Call me out of it, but I don’t get modern marriage customs at all.
The other day the scrub tech announced that he was planning to get engaged – had been picking out the ring with his girlfriend, had been choosing where to take her to propose, and when. So the attending, a woman, asked as if it was the most natural thing, whether they were going to move in with each other now. And he said no, but just because her parents were so old-fashioned, and might not be too happy with that. So I guess now it’s automatic that if you’re so benighted as not to live togther prior to being engaged, certainly once you’re past that point (and remember that engagements routinely last for years now) you’re expected to be living together. (And since when is the woman informed of the proposal in advance? What counts as the proposal or engagement then, the monetarily valuable moment when the ring is handed over, or the emotionally valuable moment when the need for the ring is confirmed?)
And then of course there’s the routine style of talking which all the residents – male and female – adopt, of talking concerning engagements as though the man has been trapped into a life of misery. I wonder what their wives do to them to cause them to talk so. If I were the woman, I would be insulted – or perhaps concerned about what character flaw would do that; but the women join in. Or perhaps the men ought to be insulted – that they’re considered incapable of commitment and family building without being entrapped. Why has the rise of feminism produced a social more where men are expected not to care for families, and women are expected to be as lighthearted about the whole subject as the men are?
Americans scoff at the old arranged marriages, and the Eastern regard for virginity; but I don’t see any evidence that our modern “freedoms” produce any kind of happiness.