On Saturday my son got married. I loved it all, the bride’s sparkling white dress, the ceremony, the smiles of the bridal couple and the food and laughter of the reception. It was a modest, but beautiful celebration to mark the beginning of their life together witnessed by family and friends.
But it’s not the trappings and elegance of a wedding that is important. A wedding is a celebration of what is good and right.
Even as weddings have become more and more stylish and expensive, many modern couples postpone marriage indefinitely, waiting for that perfectly planned event. Ironically, marriage itself seems to be going out of style, a sort of quaint throwback to the formalities of the past. What is marriage anyway and why get married? What’s the difference if we just live together? Is it just a piece of paper?
As I think about the traditional vows my son and his lovely bride said to each other, I know in my heart there is a difference. My son even sees it as a rite of passage, an event that marks adulthood. Since I have three sons, I know this is important. Marriage means manning up and taking serious responsibility for the well-being of another person and in the future a family.
Marriage says, I give you my heart, not just my keys. Marriage says you are worth a ring and a special day. Marriage says I choose you and I am going to say so in front of everyone. Marriage says I will care for you, not just about you. Marriage says I’m closing the back door, not leaving it ajar. Marriage is whatever happens, not just “whatever.” Marriage is ours, not his and hers. Marriage is until one of us dies, not until one of us gives up or gets tired. Marriage is a pact, not just a living arrangement. Marriage is we, not me.
Marriages sometimes fail and the ones that succeed are not perfect. Mine isn’t, ‘cuz I’m not, but my husband has chosen to stick with me for nearly thirty years anyway. Love is an ongoing choice, an action based on a promise, like God’s love for us.
Bring on the celebration, marriage is the better way.