Goin' to the chapel

We take a week to prod and dissect, blaspheme and praise the proud and slightly threadbare institution of marriage.

Published November 15, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Has it all been written, sung or thunk? Is it possible to reflect, with any originality whatsoever, on marriage? Blah blah blah fear of commitment. Yadda yadda yadda seven-year itch. The studies drone, Bridget Jones frets and Martha Stewart, God bless her, brainstorms the perfect bouquet.

It is not easy to circle the subject, weary as it is, without some dread of old news or mediocrity. But the march to the chapel, the open field, the Maui bluffs continues, despite the odds. And the fantasy that leads us there, delicious and comfy and eternal, is barely scratched or chipped. Weird.

Do we, Mothers Who Think, take this topic to be our sole subject, to prod and dissect, blaspheme and praise until the end of the week?

We do.

Start with the tough question: "Why get married in the first place?" There is only everywhere to go. We will not focus on the gloss or the artifice or the obvious. Nor will we torture the subject with smirky, snarky blather. Some of us happen to believe in marriage -- are, in fact, married -- and all of us know it to be an institution worthy of honest scrutiny.


Each day, for five days, we will explore the depths and nether regions; the skids and the high notes of matrimony. We begin by publishing the most distinguished entries of our "Is This Marriage Doomed?" interaction. Readers are invited to submit their ideas to salvage these battered vessels -- entries should be e-mailed to badmarriage@salon.com -- and the best solutions will be printed next week.

The rest of the week is a cavalcade -- of advice, blunt and filigreed; of photography, soft and hard; the story of a husband who rejects mistresses, and the tale of a mistress who is unashamed; the case for never getting married, and a piece about getting divorced and married again, to the same guy. We want it to be like a great wedding -- somber, exhilarating, excessive and memorable.

You can even wear a hat while you read it. Enjoy.

By Jennifer Foote Sweeney

Jennifer Foote Sweeney, CMT, formerly a Salon editor, is a massage therapist in northern California, practicing on staff at the Institutes for Health and Healing in San Francisco and Larkspur, and on the campuses of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley.

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