Tag Archives: culture

Wedding Pressure? Me Too

Photo Credit: Azildalions

Photo Credit: Azildalions

I can hear the church bells. Cue the violins. Don’t forget the candle procession. Oh, and the flowers–the bouquets have to be prominently displayed all around the church. The flower girls better get this right. The ring bearer better not be picking his nose. Where are the crying mothers? Oh, there they are…

I’ve been in a lot of weddings as a child, but also as an adult. Well, the adult part  invokes a tremendous sense of independence and freedom from having to hold a stupid pillow with symbolic rings on it. Strike that, being a groomsman is just as bad. With all the standing I have to do, I have to make sure I won’t pass out from exhaustion as the priest talks on and on about love and how a husband and wife should behave.

As a twenty-three-year-old, I’ve had the pleasure of being in many weddings since I started out as a cute little ring bearer and worked my way up to groomsmen. With so many of my friends getting married so young, I can’t wait to get promoted to Best Man. That was sarcasm–extreme sarcasm. Now, don’t get me wrong–I’m quite happy for my friends who have found true love and happiness. I can’t help the fact that their marriages make me feel like I’m way behind, despite my young age. Darn. And my parents are already asking, “When are you getting married?” Double darn. To all those who are under the same wedding pressure, I feel you. I’m living it. Triple darn.

Why do people get married anyway? Is marriage still relevant in our culture today? Sometimes, it doesn’t look so, as evidence by HBO’s “Californication.” Compared to a hundred years ago, it’s now more acceptable to live with your significant other without the dreaded M word.

Some people argue that marriage is for the children–having them. Sure, it definitely was many years ago when pregnant teens were rejected and were often pushed to marry the guy that got them pregnant in the first place. The thought of an unwed pregnant teen in an era like the 1950s was disturbing; it brought shame to the family. Now, you can argue that the stigma it still  the same today, but there’s definitely more degrees of acceptance. And I’ve seen functioning families where the parents aren’t even married–they live together under the same roof and do as other married couples do. They just don’t have the “marriage” title. Who needs it, right?

Other people argue that marriage shows commitment and validates the relationship. Does that mean we get married to make it harder to leave the other? What about all those divorces? You don’t have to get married to show commitment–you do that just by being committed. Your actions will speak for itself that other people know you are in a committed relationship.

So if we don’t get married for the children or for the commitment or to validate the relationship, why spend those thousands of dollars to say “I do” when you can say it every day of your life?

Again, are marriages even relevant today? I think marriages are even more relevant today than years before. For several hundred years, marriage was inevitable. But in today’s society, that’s still up in the air. Today, we have the choice to get married, or to live together and enjoy all that married life has to offer without the title. That choice makes marriages all that more relevant. But that still leaves the question: why get married today?

Maybe I’m a romantic Christian at heart, but I think marriage makes the relationship spiritually divine. Something bigger than the both of you–the author of love–that same Being has brought you together. God has blessed your relationship. As much as you chose to get married, God has agreed with you and He’s had a hand in it. I think that’s a beautiful view of marriage–that makes me want to get married even more. Alas, the wedding pressure. In the words of my best friend, “It’s time to go wife-hunting.”

Photo Credit: Azildalions

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A Life-Changing Love

love

Photo Credit: Flickr

What exactly is love? Countless of people from philosophers to psychologists to poets and musicians have tried to define it, but perhaps the concept is just too difficult to define or to grasp. Yet it exists somehow. Some define it as a “strong positive emotion of regard and affection”  (Source 1). Authors Lewis, Amini, and Lannon (2000) attempted a more biological definition, that love is an essential human drive, like hunger or thirst and may occur in the form of oxytocin, neurotrophins, and pheromones. The field of psychology looks at love as more of a sociocultural phenomenon.

Hollywood thrives over those sappy films filled with love and romance. They’ve become classics in our homes–movies like “Ghost,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “While You Were Sleeping.”  Unfortunately, sometimes Hollywood’s portrayal of love is really not about love at all. It’s more about lust. You know, those American Pie films that are supposedly about “young love” is really about the pursuit to “score.” Have we forgotten what love is? Or is love just purely “sex and candy” (Marcy Playground)?

The music world, is never without love songs. Nat King Cole cleverly created initials for love (“L is for the way you look at me. O is for the only one I see. V is very, very extraordinary. E is even more than anyone that you adore”). The Everly Brothers sang that “love hurts, love scars, love wounds and mars.” Singers Joan Jett and Hadaway as well as the bands Incubus and Nazareth would agree that love is painful. But although love may be painful, it may be well worth it, as Taylor Swift reminds us with “Love Song,” a song about two modern-day star-crossed lovers. How romantic. The Backstreet Boys are willing to do anything “as long as you love [them].” But they are not alone. Heck, we’ll do anything for love, or at least to feel love.

Sometimes, this pursuit for love or to feel loved leads us to a downward spiral as we find it in the wrong places. We want intimacy, and not in the sexual sense, but in the sense that only love can provide. Intimacy is the feeling of mutual affection. It’s what genuine friendships are made of. And we aren’t getting enough of it. Perhaps our lack of love and intimacy makes us cheat on our spouses, instead of doing our best to examine the problem and communicate it with our spouses. Perhaps our lack of love and intimacy leads us to an addiction to drugs and alcohol–we end up drowning our sorrows away because the temporary high and buzz makes us feel better about our lives. Perhaps our lack of love and intimacy leads us to harm ourselves, believing that no one in the world cares about us, so it is better to just end our lives right here right now. The tragedy is that we deceive ourselves and that we allow ourselves to be deceived.

Love is out there and it’s not about cute little pink and red hearts. Just recently, I heard a song from Jaeson Ma which basically inspired me to write about this. Jaeson is an outspoken individual who is a culture changer, world shaker, and history maker.

His new song, “Love,” is refreshing because it provides a different message from all those songs and movies about love. What is love? Love is about sacrifice–it’ selfless. It’s thinking about others before yourself. What a radical idea! Perhaps it’s only radical because in our society, we use the word love so much, that it’s lost its meaning: “I love what you’re wearing.” “Do you love the Fray’s new song?” Perhaps it’s only radical in our society because love is self-centered instead of others-centered. We do things because it’ll make us look better. We do things for another only if they do something for us.

I want a love that is life-changing. I think that’s the only sort of love that’s worth it. So why don’t you take a minute and check out this unique message about love, and if you love it, then spread the love:

Photo Credit: Flickr

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Filed under Christianity, Life, Music

Phallic Symbol? Ties Need To Die…Sort Of

Growing up, I hated wearing my Sunday clothes to church, which consisted of dressy pants, a dressy shirt, and the dreaded tie. Oh the God-awful tie. Wearing the tie around my neck brought me great anxiety. I could feel it choking me, and as a seven-year-old, wearing such an attire was counter-productive.  It restricted movement and especially my playing time with other kids. It felt as if you were imprisioned in your own body.

neckties

As a twenty-three-year-old, I still hate wearing such clothes, but I’m less dramatic about it. I

understand the arguments of wearing your Sunday best. Most conservatives argue that if you look your best for a wedding, a party, a business meeting, job interviews, and a court hearing, then shouldn’t you also look your best for God? Okay, I’ll take that. But I’m thankful that God doesn’t judge me by the way I look, God examines the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God could careless how we look, He sees our hearts. So perhaps looking our best is really a cultural thing, it’s a performance that we do to maintain the status quo, to not insult those whose culture follows such traditions.

But it got me thinking about the dreaded tie. I pray to God that I won’t have to wear a tie to work each day.Why do we even wear them? Who thought about this crazy contraption that allows us to willingly place a noose around our necks?  I’ve always thought that they were worn to cover the buttons. However, when I eat a fancy dinner, I have to toss my tie over my shoulder or remove it entirely–so the tie just isn’t that practical, is it?

As a psychology and sociology major, I tend to see things differently. Perhaps the tie is a phallic symbol since the pointy end of the tie directs our eyes downward towards the genital area. I mean it makes sense in Western culture. Guys boast about such things all the time. We have huge egos. In other cultures, other things are done to display masculinity and power. Perhaps the tie is simply a Western thing.

I’m no historian, but legend has it that ties actually came from a military regiment from Croatia around the mid 1600s. After defeating the Ottoman Empire in The Thirty-Year’s War, the Croatians visited King Louis XIV in Paris. They happened to be wearing handkerchiefs made of silk around their necks as neck cloths, which were originally worn to warm up the vocal chords of those who did public speaking. The king took a fancy at their fashion, and immediately had everyone in the palace wear these neck cloths instead of the lace ruffs they usually wear. Some believe this may be where the word “cravat” (“soft necktie”) comes from because the French word for Croatian is “Croate.” And the rest, I guess is history…or legend.

And fast forward four centuries and we’re back with the tie as we know it today. As a twenty-three-year-old, I appreciate the tie, even if I hate it. I appreaciate how it can be a fashion statement and help me display my personality or sense of individuality.

There are all kinds of ties, some colorful, some boring. Some ties have words, some have pictures. But there’s a tie out there that suits you and your mood and what ever message you are trying to send, like ex-president Bill Clinton.

gryftie

Today, I wore a Burberry tie to complete my Harry Potter outfit. Apparently, Burberry is a brand that is looked down upon by the British. But here in America, it’s still pretty popular. Wearing the tie with a nice white dress shirt and some grey shorts made me looked more like a Catholic school boy though. I need to find a real Hogworts tie. Maybe I’ll go for a Gryffindor one.Yes, ties are remarkable.

Photo Credit in Order: TracyEdwardWeymer, CostumeCraze

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Filed under Christianity, Issues/Causes, Life, Masculinity