“Self-Wedding in a Box” kit?
by Emily Macke
The word “wedding” is likely to conjure up images of a bride and groom, rings and an officiant, yet one couple is promoting “self-marriage” with their, “I Married Me – Self-Wedding in a Box” kit.
CNN recently profiled the kit and its creators, Jeffrey Levin and Bonnie Powers, a married couple who combine their jewelry design and branding and consulting skills in order to promote loving oneself.
Although Powers is adamant that the self-marriage kit does not promote selfishness, she summarizes the purpose of marrying oneself as being about, “acknowledging that you are a lovable, adorable, amazing person with all these fabulous qualities, and sometimes that’s really hard to stick with. When we have experienced the ritual with people, we see that it centers and focuses them on themselves and gives them some guidelines” to discover themselves.
On their site, IMarriedMe.com, this idea is furthered: “A self-wedding is about completing yourself. Loving yourself. Realizing YOU are the “right” one. It’s not a replacement for a relationship… the more you love yourself, the better able you are to love others.”
Powers described self-marriage as a “road map” to “self-actualization and awareness.”
The “I Married Me” kit comes with a ring (one chooses the correct size and desired finish when purchasing the product), vows, ceremony instructions and an affirmation card for every day of the week.
In March 2012, a Fargo, North Dakota woman made headlines for “marrying” herself and reciting these vows: “I, Nadine, promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self.”
In an article published on inforum.com, Nadine Schweigert explained the genesis of her decision to “self-marry”: “I was waiting for someone to come along and make me happy, […] At some point, a friend said, ‘Why do you need someone to marry you to be happy? Marry yourself.’”
Powers’ description of her motivation for beginning the I Married Me kits is similar. “Certainly we would love the idea of people looking within themselves and recognizing their awesomeness — because we all have awesomeness inside us, and we get tripped up and forget,” she said. “Part of what Jeffrey and I want is for more people to focus on that in the most selfless way, so happiness and joy can spread.”
Other unconventional “marriages” have made the news recently, with reported matches between a woman and a bridge, a woman and a ferris wheel, and a woman and the Eiffel Tower (even changing her last name to Eiffel).
Perhaps in part these alternative “marriages” are an attempt to escape a world where divorce rates remain high. As IMarriedMe.com summarizes, “Divorce rates are high in marriage but we are sure you will be sleeping with the person you self-marry today for the rest of your life!” No matter what’s motivating this phenomenon, it is remarkable that the question is being raised about whether love and marriage actually require another person—a real, personal relationship.
It certainly is important to recognize and rejoice in one’s own dignity as a beloved child of God. But of course, it’s also important to recognize that when it comes to marriage, it takes two. Marriage is a communion of persons, established when a man and woman mutually give themselves to each other and accept each other fully, vowing to remain faithful “until death do us part.” No amount of self-affirmation can transform promises made to oneself into a marriage.
As a counter-proposal to the “self-marrying” concept, a time-tested way on the road of authentic happiness includes cultivating everyday friendships and relationships, serving those in need, and keeping God at the center. Instead of “self-marriage,” prayer grounds us in receiving the gift of ourselves from God, realizing our dignity as His son or daughter, and being able to love and serve others. It doesn’t require a ring or a commitment ceremony to thank God for the gift of creating us and loving us.
About the author
Emily Macke serves as Theology of the Body Education Coordinator at Ruah Woods in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her Master’s in Theological Studies at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, DC, and her undergraduate degree in Theology and Journalism at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Emily shares the good news of the Catholic faith through writing, media appearances and speaking opportunities, which she has done on three continents. She and her husband Brad live in southeast Indiana.