Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, lovingly known as the celeb power duo “Brangelina” by fans and critics alike, recently tied the knot after spending nearly a decade together. The wedding, which was a private ceremony held in a chateau in the south of France, immediately sent worldwide media outlets and gossip columns into a frenzy. Although fans around the world are trying desperately to find out all the details behind the wedding — Who was invited? Why was it kept secret? What made Jolie decide to let her six children decorate her designer wedding dress with their drawings? — many people are more concerned with the fact that the couple got married at all. Regardless of the details behind the marriage, people are still wondering one big question: after nearly a decade together and beginning to raise a family of six children together, what made Jolie and Pitt finally decide to get hitched?
For many, the concept of marriage is no more than an institutional tradition and a chance to receive federal financial benefits. But psychology experts note that marriage is about more than signing a piece of paper and changing one’s last name. Sure, celebrities and other high-profile couples seem to get married and divorced so often that it leaves many wondering if “marriage” has lost all meaning at this point (this marriage will be Pitt’s second and Jolie’s third). But experts note that a marriage occurring so late in a relationship is probably a positive thing.
The marriage rate in the U.S. is at a record low, and those who do get married appear to be waiting longer before tying the knot. Rather than getting married because society expects them to, couples are focusing more on making sure that they’re compatible with and loyal to each other — making the act of getting married even more significant psychologically and emotionally.
Young couples in particular are becoming more aware of financial restrictions, and are making sure that items such as engagement and wedding rings actually mean something more than what’s listed on the price tag. Jolie’s wedding dress, for example, was decorated with drawings of her children, and she states that she and Pitt agreed to get married whenever their children asked them to do so.
Of course, CNN contributor and psychology professor Peggy Drexler notes that Brangelina’s wedding may have also been planned with the intention of garnering extra press for their upcoming projects — and this, while a bit cynical, is often an advantage (if not the driving force) in celebrity marriages. Nevertheless, more marriages may start resembling this one, with more thought and time put into the process.