On June 28, 1986 at 7:00 pm in the evening at the Birmingham Wedding Chapel in Alabama I said I DO to myWedding Rings - Robert Wallis husband Tony! If you go to The KISS and Jennifer Keitt Show FACEBOOK PAGES (http://www.facebook.com/thejenniferkeittshow) you can see my wedding day picture. That was 27 years ago and we spent about $4,500.00 TOTAL—including my dress and our gold wedding bands. My hair was a HOT MESS…my daughter’s say the dress that I said YES to was classic 80’s and my reception was sparse to say the least—but hey, 27 years later, I’m still standing in marriage!
Today, the average wedding costs about $28,000.00 dollars and I found out this week—when I did an interview with Lori Allen and Monte Durham from TLC’S Say Yes To The Dress—that they have gowns in Lori’s store upwards of $20,000.00 dollars! Veils can cost as much as $2,000.00 dollars! That’s a TON of money to spend on the first day of what is supposed to be the rest of your life with someone!
I’m wondering, though, do we spend that much in time and preparation to STAY married? Nowadays I’m even questioning is marriage becoming OBSOLETE? With the number of couples opting for a variety of different configurations—from FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS to LONG-TERM boyfriend/girlfriend to LONG-TERM “piece” on the side, baby-mommas, baby-daddys and the status of being NOT married yet NOT single, hmmmm…I wonder, where does MARRIAGE fit in? Why are so many people opting out of saying “I DO” for a lifetime?
Now let me keep it real, I broke all the rules before getting married. Tony & I lived together for three years before tying the knot. According to most of the research, because we lived together, we were more likely to never get married, and according to the research we should have divorced within the first 7 years of our marriage. Well Tony proposed and we got married two weeks after I graduated from college. Because I was in my final semester I didn’t have time to plan a wedding. I was 22 years old! I didn’t know ANYTHING about weddings let alone getting married! We found a wedding chapel and the man who ran the chapel was also a wedding planner! We sat down one time with George, answered his questions about colors and flowers and punch—and I let him have at it as I hustled to finish up my degree.
Well why didn’t someone tell me that weddings bring out the drama and the crazy in your family? My Dad decided to act the biggest fool because—of all things—Tony & I wanted a DRY wedding…no booze. Now I know some of ya’ll choked on that one…but yeah, we opted for no alcohol! Honestly, I believe he gave me grief because he and my Mom at that time were in between divorce and child support and he wanted leverage. Well, I gave him the leverage…and leveraged him right out of the wedding! Yep…my younger brother gave me away on that day. Of course, I never lived that one down with my Dad. Between finishing my broadcasting degree…trying to coordinate a wedding and dealing with all of my FAMILY drama…Tony and I didn’t even think about how we were going to BE married and STAY married after June 28th!
I think back now and ask myself, “GIRL WERE YOU CRAZY?!” C’mon now, who would drive a car without lessons? Who can get a degree in any field without studying? Who would attempt to build a home without a blueprint or instructions? Yet, we get married without so much as a CLUE! We go on our “feelings!” WHAT?! It’s nothing short of a miracle that I was able to get and stay married to the same man for all these years.
I don’t want anyone to have to go through the hell that I went through. So let’s talk about where we are today. Has marriage become obsolete?
You know what I think part of the problem is?
We’re afraid. We’re afraid of failing at marriage, so we don’t bother to commit to it. We don’t know how to stay married, so we don’t try. We don’t value long-term commitment or “the piece of paper” as some call it so marriage doesn’t cross our minds.
Yet, I know there’s something DEEP INSIDE many of us that want a soulmate. We want to be with the love of our lives every day. We want long-term be with you forever kind of live. We want happiness and the contentment of knowing that someone loves us and cares enough to be with us for the rest of our lives.
How do we get there? That’s why I’m doing this show. So we can think about what we really want.
I think we’ve got to start EDUCATING ourselves about marriage. I had NO IDEA that there was a class or counseling that I could have gotten BEFORE I got married! Pre-marital counseling—I’d never heard of it! I didn’t realize that my wedding day wouldn’t help me ONE BIT when the you know what hit the fan and we had our first married-persons argument! Which dress I said YES to, was irrelevant when he got on my last nerve. When the kids came, what our guests ate at the wedding didn’t matter!
Are we investing more on our wedding day than on the marriage? LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE.
I am your chief empowerment officer JENNIFER KEITT. The Jennifer Keitt Show on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B, is heard every Sunday from 7-8 pm ET. Be sure to download your free ToolKEITT for the Nearly Beloved Show. It’s full of resources, questions and links to help you as you are decided whether marriage is right for you. It’s on my website at http://www.jenniferkeitt.com.