It’s T-2 hours until the bride walks down the aisle and I’ve had a sense of excited-nervous for at least half the day. I can’t help it. I. love. weddings.
Not all weddings, mind you. I am of the camp, based on the divorce rate, that we’re having too many. Or, at least too soon. But not this one, the next one or the last few I’ve witnessed. I’ve had a string of beautiful, amazing couples stand before friends and family who I believe embody the spirit of love and marriage.
Sometimes it’s that look of adoration by the groom when he sees his bride for the first time. Sometimes it’s the hiccups of ceremony and how the congregation graciously forgives nerves. Now that I’ve crossed a big age barrier, it could be the hopeful youthfulness of the couple. The last wedding it was the vows the couple penned, which made a statement of how they had watched and learned from their own parents’ and grandparents’ marriages, most of which were in attendance, relationships in full bloom. Not often today can a couple find a heritage of lasting marriages on both sides of the family, and JJ and I consider ourselves fortunate to be counted in that group.
Mostly I love weddings because I love marriage. It’s beautiful. I don’t buy into Jerry Maguire’s “You complete me” philosophy – I see each person complete in his or her own shape. I once gave a talk and shared the imagery of shoes: young people often go around feeling like they’re a shoe looking for its match. But no, we are, by ourselves, a pair of shoes, perfectly capable of running and completing a race.
Marriage means tying your laces with another pair with a huge honkin’ knot. The bigger and tighter the knot, the better. The more secure.
Of course, this means you’ll have to slow your pace a bit to learn how to run in sync. And the only way out is to cut the laces, which means that though you can tie them again, there’s still a piece missing.
So why do it? Why be bound up? Where’s the beauty that you mentioned two paragraphs ago?
I love the faith of it all. The trust. My cynical nature needs a drink of love water from time to time and a good wedding is like a fountain. Marriages become statements of faith, and saying “I do” to another person resembles the decision we made at one point in time or another about Jesus. No one is making guarantees about the ease of the road ahead. Indeed, we can be sure that our circumstances and even our personalities and who we are at our core, may (and probably will) change over time. But faithfulness rises above circumstances.
It’s been several years now since I watched this young man raise his hand to indicate that he was ready for God to move into his life. And today I’ll watch him slip a ring onto the finger of a beautiful woman and promise to never leave or forsake. I believe that as each of those oaths are lived out, they will strengthen the other. And the process of seeing them grow will be nothing less than a beautiful struggle.
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