Lately I’ve been reading about expensive weddings. Did you know that the average wedding in America costs $27,000? $27,000! My sister wrote an excellent post about this phenomenon over at My Personal Finance Journey and the other contributor, apparently named Jacob, wrote about it at my sister’s blog, Frugal Portland. (Confession: When I read his post I immediately thought, “27 and a financial planner? I wonder if he has a picture…” I’m so flawed!)
Together these finance minded thinkers hashed out the reasons why anyone on earth, let alone EVERYONE, would spend so much flipping money on one day of their life. Then I read a post about one aspect of the Theology of the Body, sentimentality. For my non-Catholics out there, the Theology of the Body is a rather expansive theological explanation for all the weird things Catholics do like freak out about birth control. I was really hoping to find a website to link that would explain it concisely but that is pretty much impossible because even the Pope couldn’t. Not that pope’s do anything concisely… Anyways, it took JP2 thirty years (30 years!) of Wednesday addresses to outline this theology. Short it ain’t. Even before he was Pope, Cardinal Wojtyla wrote a lot about sex and love.
Anyways, this article talks about some ways that people fail to love each other in romantic relationships. Thankfully, it isn’t all about sex. The main point is that sometimes people use each other for the sake of sentiment:
When we speak of a man using a woman, we tend to think of this in terms of him using her for sexual pleasure. However, Wojtyla highlights that men and women can use each other for emotional pleasure as well. A devoutly Christian man and woman can have a completely chaste dating relationship, but still be using each other for the “good feelings” they experience when together, for the emotional security of having a boyfriend/girlfriend, or for the pleasure they derive from imagining their wedding day with this other person and hoping the other will finally be “the one.”
Dating: You’re doing it wrong! According to Wojtyla, one should never navigate their romantic relationships based only on their “feelings.” Feelings are tricky and sneaky and sometimes wrong. Right now I have a strong feeling that I need a bath. I seriously just took a bath an hour ago, but I love baths, so I feel like I need another. I was too sleepy to appreciate my first bath, I need another. See? Feelings are tricky!
The pope (or then Cardinal, if you want to be technical) said that often sentiment, not love, drives our feelings. He does not deny that sentiment plays an integral role in a loving relationship, but its needs to be integrated with friendship, commitment, and self-sacrifice.
I’m thinking that sentiment is also what leads people to spend more money on their wedding than is financially prudent. As far as obnoxious girls go, I am queen of dreaming about my future wedding. Big Catholic wedding, full mass, full cathedral, lots of O’Malley’s, lots of dancing, and obviously an open bar. But is that sentiment dictating who I date and for how long?
I met a new friend and we went out for drinks last night. I sort of pithily asked her why she’s still single in Everett. (Uh duh.) Her answer surprised me though, “I can’t date anyone unless they are my best friend, and I haven’t made any best friends here.”
Seems like a good strategy to me, though it’s not going to help Match.com’s bottom line.
Now that’s something to drink whiskey to: friends before boyfriends!