have been others but that’s for another post…on to talking about marriage…

    Regarding the idea that women don’t want to be married, they just want a wedding, there is a great deal of pressure placed on young girls to plan their dream wedding (note that I didn’t say ‘get married’). From their first Disney Fairy tale to non-stop marathons of ‘Say Yes to the Dress,’ women today of all ages are subjected to a near-never ending barrage of ways to increase the materialistic aspects of marriage without giving equal consideration to the human aspects. I’ve written a couple different posts that address this issue, the first of which is ‘Find the Right Woman.’ Marriage can only work if the person you are marrying is emotionally healthy, otherwise you will likely find that as the inevitable problems associated with life pile-up, that person’s emotional instability will exacerbate any issues and effectively undermine and eventually ruin the marriage. Coincidentally, a sign of emotional instability is excessive day dreaming and fantasizing. People who spend too much time fantasizing about what life should be and not enough time seeing life as it really is are bound to be disappointed when reality finally rears its ugly head. If your potential partner is one who absolutely has to have a perfect monster wedding and who throws a fit when things don’t go right, you should probably ask yourself how that person will respond when life hands them a real problem with far more impact to their future than the florist not being able to deliver the perfect spring bouquet. Marriage isn’t flawed, people are, and those that can’t recognize that both they and their spouse are imperfect and deal with those imperfections in a mature and adult fashion are bound to end up in failed marriages. It’s important to keep this in mind, because the people who have screwed up marriages also tend to screw up other aspects of their lives. The problem doesn’t lie in the idea of marriage, it lies in the person and their inability to handle real-world, adult situations, one of which just happens to be marriage.

    As for Tom Hanks’ suggestion that no one should get married before 35, well, that’s just silly. I understand the thinking behind this idea, that young people need time to live in the real world and learn about themselves without any sort of restrictions on their growth but, sadly, this is based on the false assumption that married people are restricted in what they can do, versus single people who are free to wander the earth in search of wisdom and sex. This is simply not true and is based on the popular, but wrong, idea that marriage is what you do after you are done having fun and are ready to settle down. Contrary to popular belief, the night before your wedding is not your last night of freedom. See ‘Because your life isn’t over’ for more on the idea that marriage enhances your life, rather than limits it.

    There were a fair number of other points I found interesting. Below are the highlights as well as links to topis on artofmarriage that talk about those same points.

    Make spaces in your togetherness: see ‘Stake out your Territory’
    connection and autonomy: see ‘Expect Fairness’
    sense of legitimacy: see ‘Be proud of your marriage’
    happiness comes from your partner: ‘You learn to love the little things’

    Overall, I thought she took a fairly cynical attitude towards marriage and it often seemed as if she was trying to ease the pain of her first divorce by framing her difficulties in the idea that the institution itself is flawed (or at least America’s modern take) and therefore the fault doesn’t lie with her but with the entire idea of marriage. I agree with her points about the ‘fetishness’ of marriage and that too many young people leap into marriage not because they want to be married but because they want a wedding. It’s just a shame that instead of blaming the people she blames the institution and therefore casts a stigma on what can be an empowering experience provided you approach it with the right attitude and expectations.

  8. vhs
    January 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Maybe “women” want marriage so badly because “men” thousands of years ago bound them to motherhood, to a house and home and raising a family, and through time, a woman was taught to want these things. I think it’s shitty to say that it’s a woman’s fault for wanting marriage based on a wedding, when SHE was the one that had to be bounded by fidelity for centuries and was expected to make her life the duty of being a good wife.

    I’m afraid it’s the evolution of societal pressures that made people feel the way they do about marriage. It’s not all about a wedding.

    • January 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm

      This post is more going along the lines of saying that there are a fair number of women that simply want a “Big Fat Greek Wedding” rather than thinking through the reality of spending the rest of their lives with the person they are about to enter a relationship with. To be even more explicit, people link the grandiosity of the wedding with how much one loves the other person. Neither Elizabeth Gilbert nor myself are suggesting not to get married. We are simply saying, let’s hold back until we feel ready and not because our childhood best friend got married at 20 and therefore so shall we, yet we find people getting married for no better reason all the time!

  9. vhs
    January 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    and on a side note. My aunt was asked 3 times by my uncle to get married over 4 years until she finally agreed. My mother was asked one month after dating my father to get married and she was 20. She never had a life outside of him and then her children. Different times, different norms, but it’s not all about a woman wedding addiction. Men rush into things as well.

  10. January 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I’m glad someone said this and am only mad that I didn’t say it first! Women love the concept of marriage, not necessarily being married to someone. If she could substitute your ass like a lego, take the red one out, replace with a blue one, she would.

    • January 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      Trueman, you are welcome ANYTIME to reference the blog. I was inspired by the interview with Elizabeth Gilbert to write this one up so I can hardly claim complete originality. Love the lego comment. Women can make you feel like you are the only one in the world, make one mistake, and suddenly, someones taking up the parking space that used to be yours. And all that for not remembering what she wore the night you met! I guess that means you don’t love her.

  11. DJ Long
    January 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I agree with a number of the previous comments in that in America and other places in the world, the reason a woman choses, desires, longs for marriage will vary. Some it is for the stability and it may be just for that and they may learn to love one another. Others are “in love” with the idea of marriage not knowing that it takes work, but when done right and with help, doesn’t feel like work and even the hardest moments seem easy in comparison but it’s because they work through the tough times together supporting one another. But even men are infatuated by the ideal of marriage and will often “settle” because of this concept.
    I personally am not yet married, but like the author of this blog, I have dreamt of being able to one day share my life with another being and from that union bring children into our world and find great joy in that. I have family pressing me about when I’ll find someone and “settle down” and I just say it isn’t meant to be yet, or I put on me super smart-ass hat and say “that once the goverment issues me one, then I’ll have one.” But it’s about being in the right moment and having it just work out without forcing it. Life is about experience. I’m not saying you should actively seek a compatible companion, but you should be cautious (just a tad) about the true feelings for the person and perhaps why. With all things in life, be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. just my input

  12. Olga
    February 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    The whole wedding thing seems kind of like a pain in the ass..
    The only part I’m looking forward to is the dress. Having done bridal shows and bridal photoshoots, I look incredible in wedding dresses.

    Personally, I do want to get married. Once.
    That said, it’s going to be a sure thing when I finally decide to do so.
    When did the person to whom you’re getting married stop mattering?

    • Anonymous
      November 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      I agree with you 100%.I want my marriage to be forever.

  13. February 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I know that women in America is not very interested in the manifestations of non-places in the world
    I am a student at the University living in the United Arab Emirates and I would like to say a word to each woman to choose any man from anywhere in the world
    That love comes once in a lifetime
    Life and the choice between heaven or hell
    Thank you

    • December 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      This is getting a bit more svetbcjiue, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of neighbors will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune Social is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  14. Tierney
    March 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    This is definitely true for some women, not for others.

    Me: I want a wedding, but I am not currently interested in having a husband.

    My Best Friend: Never wanted a wedding, always wanted a husband. They ended up eloping.

  15. eric
    October 15, 2011 at 1:59 am

    women make great brides, but shitty wives

  16. Anonymous
    November 26, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I have been with my fiance for 8 years. We are now talking marriage but we wanted to make sure that we were right for each other before we rushed into the bonds of marriage. I am almost 30 years old and think that women rush into marriage to fast before they know what their partner is really like.

  17. mkami
    September 21, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Under African context the marriage is still determined by the social environment whereas the male is forced to marry for th sake of gaining respect and getting children whereas for woman the drive is from her parents and relatives to obtain a little wealth from brideprice and dowries bargained. For so, most women find themselves battling against themsleves competing for one man who is prospect and well off financially, for women love is a forced as it is targeted by family despite she love or not

  18. R Rundal
    November 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    By the way, an engagement ring is NOT an investment. An investment is intended to yield positive financial returns. You can’t sell an engagement ring for a price remotely close to what it cost the guy. The two months’ salary nonsense was created by the diamond cartel.

  19. TheHonestRealTruth
    June 10, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    It is very hard as it is for many of us good men that really wanted to get married and have a family today since Most of the women out there now are very high maintenance, selfish, spoiled, independent, very picky, and full of Drama which makes it very difficult for many of us men looking. just too many Loser women out there today.

  20. Ron
    July 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I proposed to a beautiful woman. But i had begin to feel like it was more about the wedding than me. We talked about eloping because we were planning to abstain from any sex until night of the wedding. When the attraction became unbearable between the both of us, we would agree to the eloping and keep the wedding, she would then revert back to waiting on the wedding date until I became so frustrated. I called off the wedding, I truly love her but I feel as if she loved the wedding and not me…Please respond anyone

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