Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Successful First Screening! Albuquerque, NM

June 29, 2005

Last night was the first public screening of Why Get Married? I feel energized. The audience laughed in places I hadn't imagined would be funny yet it was great to hear. I guess you just can't always tell while you're editing what others will find funny. The Guild theatre in downtown Albuquerque seats 140 and it felt packed. A large audience changes how a film feels when viewing it. It was great.

I was nervous beforehand. I wasn't sure I was even going to attend. Although I am now used to seeing myself on the screen and sharing some of my marriage story, it still exposes one to public opinion. To people who don't know you, don't have to care about your story or how you feel, that is a personal risk.

But it seemed to me that the theme of Why Get Married? is universal, and no matter how I touched on this subject it also allows the viewers to connect with their own story, issues or concerns around marriage. And that is all I have wanted all along... for people to begin asking themselves Why Get Married? no matter the answer. Ruminate on the question to find your own answer.

I was warmed as I sat at the back of the dark theatre and heard people chuckle, and also the quiet of their listening. And the clapping. And the energy.

I am always touched when those interviewed in-front-of-the camera come to watch it again and bring their friends. That seems the biggest tribute of all really. As a documentarian it is important that I tell a story as true as I know how, and that I have been worthy of the trust bestowed on me. I don't see my point of view or my perspective as being THE only or the right one but I come to my own point of view when others share theirs with me. So my films will always be about that I imagine... listening to multiple points of views as I figure out my own.

Even though we finished the documentary in January and have been submitting it to film festivals in Canada and the USA, last night felt like the real "birth" of the documentary for me. Or maybe the public recognition that the baby is alive, well and ready to walk.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Independent Bride ++

June 8, 2005

I continued questioning myself and my discontent within my marriage, and what it was to be "wife" even after my divorce, looking for some solace. I found Susan Maushart's book "Wifework". It was illuminating for me. Finally I had words and context for what I had been experiencing. It was the first bit of peace I had felt during my quest to understand why I was so unhappy as a married woman. I had married a nice and good man. I was nice and good. Why didn't I feel like we had a nice and good marriage?

Once I decided to produce a documentary on Why Get Married? I found this Indie Bride site. I was surprised yet encouraged that such a site existed, for brides-to-be to contemplate the "real" deal, rather than the white fantasy. I was delighted to also discover an interview with author Maushart's on this site for brides- to -be. How great is that?

Quite honestly, I am not sure if I had read a book like Maushart's before deciding to marry if it would have helped me realize I was not the type who would flourish inside of marriage. I don't know. I certainly do believe we each learn a lot of good stuff when we are in a long-term, healthy relationship. I have come to realize it still is important for me to experience a healthy,caring, long-term relationship. I just doubt marriage will be part of the structure.

I imagine for many women who have financial independence the interest in a relationship for them is less about property, security, status, having children or even legal issues. Primarily they just want decent companionship and emotional connection with their mate.

My husband-to-be and I did talk about what we expected and wanted within and from the marriage. Since our early months of dating, we had talked of "co-creating" a relationship together that would meet our respective needs yet may not resemble any relationship we had had before, or perhaps even seen. Yet somewhere between walking up the aisle and walking back down the aisle, it seemed marital assumptions kicked in. Things like "this is what a wife or a husband does", or the outside world started pushing in their assumptions and decrees upon us.

Being raised by a single Mom, I am not aware of having had traditional views about marriage, what it should "look" like and the gender roles to be played. I just saw it as a deeper commitment, and a way to build more emotional closeness. Yet for me, the "institution" of marriage seemed to put our previously good relationship at odds. Weird, as we were both in our early 40's and statistically speaking, late marriages are supposed to have a higher rate of success, meaning lasting a lifetime.

So based on the statistics, assumptions and societal mixed messages I was receiving, I started a quest to uncover the answer to Why Get Married? I am still questing.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


June 1, 2005 Wednesday

I am becoming more and more intrigued with the same sex couple point of view to Why Get Married? In the United States there is a huge fight over whether two consenting adults have the right to marry, or whether marriage is to be defined as between a man and a woman. In Canada, marriage has been broadened in understanding and gays marry legally if they choose.

In both Canada and the U.S. divorce rates are rising. In some parts of the states it is almost 60%. I can't see how how a rising divorce rate says heterosexual marriages are succeeding. Something is changing.

Our culture is changing for sure, and the structure of marriage, the institution of marriage is slow to catch up. We still are "sold" or have unrealistic ideas and fantasies about marriage, relationship and happiness. I found that confusing.

The reality shows about bachelors, bachelorettes and weddings scare me. What does that tell our 18 year olds about marriage and relationship? That it is a game show? Probably.

Funny, now that women have more choices and freedoms than say in the 1960's, more are choosing to not marry, even if they choose to be in a long-term relationship or have children. Many say they don't want to be a "wife". Does "husband" have the same stigma I wonder?

Regarding choosing a fulfilling life, I guess each of us must "pioneer" what makes sense for ourselves individually, or as part of a couple. If someone wants to marry his/her beloved it should be a choice he/she has whether they exercise it or not .

June 2, 2005 Thursday

What is a successful marriage? Is it one that lasts until death (natural causes of course) do us part? Is it a success if it is mostly happy and when it ends it is amicable? Are we expecting too much from our spouse? Are we realistic in our expectations of marriage?

Maybe marriage is just something some of us choose in our life, some don't, some stay with one partner for 50 years, some have 7 marriages, and marriage means something different to each person in it. There is no universal, understood definition. It would be like saying there is one kind of politician, or lawyer, or pope, or way to run an organization. (Well we could say it, but it wouldn't be accurate.)

For some, marriage seems to be a committed, sacred practice. For others it is something to do in Las Vegas at 2a.m. for a lark. For some marriage is all about having a family. For others marriage represents a way to commit deeply to another person. And some already in love and committed only marry for the pension and other benefits. Not romantic but practical I suppose.

I guess I am just trying to look at what works about marriage versus creating a healthy relationship outside of it. What benefits can 2 partners have emotionally inside a marriage that they wouldn't be able to replicate outside of marriage? And vice versa?

Oh, I do have lots of questions which is why more Why Get Married? documentaries are in the works. I have so much curiousity about relationships and choices we make.