Self Marriage, The Ultimate in Self-Centeredness

Self Marriage, The Ultimate in Self-Centeredness

Self Marriage, The Ultimate in Self-Centeredness

“Until death do us part,” is becoming “Until death do I part,” as one more way to undermine the sacredness of marriage. In a traditional marriage, selfishness is the kiss of death, so, in a self-centered society, it seems to be the perfect solution for wedded bliss:  me, me me!

While hardly an actual trend, self-marriage is happening.  It was in the Netherlands that the first self-marriage made the news.  In 2003, Jennifer Hoes married herself.  In the Art and Perception blog, 2006 article,  Wedded to art: Jennifer Hoes, the woman who married herself Jennifer explained what kind of partner she is to herself. “My wedding ring says, ‘I will return to my heart every time.’ I read this every day. I think the values to an individual life are pretty much the same as in a marriage, it is about how you’ll behave, about taking responsibility, about being a loving person.” Jennifer recently celebrated her ninth wedding anniversary.

Last March, Nadine Schweigert, 36, from Fargo, North Dakota, read her marital vows in front of forty of her closest friends. “I, Nadine, promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self.”

Nadine appeared recently on Anderson Cooper’s talk show to explain why she married herself. After a traumatic divorce, she decided that instead of feeling sorry for herself when her husband left and her two children decided to go with him, that she would be satisfied with just herself.  She had a wedding ceremony complete with wedding presents

In November of 2010, Chen Wei-yih married the love of her life—herself. The The China Post reported that the thirty-year-old office worker, no longer considered herself single after the ceremony attended by thirty of her friends and family. Chen explained her reason for doing it was,  “I was just hoping that more people would love themselves.”  She even honeymooned with herself in Australia.


Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project, told Anderson during the show, that marriage is not a solo act but about bringing two different people together.  “I think, regrettably, Nadine’s a bit confused. She’s kind of the poster child for what’s wrong in our culture when it comes to marriage.”

Catholics would take it further and define marriage as specifically about bringing one man and one woman together.  The self-marriages are not marriages in the eyes of God, any more than same-sex unions can ever be.

Explanations for why people have married themselves are filled with nice sounding thoughts but two important ingredients are missing: God, and a person of the opposite sex. Ultimately, loving self is so that we can totally give of ourselves to God and others. Thus, we must also die to ourselves and empty ourselves so that we can fill our hearts with the love of God.   In a Catholic marriage, love is to be shared and we must be willing to put the other person before ourselves. A self-marriage is about serving self—no interference from others.

Intimate Partnership

Marriage is a sacred, life-long, conjugal covenant entered into between God and one man and one woman. The Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their defense of marriage have stated, “Marriage is a faithful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife.

The Catholic Catechism explains that this love opens the possibility to the couple that new souls will spring forth from their union. “By its very nature, the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory (1652).  While marriage does not always result in the procreation of children, “Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice (1654).

Strong marriages make for strong families and strong societies. It is a symptom of a weakened society that marriage is under attack.  Since the idea of same-sex marriages initially evoked a majority response of “No way!”  we can only hope and pray that this one does not catch on.

Copyright 2012 Patti Maguire Armstrong


About Author

Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series and authored: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families, a collection of stories to inspire family love. Patti is a correspondent for the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor & Dakota Catholic Action.


  1. Wow! Gives me something all new to pray about! All I can say is these folks are missing out!!!
    Thanks for the insight Patti…I’m sitting here just shaking my head! Happy Thanksgiving weekend and blessings on your day!

  2. Patti Armstrong on

    Thank you, Sherri. Yes, one more thing to shake our head about and pray. Such empty lives can only be filled by God. Happy Thanksgiving to you too and May God bless you.

  3. I guess I had a slightly different take on this. In the article, the woman indicates that her husband divorced her and took their two children with him. While I agree a self-orientation is not a “marriage,” it does seem that her determination to find healing on her own (rather than diving into another relationship, which is the prevailing solution all too often) is commendable. Ultimately, celibacy is a gift in that it reflects our ultimate destiny — as the Bride of Christ. I’m not saying this was her intent, but it does point to a kind of “twisted mysticism” that provides an opportunity for constructive discussion/pre-evangelization. Rightly oriented toward God, this woman’s intention to remain single could prove to be her path to healing. Just a thought.

    • Patti Armstrong on

      Hi Heidi,

      You have a very compassionate and no doubt, perceptive view on this. My hunch is that you are right, that anyone who self-marries is seeking to embrace life and not depend on others for their own happiness. I think that is not a bad thing. To take it to the extent of self-marriage, however, takes God out of the equation and shows a confused view of marriage. I do not think a Christian seeking unity with Christ would think about marrying themselves. Instead, they would look to be the bride of Christ which is what our Catholic nuns do. Like you say, it’s a twisted mysticism on the part of those in the article. Like the devil often does, he takes something good and turns it just enough to twist it so that it is not longer good. Thanks for commenting.

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