www.herald-journal.com
With this ring I me wed

April 7, 2008

by Ivan Raconteur

One tries to be open-minded and embrace other points of view, but, every so often, one hears something that makes one want to retire to some secluded cave, pull up the drawbridge, and quit trying to understand the human race.

One such story that recently came to my attention involves the concept of self-marriage.

The woman on the radio told about her own marriage to herself, and her attempts to get her teenage daughter to marry herself. The mother said this would help the daughter to make good decisions about her life.

The idea behind it is simple enough. Supporters say that we will never be able to be happy or love someone else until we learn to love ourselves.

I can live with that. One can understand how, if someone does not understand himself or what he wants, it may be difficult for him to be happy, and it will certainly be difficult for him to understand anyone else.

But there are limits.

I did some research and discovered that the concept of self-marriage is not new.

Apparently, people have been doing this sort of thing for years.

I was shocked to learn that most of these people seem to be women.

Perhaps this is because guys are much less likely to try to get in touch with their inner feelings.

Most guys are not even aware that they have inner feelings, and they definitely don’t spend a lot of time and energy searching for them.

The thing that surprised me the most about this self-marriage thing is the elaborate lengths to which some people go.

There are as many variations as there are individuals participating, but the process usually goes something like this:

The woman picks a date for the ceremony. This often coincides with the next full moon.

Then, she goes out and buys herself a wedding ring. Some even buy a new dress and hire a photographer.

On the appointed day, she will get together with some close friends and sit around in a circle drinking wine and listening to some carefully selected inspirational music.

Then, all of those present will hold hands, and the bride-to-be will stand in the center of the circle of love and do some chanting, perhaps light some incense, and say her vows to herself.

She may promise to be true to herself, and never to forget what a wonderful, unique, and beautiful person she is.

She might ask herself if she promises to be her spiritually-wedded partner, for better or worse, and all that jazz, and, if she does, she will finish up with the coup de grace, “with this ring I me wed.”

Some brides vary the proceedings by having their spiritual advisor administer the ritual.

I don’t see anything wrong with people feeling good about themselves, but is the whole dog and pony show really necessary?

That is the part that scares me.

It occurred to me while reading some of these stories that it is just possible that the reason some of these women were having trouble in their relationships was not that they were not true to themselves, but because they were just plain nuts.

I am a little bit concerned about the need for a personal “spiritual advisor” or “life coach,” as well. In the old days, we used to rely on our family and friends for this kind of support.

The problem with relying on some freak who claims to be a life coach to help one make decisions is that he may be even loopier than you are, and where does that leave you?

Perhaps I am making too much of this. Perhaps having women dancing around chanting and promising to cherish themselves is not such a bad thing.

One can’t help feeling a bit uneasy, though. I have never been a big fan of ceremonies in the best of times, and the whole self-marriage thing smacks of multiple personality disorder.

On the other hand, I suppose it could be good for the economy.

If self-marriage continues to increase in popularity, then there will be self-anniversaries, and women might take themselves out for a nice dinner. No doubt people will be sending themselves cards and little gifts on Valentine’s Day and other important occasions, so it will probably be good for the florists, jewelers, restaurants, and the greeting card people.

From that perspective, maybe self-marriage is a good thing. These days, the economy needs all the help it can get.

It might even be good for the lawyers. Once the honeymoon is over, there could be a flood of people lining up to divorce themselves, and bad times are always good news for the legal community.