09 May 2011
I spent my entire weekend doing a couple I barely know an incredible favor. This is the couple. They are friends of friends of mine. The only reason I was invited to the wedding is because I have a nice camera. They wanted me to take photos. Actually, they asked if I would come take photos at the rehearsal and dinner, and I agreed. Then the invitation became to also take photos after the paid photographers left the reception. That is the only reason I was invited to the wedding.
They won't send me a thank you note. They won't send me a Christmas card. In their defense, the mother of the bride tried to pay me. As I am not a professional and I have no idea how the photos will look, I refused. I made this my wedding present to the couple.
But I usually don't get people wedding presents. I usually don't attend weddings. Call me jaded. Call me intelligent. Call me whatevah you like. Just don't ask me to be a bridesmaid. The answer is no.
In principle, I suppose, marriage sounds good on paper. Two people agree to tether themselves to one another for life. A mutual agreement. Love is involved, one presumes. How can this be bad?
My life is testament to how this can go horribly, horribly wrong. But I digress. This post really isn't about how shitty my marriage was. Nor is it meant to be about what an incredible bad deal a marriage contract is for a woman. It is about human relations. It is about how we have become a society that bows to the idea of a family without ever giving any respect for the realities of a family. Despite celebrating the launching of a family, we don't actually give families the support they need. We don't actually step in and say what needs to be said when it needs to be said. We don't save marriages from imploding. We watch as they collapse and we blame the folks inside. And I think it's all because we are so damn afraid of actually giving advice that we don't arm young people with the tools they need to succeed. We are so afraid of offending people by actually telling them they are wrong, that we allow them to fail.
This was a Catholic service. I have no real problems with a Catholic service except that the man (always) who officiates, lectures the couple and the congregation about the relationship between a man and a woman and, presumably, has no real experience from which to talk. Bastard is just babbling for 45 minutes on the relationship between man and God and man and woman. Honestly, I think jumping a broom has greater relevance and greater symbolism.
In any event, said priest lectured us all about respect. I have to give him props. I agree that respect in a relationship is everything. While at this wedding, I spent a lot of time with a friend of mine and her husband. My friend is an intelligent, hard-working individual. She has a good heart and if you asked her, she would say that she loves her husband with all her heart. But in the span of two days, I heard her call her husband a dumbass, stupid, and drunk (when he wasn't) to his face. She misunderstood what he was saying and yelled at him for stating the "obvious". She berated him. She was demanding.
I watched. And the more I heard, the more horrified I became.
It tested his patience. I felt sorry for him. I understood his pain. My friend is wrong. She thinks she is nagging. She thinks by needling him, she'll cause him to change his behavior. Drink less. Not say things that embarrass her. Maybe she just wants him to go away. Honestly, I think she is unhappy with herself and under some stress and can't articulate that and so she simply lashes out at the only other thing she can blame for her current situation. I'm certain I need to stay out of it. But nonetheless, my friend is wrong. I fear for her relationship precisely because I know that she thinks it is HIS behavior that is the problem. Oh, he's no saint, but it isn't his unsaintly behavior that is the true danger to their relationship. It is her attitude that he isn't worthy of respect and her willingness to flaunt her opinion in his face.
I know, because I was in her shoes once. And once you've lost respect for them, you can't get it back. And once they tire of the harassment, they fall out of love with you. And after that, they are gone. Oh, she won't miss him when he's gone. She'll be convinced her decision to leave was the right one. Or maybe she'll applaud his decision to leave. And maybe she will be better off. But. It didn't have to be. And respect for one another is the tool that could turn this whole thing around.
I wonder what will happen.