I study romantic relationships. I’m also engaged. So, of course, I’ve given a tremendous amount of thought as to what it really means for my partner and I to marry one another. Researchers have found that weddings are deeply significant life events, but we don’t really know why they’re so meaningful. Marriage may simply be about celebrating a milestone: recognizing the relationship that a couple has built together and the love that they share for each other. But weddings are also very future-oriented, as the couple publicly promises to maintain their relationship for life. I suspect that it’s really these vows – the solemn promises that the newlyweds make to each other in front of their closest friends and family – that are at the crux of why weddings have such an emotional impact.
Entries in wedding (8)
One of the more surprising things about the scientific literature on dating and marriage is that there are very few studies of the events that signify the “beginning” of dating and marriage relationships. For example, we still know fairly little (on the scientific front) about how relationships form in the real world. We can look at processes in the lab, and even simulate events (e.g., speed dating studies) that should, presumably, lead to relationship formation. But, for all our efforts, capturing real relationships as they develop has proven a formidable challenge.
Wedding season is just around the corner, so you might want to check out the wedding announcements section at the Onion and read up on our favorite wedding- and marriage-related articles:
- From Bride to Blues: Examining the Prevalence of Post-Nuptial Depression
- Bridesmaids and the Changing Role of the Bachelorette Party
- Got “Cold Feet”? Watch Out for Marital Woes Ahead
- For Better or Worse…In Marriage, Men May Get More of the Better
- I Do, or Do Not, Take Your Name in Marriage
- Our Stuff: Household Objects Indicate Relationship Quality
- The Top 20 Most Desired Personality Traits in a Future Spouse
- Wanna Make You Feel Wanted: Husbands’ Sensitive Support Predicts Relationship Outcomes
- Who Has the Busier Bedroom: Single People or Married Couples?
- Sustainable Marriage Quiz
Remember that classic scene from Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts bolted from the altar and trotted across the horizon in a wedding dress? Or when Chandler in Friends left a note for Monica before he fled just hours before their nuptial? These storylines are common in TV and movies, but it can happen in real life too. Many people get cold feet before their big days; it is so common that friends and family usually tell the bride/groom-to-be to just brush it off as a little blip on the path to living happily-ever-after. Indeed, people often have more doubts about themselves, their partners, and their relationships when they face significant changes in their lives.1 But are we right to ignore these doubts? Not so, according to recent research.
As someone who has never walked down the aisle, I have to say that Allison Scott’s presentation about the prevalence of "bridal blues" was an eye-opening experience. Not only did I learn that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a wedding day survival guide, (as they compare planning a wedding to surviving a natural disaster), but also I learned that most women experience a post-wedding “let down.”
After getting engaged, there are practically a million decisions for brides-to-be to make. You need to pick a dress, a wedding singer, and decide on a honeymoon destination. Amidst all of these decisions, you also have to make what may be the most important decision of all (next to saying ‘yes’, of course): whether you will take your husband’s last name in place of your own. The decision is not trivial. Sure, a change in name necessitates a change in driver’s license, credit cards, passport, and even your signature, but it may also influence your self-concept (you know, that part of yourself that tells you who you are).
The movie Bridesmaids opened this weekend and its raucous hilarity departs from the standard female-led romantic comedy – it rivals the bawdy glory of Old School, Wedding Crashers, and The Hangover. Although not all women’s pre-wedding events resemble the movie (which is probably a good thing), Bridesmaids demonstrates that women too can be profane and outrageous and get laughs for it, and reminds me that roles for women have shifted, not just in romantic comedies but as bridesmaids in real life.