So this weekend, the fiancee and I went to the wedding of a chemistry friend of hers. His new wife is an evangelical Christian, so the wedding was going to be very happy-clappy and Jesus-loves-me, and I went prepared for that.
All of which went down as expected; a priest who's informal and rather excitable, lots of songs that go on about how wonderful Jesus is but otherwise sound like generic pop-rock, that sort of thing. I don't mind that, after all marriage is a deeply personal thing, and people should go about it in the way that means the most to them.
There was one thing that really bothered me though, and I was made very uncomfortable by it; that is, the vows. This is where the bride was made to promise that she will follow the groom's lead in their marriage.
This is England in the 21st century, and we have an intelligent woman with a strong personality who promises to follow her husband's lead in all things, before her friends, family and congregation. What IS this shit!?
For the record: this does represent fairly well my immediate reaction in the moment. I evinced shock and turned to my fiancee, which she told me later made her feel much better about it, as it reassured her she wasn't the only one noticing how howlingly wrong that was.
Marriage, at least to the two of us, is a partnership of equals. That does not mean each of us has to lead exactly 50% of the time, that we are failing if the division of labour is not half-and-half on effort input, or anything stupid like that.
It does mean though that sometimes she leads, sometimes I do. Some housework is my responsibility, some is hers. Small decisions are made some by her, some by me; big decisions are made in consultation between us.
And seriously, while it isn't all smooth sailing, the decisions we make together have better results than the ones we make apart. Two heads really are better than one.
So why, why, why, would you solemnize the relationship you want to build your life around by distorting and devaluing the dynamic that makes it so practical as well as fun?