By Robbin Porter
Why his ideas of marriage and ceremonies are so different than yours… Turns out, it’s a cultural thing. As we are raised, we are taught and conditioned to behave in certain ways that are [culturally] acceptable. It’s no surprise that boys and girls are raised very differently and are expected to behave in different ways. These differences are an important contributor to all gender differences, and account for a large amount of the gender difference on views of marriage and ceremonies.
Women are introduced to marriage at a very young age. It’s safe to say that we’ve all seen Cinderella, right? When we are still at the age that boys have cooties we are introduced to this idealized view of marriage and weddings, and how it is this beautiful once in a lifetime event. Many of us are told that it will be “the best day of your life”, and for a lot of us, we have spent many an hour dreaming of white dresses, millions of flowers and two story cakes. At the same time we are taught of the value of marriage and how important it is that we find a respectable man to marry someday who will treat us like a princess and be able to help provide for us.
Men, on the other hand, don’t get this same kind of conditioning. As a matter of a fact, many of the men that I talked to remembered being told comments like “Don’t ever get married”. Better yet, one of the guys commented on how he has heard the joke about how horrible it is to “*love the same woman for the rest of your life” since way before he even knew what it meant. Another common thing men liked to point out was to ask if there was any [men] comedians that hadn’t made a joke about marriage in a negative way. Despite this overall negative conditioning, touchingly, many men feel that the woman they love does deserves a “fancy” wedding; they just don’t understand the whole fancy part of it. [Most] men don’t want a huge showy production. Many of those that were getting married confessed to me that all they wanted out of the wedding was to make their women feel special and to celebrate, drink, and party with friends and family.
Those same men further explained to me that every time another guest was added to the list, or their women started talking about wanting more of this or that, they could just hear their bank accounts draining. For them, they feel, the financial situation surrounding a wedding is a loose/loose situation. Keeping in mind that the average American wedding costs around $27,000, some of the men said that if they can’t provide their woman with an expensive wedding then they feel like they’ve let her down; then again, if they do “pull it off”, then they are burdened with a debt that could have bought a new car, or been a nice down payment on a house, and then they feel like they are not a responsible provider. Men also bear the pressure of being the one to “pop the question”. According to a recent study conducted at the University of California on heterosexual college students, none of the men or women surveyed wanted the woman to propose. Actually, two-thirds of respondents answered they would “definitely” want the proposal by the man.
Taking into account these outrageously different ideas of marriage and ceremonies, it is obvious that it is very important for women to be married to be happy, and not nearly as important as for men, right? Wrong. Actually, numerous statistics show that men are the ones who actually benefit more from marriage from the standpoint of both physical and mental well-being, and even their economic wealth. It probably will come as a shock to find out that many married women actually suffer when compared to single women. At this point you are probably wondering why women are raised with this emphasis on idealizing weddings and ceremonies, if in the long run it really makes us worse off; and why is it that men are raised to have a rather nonchalant attitude towards it if it is actually rather important to their well-being? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No, really it makes sense that we are raised this way. We are raised to offset the need, men “need” marriage, so eventually most men get married even though they are raised with somewhat negative attitudes towards it. On the flipside, women “don’t need” marriage, however due to our upbringing and the very positive notions we have associated with it, we want to get married.
In conclusion, you shouldn’t automatically assume there is something wrong with you or your relationship if your long-term boyfriend hasn’t proposed yet, or your fiancé doesn’t seem overly interested in all of the details of wedding planning. You have to keep in mind the different ways we were raised. Eventually they will come around, because they love you and they want to keep you happy. Just be patient with them… Just like they have to be patient with us when we take incredible amounts of time, are late to events, or spend hours on pinterest.
*Love was substituted as a more appropriate term.