Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 19, 2012

Unsolicited advice rains on celebration

By Kathy Gibbons

---- — A couple of weekends ago, we went out to have my daughter's bachelorette party. Those in attendance were mainly the groom's five sisters and mom, my daughter's bridal party and me.

It was a fun night, starting out with sangria and tapas at a great spot in Royal Oak, followed by dancing at a nearby nightclub. Most of the people at the club were mid 20s to mid 30s, with a small assortment of people in their 40s and 50s — the majority of the older crowd appearing to be single and scouting for companionship.

My daughter was having a great time, enjoying dancing with the members of our group, wearing a play tiara and veil as many girls do during their bachelorette parties, when a stranger, probably around 50, grabbed her by the arm.

"Don't do it," she hissed at my daughter, pulling her in. "Really, don't get married. I want you to come with me so I can talk you out of it."

My daughter was furious and shook her off.

"I wanted to say something, but didn't," she said later. "What right does she have to say that to me?"

Not long afterward, it happened again. Another woman, maybe 45, stopped her and wanted to talk about why marriage was the wrong move. This time, my daughter retorted, "I'm marrying the right guy," and turned away.

Sure, the divorce rate is high and many people are jaded when it comes to marriage. But because it didn't work out for one doesn't mean it won't be fabulous for someone else.

To me, marriage is 50 percent work and 50 percent luck. You can't know 100 percent on your wedding day that it will last forever, though you believe you do. But you do know 100 percent at that moment, you're madly in love with someone you can't live without and want to be with the rest of your life.

Marriage is also blind optimism. You cast your lot with someone wanting to and believing that you will be happy together forever. And many people are. We see them every day.

To rain on a young bride-to-be's parade because the wheels came off your float is self-centered and mean-spirited. It says, "I'm miserable and you're going to be, too."

But everybody deserves a shot at love, and at getting it right.

A few weeks later, as I watched my daughter and her groom exchange vows, tears streaming down their faces as they pledged with shining optimism to love and be loyal to one another, I wished those jaded women at the disco could see it. Maybe it would make them remember a day when they, too, believed, and realize that it could still happen — that they need to be open to the idea of love, whether for themselves or for others who know with all their might that they have found it.