Merriam-Webster defines “congratulation” as “a message telling someone that you are happy because of his or her success or good luck”. When we think of congratulating someone, we think of it occurring when we discover that someone we know gets a new job, graduates from an educational program, buys a house, or something they have worked hard to achieve.
Over the last few years, as I know more people getting engaged and married, I have witnessed a multitude of “congrats” on social media platforms. Is this how people always reacted, or are we pressured to have a coherent, polite response on the internet, where everyone sees what we say?
When I see someone post a status or picture proclaiming their excitement about their recent proposal or a “life event” stating their new last name, I tend to “like” the post, or I even say something similar to “that is so exciting!” I am sure this makes me sound like a complete asshole, but I, personally, do not think that I should be congratulating someone for making the decision to put on a dress and exchange vows. Is it an exciting time? Absolutely. Is it something that deems you a successful person? I’m going to say no.
This originally began discussing this subject about a year ago, when a young bride-to-be confronted me for not being happy for her “success”, like everyone else was. This is the same person who admitted that she should not be getting married so young, without a job, and begged for people to help her win something for her wedding, because it was a large expense for them. Obviously, I found this annoying, and I had something to say (subtweet) about it, because I have a huge mouth and can’t get my shit together. I was then told that I was not a good friend (probably true), because I just couldn’t be happy for how successful she was. During this conversation, I realized that “successful” was the word that really got under my skin. Is marriage really worth congratulating?
As an unmarried woman, I’m sure many think I simply do not understand how big of a deal marriage is. Listen. I may not know marriage from personal experience, but I do know that a tax break, getting to visit your partner during emergencies, and being known as married must be pretty cool. However, it is not necessary, and many people are living as if they are married, just without the paperwork.