About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Macro Monday - Love & Marriage in Russia


Wedding scenes were quite common throughout Russia--in small villages and large cities. All weddings must have a civil ceremony and then, if desired, a second ceremony in church. The couples were heartbreakingly young and beautiful, but knowing what I found out about the state of marriage in Russia, I wondered if this was not going to be the happiest day for them. This party was on the grounds of Peterhof across the river from St. Petersburg. That's the Gulf of Finland in the background:


The most important tradition though is for the wedding party to hit the streets in a limo and make stops at famous landmarks where photographers would take photos--I saw wedding groups in Red Square and Gorky Park and palaces. The "Locks of Love" tree was on the Luzhov Bridge in Moscow. Apparently it is a Russian custom for the couple to kiss on a bridge on their wedding day and "lock" their wedding vows to the bridge railings or, on the Lushov Bridge, to trees of locks that span this pedestrian walkway:


Despite all these optimistic beginnings, the state of love and marriage was quite shaky in Russia according to our local guides and statistics that I read. Russia has the highest divorce rate of any developed country, according to some stats that I saw. Causes were pretty damning toward Russian men--alcoholism, wife abuse, infidelity, lack of paternal responsibility in the family, and men not working to support the family.

Two examples. In Moscow I had a young male guide for one full day. He had previously described himself as a philosopher and thinker. I asked what he did after the tour season closed in October and he said that since the winters were so cold in Moscow he preferred to stay in the apartment and study and be home when his small son came back from school. His wife, one the other hand, enjoyed working and went out to a public job that was very responsible and required long bus commutes morning and evening! Somehow I suspected that dinner would not be ready when she got home, nor the son bathed and ready for bed!

Second example, in St. Petersburg my guide was a young woman who cared for a sick toddler and a rebellious teenager. She described her husband as "sensitive and kind" but struggled with alcoholism and no work. As had been the case with a previous marriage.  She said that young Russian women really wanted to marry but for some they hoped for a western husband.

The clincher:  Moscow traffic was CRAZY with two hour commutes to work in the city not uncommon.  The government at one time had a push on for Moscowvites to use the excellent metro system, but in a survey men said that they preferred to sit in their cars in traffic rather than get home sooner.  If  they got home too early, their wives would expect them to do some house cleaning or take care of the children.  Arrive late and all they had to do was eat dinner, watch a little TV and go to bed!  No surprise, those high divorce rates.


 For more closeups from all over, or to enter your own macros, be sure to check out Lisa's Chaos here every Monday.

 

13 comments:

Beth Edwards said...

love the bridge view. so decorative. (:

Linda said...

Yikes - what a sad commentary on marriage! I wonder that the girls want to marry at all! The "Locks of Love" was very interesting...makes for a fascinating decoration on the bridge!

Lois Evensen said...

Yes, a very sad commentary on marriage in Russia. No wonder there are so many young women trying to find Western husbands.

laurie said...

this is fascinating. i'm trying to picture moscow with traffic jams....

when i was there in 1986 we attended some weddings at the Palace of Brides. (or maybe it was called the Palace of Weddings.) is that still there, do you know? it's where the assembly-line civil ceremonies took place, in one of those gorgeous mansions that had been seized by the government during the revolution.

Danielle said...

There is a bridge somewhere here in the states where they place locks...I just saw a news story on it a few months ago...I love the idea of the trees and how they line that area.

Faye said...

Laurie--yes, crazy bumper to bumper traffic. And those cars are just parked on the sidewalks--no lines. You probably wouldn't get a ticket in Moscow for parking 20 ft from something. Didn't hear about the Wedding Palace, but there were wedding parties everywhere--limos with flowers on top--every day of the week.

TexWisGirl said...

i had read that russia was #1 for divorce rates.

Sayre said...

Glad I'm not married to a Russian! I am lucky in my husband - he cooks and cleans and does laundry just as much as I do. And he LOVES caring for our son. He was a househusband for the first 6 years of our marriage, having been laid off. He worked freelance but it was VERY part time. I don't ask much of him these days as he works so hard, but he does things on his own. I can understand why Russian women want Western men - at least the ones like mine!

Lane Mathias said...

I feel for the 'philosopher' tour guide's wife. And all those other wives. Is it a cultural/status thing to be married in Russia do you think?

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Calling by from Macro Monday, wow what a lot of love locks. They were removed recently from a bridge in Rome.

Living Life said...

Wow. makes me very appreciative and grateful to be an American! No wonder those "Mail Order Brides" come from Russia.

Jan n Jer said...

Hmmmm very interesting Faye...I did know that Russia has a very high Alcoholism rate, but did not know about the divorce...guess they would go hand and hand. Very Sad for those women.

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