The Year in Marriage

We fiercely defend marriage even as we perpetually redefine it. This year was no exception.

Traditional institutions are rapidly unraveling around the world, but marriage is determined to hang on by an immaculate white thread. We fiercely defend marriage even as we perpetually redefine it. And no matter how ambivalent we claim to be, marriage keeps the media wrapped around its wedding finger. This year was no exception.

For evidence, look no further than April's royal wedding, an event so momentous that it bumped coverage of southern tornadoes and a Syrian uprising for shots of Kate Middleton's wedding dress and sister Pippa's behind. Prince William and Middleton's nuptials saturated the airwaves whether we professed to care or not. Four months later, America got its own celebrity royal wedding: Reality television star Kim Kardashian netted an $18 million payday for tying the knot with basketball player Kris Humphries on a two-day special on E!, only to divorce him 72 days later. Combined, the two weddings roped in millions of viewers and spawned thousands of tweets, articles, and television segments. We were either transfixed by these "storybook weddings" or disgusted by their gaudy consumerism—perhaps a little bit of both. Either way, we were paying attention.

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