It's been an interesting few weeks. Not only have I had several friends get engaged, I've also been nose deep in reading Committed, the follow-up novel to Eat, Pray, Love. A book I essentially planned to read in order to help Elizabeth Gilbert save face, since my opinion of her was enormously tainted by her mental breakdown in EPL.
So while my friends were sending tweets about planning venues, or complaining about over-bearing relatives - I've been spending my nights in Wedding Philosophy 101. Committed is actually pretty freaking interesting. For one, she talks about religion and marriage. And breaks down the contrived notion that the church invented it, when really, christianity was totally against it at first. They favoured celibacy and the idea that we are all one big human family. But people kept getting married anyways - so they jumped on board and well...tried to control it.
She also describes marriage and foreign cultures. And she discovers women who get their fulfillment from other friends, family and community and don't totally rely on their husbands for their emotional needs. I especially like when she talks about women WITHOUT children and how they are SO important to the advancement of our society. They aren't all cat ladies and spinsters, but aunts who contribute to college funds and act as powerful mentors.
I also enjoyed how she discusses the relationship you get with the Big G when you get married. The government. How they keep society in order, and how the legal act of marriage helps define assets, property, money and children. It's what has shaped the process of the Big D. Divorce.
Near the end, while she cruises through two philosophies that have shaped western culture (Hebrew and Greek), she also talks about one of the most interesting things I've ever heard. The subversive family. How the entire family unit has resisted elements thrust upon them because no matter how hard a government or radical force tries to impose their rules on us (see christianity above), no one can control what goes on in our private little worlds. The private words we say to one another in the middle of the night. It was such a comforting thought that gave me new insights into what family really means.
So while I'm not exactly in a position to be getting married right now - I feel like I gained some new information about what marriage even means. And it can mean whatever the hell you want it to mean. Even more so if you're lucky enough to be from Brazil.