There are so many “new and improved” ideas in society these days that it’s hard to even bat an eye at them anymore. But every so often one surfaces that still evokes a confused headshake and a “Wait… what?!” response.
I had one of these the other day when someone called my attention to a concept known as “self-marriage.” The trending practice, often engaged in by older, unmarried females, advocates commitment and love to oneself.
As was recently reported, marrying oneself is not as hard as might be thought, thanks to some enterprising individuals who have created self-marriage kits:
“A website called I Married Me is offering a DIY marriage kit for singles who want to commit to…themselves.
For $50, you get a sterling silver ring, instructions, vows, and 24 affirmation cards to remind you of your vows over time. If you cough up $230, you get a 14-karat gold ring to put on yourself.
“A roadmap to positivity, our I Married Me kit has all you need to create your own ceremony, including a self-wedding ring, vows and daily affirmation cards. A self-wedding is a symbolic ceremony–about reconnecting and staying connected with you. Wear the ring to remind you every day to love yourself.”
While many may shake their heads over the absurdity of self-marriage, when it comes down to it, the words such as those used above to endorse it really don’t sound all that strange to the modern ear.
The fact is, we’ve been told to treat the self as preeminent for years. Self-esteem is to be fostered in children above all else. Self-promotion is stimulated through countless selfies on social media and other platforms. Self-pampering is regularly encouraged through the rise of health food, spas, vacations, and other leisure activities.
The priority of the self, however, is a far cry from what the institution of marriage is really about. As revered philosopher John Locke once described it, marriage is very much a pathway to self-denial rather than self-aggrandizement:
“Conjugal society is made by a voluntary compact between man and woman; and tho' it consist chiefly in such a communion and right in one another's bodies as is necessary to its chief end, procreation; yet it draws with it mutual support and assistance, and a communion of interests too, as necessary not only to unite their care and affection, but also necessary to their common off-spring, who have a right to be nourished, and maintained by them, till they are able to provide for themselves.”
Today, many men complain that they can’t find a woman to marry because all of them are self-absorbed attention seekers. Women, on the other hand, believe that men have lost their ambition for life and are simply content to take it easy while being pampered in mom’s basement. Are these outcomes, along with the rise of self-marriage, simply a sign that we have taken the concept of self-esteem a bit too far?
Image Credit: Wedding photograph designed by Prostooleh - Freepik.com
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.