Teen Facebook Marriages — Congenial or Concerning?

“Guess what, guys?” one of my friends said last week as they made their way into the circle of our group. “We’re married!” he said with a laugh, grabbing the hand of one of my other friends and raising it in the air with a grin. “Why weren’t we invited to the wedding?” I wanted to ask, but ever the agreeable friend, I restrained. We all had a bit of a giggle and sure enough, that night when we all logged onto Facebook, it appeared that Jake and Elly were newlyweds, both of their statuses now saying ‘married’. Everyone quickly moved on and I’m sure it was immediately forgotten by everyone else, not being significant enough to register, but I couldn’t help but ponder the topic for awhile longer.

Facebook marriages have become the flavour of the month at my school; to friends of the same sex, friends of the opposite sex, a mere acquaintance whose profile picture is looking pretty good and might make a crush jealous. I know that nobody is taking it seriously and it’s all just a joke, but, personally, I can’t see the funny side. Maybe I’ve missed the joke. Or maybe it’s just another one of those trends that means nothing and is basically pointless. I’ll go with the latter.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve just had the Royal Wedding, a union which seems like a true, real-life fairytale, that Facebook marriages seem not only extremely childish, but demeaning to the traditional meaning of marriage. In a modern society that has the highest divorce rates ever recorded, the importance of this life commitment is being quickly diminished. Nobody sees marriage as important as it once was, and I know that’s because times are changing. Now, I don’t disagree with change. In fact, I am extremely glad for some of the changes; I am glad I can work and get a job where I can make my own money and support myself. I am glad that I have the choice to be the ‘worker’ in a family, or the stay-at-home parent should I choose to have kids in the future. I am glad that women can now have a say and write their own novels and articles and songs. I mean, imagine if we were back in the early 1800’s; I certainly wouldn’t be writing this, and not just because the internet wasn’t even invented. While I am thankful that these changes have occurred, I still value marriage and, to me, the act of posting online that you’re married to someone when you’re not is belittling the long lasting tradition.

Call me a romantic if you wish, but I have seen a functional marriage, so I know that they exist. My parents married young, and after eighteen years together, are still happy and totally in love. While my three younger sisters have also observed this and know that happy relationships do exist in a time where divorce and broken families have become the norm, sometimes they can’t help but participate in the latest craze. My fourteen year old sister is married. On Facebook, that is. First it was to this boy, who she adamantly denies is her boyfriend. “Oh no, Amy. We just have a thing.” A thing? That’s right, she was married to a boy who with she only had a thing. There was no like, no really like and certainly no love. Just a whole big thing, really. And needless to say, that didn’t last long. When they did become officially ‘divorced’, within ten minutes she was already asking my opinion on who she should marry next. The habits of a future serial wife, perhaps? Maybe. I’m more inclined to believe, and desperately hope, that these antics only belong to her latest attempt to fit in.