Last Tuesday, our son called to say that he got married. I had met our new daughter-in-law a month ago, but my wife has yet to meet her. We live in different parts of California. We learned that they were seriously dating on Facebook. At least this time, we found out about the event before seeing it on Facebook. (Barely) There were only a very few people at the event – enough to make it legal. Even our son’s best friend was not there. A friend of our son performed the rite at his house. Our daughter-in-law is a very nice person. That is my impression from meeting her and our son would not have married her of she was not. We are making arrangements for my wife to meet her, too.
After sharing this story with other people, it was amazing how many people said that at least one of their children did the same kind of thing or they knew someone whose child did the same kind of thing. Apparently this goes on much more frequently than I thought. Being someone in the marriage business, I thought that elopement was the exception and a rare one at that. (Now I do have to confess that shortly before we were married amid all of the hassle that goes into a wedding, I broached the idea of elopement with my wife.) I do know of couples who eloped and then did the formal wedding thing shortly after it was a done deal.
Since the average wedding costs $24,000 in the United States, it might make more sense to keep it simple. My son and Chelsea Clinton helped even out the average. The multi-million dollar Clinton wedding is a stark contrast to our son’s wedding.
When our son broke the news, I reminded him that couples who receive premarital counseling have much reduced chance of divorce. In his case and other couples like them, it is not too late to have that counseling even if it is after the fact. There are valuable skills that are taught if the counselor is doing it right and uses something similar to Prepare-Enrich.
If younger couples are bypassing traditional marriage paths and ceremonies, then it is even more important for the states to require or incentivize premarital counseling for couples before they are married. Divorce cost the taxpayers of this country more than $12 billion annually. Much of these social costs are preventable.