Hot off the Press

Jenn Press

From me to we: the marriage craze

As children, we envision exactly how the day will be. Girls dress up in fake veils, think of details down to the cake and doodle a prefect dress in their notebooks. And guys, they picture the day when they will propose to their ideal woman they want to spend the rest of their lives with.

However, a marriage is not a wedding. It’s not a diamond rock on someone’s finger, either. That’s just a ring. A marriage is a commitment far beyond the fantasy five-hour party filled with presents, music and teeny hot dogs wrapped in dough. Are we ready to walk down the aisle of adulthood, and exit the sheltered world we so safely call our own? We have barely had time to experience the world as an individual, which makes me wonder how quick we should be to share a life with someone else.

This ultimately comes down to a matter of personal choice, value and timing. Many of us fear the idea of marriage, because we are trained to do so. It is a scary world out there and many of us are so numbed of emotion due to past heartache that we fear investing ourselves in a new relationship.

We go from sappy to cynical, and convince ourselves we are not interested in the thing called love. It seems almost claustrophobic to think of spending day in and day out with one person forever. There is no turning back, and while there are many positive gains to this commitment, like with anything, it is give and take. It is not just a matter of focusing on yourself anymore, but about a life of two people, which makes some feel trapped at the thought.

When broken down into reality, the big question is if you do find the person you feel you want to spend the rest of your life with, would you want to do this if it meant no party and no ring? It is almost a test of your love to see just how far you would go for forever.

We also wonder how you know when you find ‘the one’. Does he or she show up at your door with a stop light in hand saying, “Save your cheesy pick-up lines! I’m here, and you can stop looking!”

Or is it really an inner feeling that seems so indescribable that we just know? The whole process seems much like choosing a college. We search all over, meeting with different tour guides who show us what each place has to offer. We apply with our best face forward, and hope for a proper match. Then, when you get to campus, you get this rush that tells you without words that you have made the right choice.

However, this certainly does not occur on the first try for everyone. Things go wrong and people transfer using their experiences to grow from, until they find the place they can call home.

Have the stars we idolize like Britney, Jessica and J-Lo given us a different impression of marriage? Being publicized in a staged play-by-play on popular reality shows like “Newlyweds” give a false impression of what matrimony really entails. It almost seems as though several stars are making a mockery of something so sacred. J-Lo’s “I Do, I Don’t” sagas seem to portray marriage as a short-lived accessory like puff paints or shoulder pads. All these mixed messages play with our minds, leaving us a bit lost on the idea, until we personally experience a relationship.

Nowadays, society is more open-minded to topics once kept hush-hush such as gay relationships, teenage sex and various forms of self expression. We are breaking down doors and creating a non-existent definition of normal. Even MTV is speaking to a younger generation with its Rock the Vote campaign, targeting college students to get involved with elections. If we are trusted to make decisions about who will run our country and are eligible to fight in the war, then it seems we are capable of acting like adults when it comes to love.

It is also quite possible that with all the tragedy going on in the world, life certainly maintains a greater value than it once did. Carpe diem is a more popular catch phrase than procrastination, as many realize how important it is to appreciate opportunities.

Although much of the college world’s biggest focus is deciding where to order Chinese from, many are also deciding on their china patterns. Neither is palatable for all taste buds, but both can be very fulfilling.