Marriage is a sacred vow of commitment. The union is intended to be permanent, an everlasting devotion to one another. It can be a daunting promise to make, unless you know you’ve found your soul mate. For many, the perfect spouse appears in the form of a fellow human being. But for some, their dream spouse is an object.
A few people who married non-human entities have already been covered on Listverse. Two women who became known for marrying famous monuments are Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, who wed the Berlin Wall in 1979, and Erika Eiffel, who married the Eiffel tower in 2007. These women were well-known for their choices, but they weren’t the only people to wed lifeless spouses.
Below are ten people who married inanimate objects. None of the unions are officially recognized, of course, but many of the people on this list swear that their marriages are just as real as any union between two humans.
10 Linda Ducharme
In 2015, Floridian Linda Ducharme appeared on TLC’s reality series My Strange Addiction. Despite the name of the show, Ducharme insists that she does not suffer from an addiction. She isn’t obsessed with carnival rides; she just happens to be in love with one. His name is Bruce, and he is a Ferris wheel.
Ducharme met her husband at a carnival in 1982. She dated Bruce for 30 years before promising to love, honor, and obey the 21-meter-tall (70 ft) contraption in 2012. Ducharme has certainly proven her devotion to Bruce, supporting him “in sickness and health.” Bruce sustained severe damage during a 1986 storm, which forced his retirement from the carnival circuit. Ducharme claimed Bruce’s remains and has spent almost $100,000 repairing the love of her life.
Ducharme says her relationship with the Ferris wheel is really no different than any other married couple. They spend time together and even share candlelit dinners.
Bruce is not Ducharme’s first nontraditional significant other. Before devoting herself to her current husband, Ducharme dated a plane and a train.
9 Zheng Jiajia
Zheng Jiajia, an artificial intelligence engineer, was under a lot of pressure from his family to find a wife and settle down. The 31-year-old felt ready to marry, but he couldn’t find a suitable bride. Finding a mate for life is tough enough, but in China, a man seeking a wife faces especially difficult odds. China’s family planning laws have recently relaxed, but sex-selective abortions that occurred during the one-child policy created a drastic gender gap. There just aren’t enough women for the male population. So in 2016, Zheng created a robot, named her Yingying, and married her.
Zheng dated his robot bride for two months before carrying her down the aisle. The ceremony was simple yet traditional, with Yingying wearing a red scarf over her head and family and friends bearing witness.
Yingying is not fully upgraded yet. Currently, she is capable of recognizing simple images and speaking a handful of words. Zheng has plans to program his wife to be able to walk on her own and perform household chores such as folding laundry and washing dishes.
8 Babylonia Aivaz
In January 2012, a Seattle woman wed her 107-year-old wife in a ceremony that took place shortly before the elderly bride’s scheduled demise. Babylonia Aivaz vowed to love and cherish a Seattle warehouse in front of a crowd of 50 onlookers.
Aivaz described the union as a gay marriage because apparently the warehouse was female. This drew criticism from people worried that Aivaz’s event would have a negative impact on the marriage equality movement. Some held a quiet protest, standing on the outskirts of the ceremony with signs that read, “This is not a gay marriage.” At the time of Aivaz’s wedding, the bill to legalize gay marriage had just been introduced to the state senate. The law legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington would not be approved and put into effect until the end of that year. There were concerns that Aivaz’s wedding would be used as ammunition to discredit the rights of same-sex couples, allowing the opposition to argue that legalizing marriage between two women (or men) would lead to legalizing marriage between a human and anything—such as a building.
Aivaz chose to ignore the issue of the warehouse’s gender and instead focused on what she called the “serious issue” of gentrification. The dilapidated warehouse was being torn down to make room for an apartment building, and though Aivaz could not stop the demolition, the ceremony was meant to bring awareness to the situation.
After the wedding, Aivaz moved on to other communities that faced gentrification, but the warehouse widow didn’t marry any other buildings during subsequent protests.
7 Chang His-Hsum
Chang His-hsum lost his first wife, Tsai, to suicide. His family opposed their marriage, and Tsai killed herself as a result. Chang eventually remarried, but the Taiwanese widower knew that his first wife was not at peace. In 1999, 20 years after Tsai’s death, Chang married a Barbie doll in order to put his first wife’s spirit to rest. Chang’s second wife approved of the ceremony.
The wedding took place at Chang’s local Buddhist temple. Barbie was dressed in a wedding gown and wore a gold necklace that had belonged to Tsai. Chang’s family gave the marriage their blessing this time, asking forgiveness for their initial disapproval.
Tsai’s dowry had included a red Mercedes. During the ceremony, a paper model of the flashy automobile was burned so that Tsai could use the car in the spirit world.
After the ceremony, Chang returned home with his human bride, his new Barbie bride, and an urn that contained Tsai’s ashes. Since Chang married Tsai’s spirit, she is considered a member of his family.
Spiritual marriages that use an object to represent the deceased are not uncommon in Chinese culture, but choosing a Barbie doll to represent the late wife is.
6 Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin is a London artist with a history of controversial pieces and public appearances. Emin is known for pushing the boundaries of what is expected, and her 2015 marriage was no different. Emin married a stone.
Emin’s spouse resides in the garden of her home in France. The ceremony was private, but Emin has spoken openly about what led her to make the commitment.
Emin was inspired by reading letters between Pope John Paul II and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka. The pope and philosopher exchanged passionate, personal letters over a long period of time, but their correspondence never led to a physical relationship. It caused Emin to think about her own relationships in terms of spiritual versus physical connections. It is a spiritual connection that she shares with her beloved stone. She describes her spouse as a “beautiful ancient stone” that she identifies with. She also calls it her anchor, saying, “It’s not going anywhere.”
Emin admits to thinking about her stone spouse when she is having a bad day, and it lifts her spirits. She asks that her husband be referred to as a stone, rather than a rock. Emin defines a rock as something cut by humans, while a stone is shaped by the Earth, and her spouse is the latter.
5 Richard Torres
An environmentalist took his love of nature to the next level by marrying trees.
Richard Torres has been described as a “Jonny Depp doppelganger.” He is very fond of trees, but he isn’t actually in love with his leafy spouses. The Peruvian activist began marrying trees to bring awareness to environmental issues.
In 2013, Torres began his unusual form of activism when he wedded a tree in Peru. Marriage to an Argentinian tree took place a few months later. The ceremony was held at a public park in Buenos Aires. Torres read his vows, put on a ring, and kissed the tree to signify the union.
Torres married another tree a year later in Bogota, Colombia. During the ceremony, Torres asked the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to stop making war and start planting trees.
In 2016, Torres married a Cypress tree in Mexico. The famous tree, known as El Tule or Arbol del Tule, is one of the oldest and widest trees in the world.
The activist continues to marry trees in order to bring awareness to his chosen cause. His latest marriage was to a tree in Guatemala City.
4 Jodi Rose
Le Pont du Diable, or the Devil’s Bridge, is located in Southern France. The stone arch bridge was built in the 14th century. The structure must have witnessed many events during its long life, but the strangest may have occurred in 2013. In a ceremony blessed by a local mayor and attended by 14 guests, Jodi Rose married Le Pont du Diable.
Rose met Le Pont du Diable during her travels to various bridges throughout the world. She was working on a project called Singing Bridges, where she recorded the vibrations in bridge cables and used them to create music.
Rose loves her husband for many reasons. She says the bridge makes her feel connected to the Earth. She describes it as “fixed, stable, and rooted to the ground,” which are certainly good qualities to find in a bridge. Rose appreciates how her spouse provides her with a safe place to rest yet never tries to stop her when she is ready to go back out on the road.
3 Sal 9000
Love Plus is a dating simulation game. The goal in the game is to build a relationship with one of three female avatars. Players must woo the virtual women by buying gifts and taking them on dates, and the avatars respond to how the players behave during the courtship.
A Japanese man known as “Sal 9000” built a virtual relationship with Nene Anegasaki, one of the avatars on Love Plus. After the 25-year-old dated Nene virtually for three months, he decided he was ready to take the next step, so he married her in 2009. It was not Sal’s avatar that married Nene; it was his real-life self who vowed to love the Nintendo DS character until death did them part. Sal wore a white tuxedo to his wedding, which was attended by friends and streamed live online.
Sal married Nene because she is his dream woman. He says the female avatar is better than a human girlfriend because she does not get angry at him easily. When Nene does get upset with Sal, she is quick to forgive. Sal says that since he has Nene, he has no need for a human woman in his life.
An author who analyzes Internet and game addictions stated that he is not concerned about Sal’s health. Sal communicates well enough with people in the real world, so his marriage to a video game character is not a sign of someone with an extreme problem.
2 Lauren Adkins
Where there is a teenage heartthrob, there are millions of girls who fantasize about becoming Mrs. Teenage Heartthrob. Typically, these ladies grow up and leave their fantasies behind as they resign themselves to finding a love interest in the real world.
Lauren Adkins was not interested in facing reality. When Adkins read the Twilight novels as a teenager, she developed a major crush on the character of Edward Cullen. The lead male vampire won the hearts of many teen girls, and Adkins admits to being “obsessed.” When the novels were adapted to film, Robert Pattinson was cast for the role of Cullen. The moment Adkins saw the Twilight movie for the first time, her infatuation transferred from the fictional character to the actor who played him. Adkins saw Pattinson as the perfect personification of her fictional crush, and she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.
Adkins might not have been willing to let go of her fantasy crush, but she was realistic enough to know that her chances with Pattinson were slim. Instead of holding out for the actual actor to show up on her doorstep, Adkins found a life-size cardboard cutout of Pattinson and married it.
The wedding took place in 2014 at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. 50 guests witnessed the nuptials of a 25-year-old female and a two-dimensional image of the Twilight star. Adkins and her pseudo-Pattinson husband honeymooned in Los Angeles.
1 Carol Santa Fe
Carol Santa Fe was only nine years old when she met the love of her life. After 36 years of adoration, Carol married her wife “Daidra” in 2015. Daidra is a train station in San Diego called the Santa Fe Depot.
Carol commutes 45 minutes every day in order to spend time with her wife. She greets the train station and tells it about her day. In addition to conversation, Carol says she mentally has sex with Daidra. A certain area of the station gives Carol privacy, where she touches Daidra and feels as if her wife is holding and kissing her. She admits that when the trains rev their engines, it turns her on. Carol says Daidra is romantic and the love of her life. They consummated their relationship a few years before tying the knot, but only mentally. Carol refrains from engaging in physical sex with the train station, because it is a public venue, and she wants to be respectful.
Carol does her best to hide the fact that she is conversing and cuddling with Daidra when she visits, but not because she is ashamed of her feelings. Citing how Erica Eiffel was banned from the Eiffel tower after too many public displays of affection, Carol explains that she does not want to end up in a similar situation where she can no longer spend time with her wife.