Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Convalidation Conundrum (part I of II)

Is a convalidation a wedding?  And does it merit a wedding celebration?
Those are the questions I have as my husband and I go through the convalidation process.  Out of curiosity, I sent my situation and my question here to see what type of opinions and answers I would get. 
To my surprise, I didn’t get nearly as much snark as I expected.  The admin and many of the commenters had some constructive, articulate thoughts and offered some well-wishes.  That made me smile and gave me some material to work with.
However, the admin suggested that having a wedding celebration was tantamount to having a vow renewal “in which the couple recreates their wedding day” or “for the wife to relive her one glorious day of being the center of attention.”  Seriously?  The reason I began with the ho-hum details of my civil wedding was to avoid that type of assumption.  A wedding celebration would be in no way recreating my wedding day or reliving anything about our wedding.  If I wanted to recreate / relive my wedding day, my husband would be the center of attention and we would both wear jeans and sneakers …. just like we did 3-1/2 years ago.
She went on to say, “If you and your husband truly believe that the convalidation ceremony carries far more spiritual and theological significance than your civil wedding, then the fluffy trappings of a big wedding day should be irrelevant.”  By that logic, no one should ever go to any trouble to dress up or celebrate any event at any time.  The reality, however, is that big celebrations and events are how we mark milestones of deep significance, and that will continue to be the case for as long as human beings have a physical nature (as well as a spiritual nature).
And the snark did come out, as I knew it would.  Frankly, it’s part of the entertainment of the site. 
“I’m glad to see the Admin’s response.  I get so annoyed with couples who have a civil ceremony and later decide to have a big fancy party because ‘ we wanted a church wedding.’ If you want a big fancy party, admit that you want a big fancy part, instead of pretending it has anything to do with your religion.”
Spoken like someone who: 1) didn’t even read what I wrote; and 2) has no clue what a “church wedding” is or what the significance is. 
It’s not that the civil marriage is not also “real” in its own right.  We are “really” married in the eyes of the state such that we are a social unit for various purposes, and I changed my name.  The convalidation is a different type of “real.”  After this ceremony, we will be married in the eyes of the Church.  Also, the Church marriage is indissoluble in a way that the civil marriage is not.  So from where I’m sitting I’ll admit I have some nerves about that, owing to the seriousness of the commitment (not because I’m afraid I’m committing to the wrong guy).
“As a non-catholic, I find the original post and some of the comments a bit confusing. Some write that the church ceremony is the important one, and only after that you are married in the eyes if God. But still some, including the OP, have been only legally married when they moved in with their respective partner. If the church ceremony is the one that matters, then these people have been living together without being married in the eyes of their god. Isn’t this a sin, if you are actually religious?
To me, it feels like people are trying to have it both ways: marry legally early, and have all the benefits of marriage because it was convenient to do so, and then have the big wedding at a later stage, and get the party. But, if you really are truly religious, then you couldn’t live together before you were married also in the eyes of God? And if you actually feel that it is ok to live together (with everything that entails, scrabble, etc) before being married in the eyes of God, then do you really respect God?”
Yes, because everyone who “respects God” does so with equal levels of enthusiasm and proficiency their entire life.  Everyone who “respects God” does everything by the book the first time around, and thus are free from sin, all because they “respect God.”  In fact, there was no need for Christ to die on the cross in the first place because everyone who “respects God” is already sinless.
In any case, it would be the height of legalistic stupidity to “break up” while we’re waiting for the convalidation.  You cannot possibly think it’s a good idea to deprive my daughters of their father figure for an indefinite period of time.
But thanks for your opinions on things irrelevant to the question I actually asked.
(To be continued)

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