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Matrimania Gone Terribly Wrong (At least we think so) June 11, 2010

Posted by Onely in Your Responses Requested!.
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Christina and I are slightly wary of posting this, because we do not want to appear insensitive or overly critical about what is obviously a very sad situation that we are grateful we are not in, but we read about this a few days ago and can’t stop thinking about it… So we’d like your help analyzing the situation.

Here’s the story: A wedding party’s bus got hit in Indianapolis over the weekend, one of the groomsmen died, and multiple people were injured. The couple exchanged vows at the hospital, and even continued with the reception that evening (it sounds as though they may have turned the reception into a prayer service/remembrance for the groomsman who was killed, but it’s unclear from the article).

This marriage is being presented (at least in this article) as a triumph over tragedy, but we personally find it unsettling. How can this couple’s marriage, which turns the attention to them and away from the victim, be interpreted as “mak[ing] the best out of a bad situation”? That’s a direct quote from one of the nurses. Notably, neither the bride nor groom is quoted. It could be that the couple wanted the entire thing kept private, but the media and hospital staff made a huge matrimaniacal deal out of it, adding cookies and reportage–and turning the couple into the stars of the show, the show that weddings are “supposed” to be.

We wonder if clinical shock may have played a role in their decision to go ahead with the service. People are raised to think of weddings as inherently comforting and magical–so when you’re upset and vulnerable, why wouldn’t you reach out for something with that power? The hospital staff probably had similar thoughts, which is why they facilitated the impromptu wedding.

Should we or should we not be astounded that the marriage aura is seen as so powerful it can be used as currency to offset or mitigate the knowledge of a friend’s body lying in the morgue several stories below? Copious Readers, what are your thoughts about this? Is this an example of matrimania gone terribly wrong (as we suggest in the title of this post), or are we being too critical?

— Lisa and Christina

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