Weddings

W.F.  Bellais II

No matter how much I want to ignore the big wedding in London I can’t. Oh, I suppose I could stop watching the morning shows or the evening news broadcasts, but I do expect there is more news than a young couple of immense wealth getting married in an ancient abbey church.

The coming wedding reminds me in some way of all the weddings in which I have participated or at which I have officiated. Never being asked to be the best man for anyone, I can only say that other than my own, I have usually been an usher or some menial assignment. My wedding, now 50 years hence, was nice; in fact, from the photographs of it I tell it was grand. I remember arriving at the church and I remember leaving the church, but have no memory of what happened in between. I think I was dazzled by my bride.

Not having experience in weddings, other than my own, I became very experienced in marriage ceremonies as an Episcopal clergyman. I
have lost count of the number of weddings over which I presided or nearly presided. A few couples backed off after talking to me about getting married in the church where I officiated and celebrated the prayer-book Eucharist. The few that backed off probably got married somewhere else.

Usually I found the brides bright and eager and ready to prepare solemnly for marriage. Grooms, on the other hand, are often surly, unhappy about spending time in premarital counseling, and have had little regard for the nature of the ceremony. The groom’s main interest, generally, seemed to be let’s get on with it, or, “Okay, okay, I get it, I have to be nice to this woman.” In one or two instances I wondered what the bride so in the creep she intended to marry. Certainly, some men actively participated in preparing for marriage and thought about with some seriousness, but I could tell which of them would cause their new brides to come back for post-marital counseling.

Just as with the big do in London it is not the wedding that matters.
The marriage matters. Usually from the bond of matrimony children will result and their stability and growth to mature adults depends much on how the people who gave them life parent. A couple who take marriage lightly probably will not be able to handle the demands of parenthood. I thought many of the men wanted only to romp in the bedroom and when pregnancy changes a woman and child demands care, there is little bedroom romping to do and relationships change. If the couple takes marriage seriously and understands that the wedding is the time to exchange the promise of fidelity and care and just the beginning of a lifelong adventure, the addition of a child or children will actually strengthen the bond of love.

Based on what I can see or what is reported about the couple in London, I suspect it will be a lasting romance. However, there is little to support that supposition based on the family history. Nevertheless, we are not bound by the behavior of siblings. Instead we are allowed to choose how we will live. If we live in love the marriage will last until parted by death.

The apostle Paul correctly defined love as self-giving and sacrificial. Neither party in a marriage is expected to give of self nor sacrifice alone. Both members of a marriage partnership are to give everything they have in their beings to the other. Their souls and minds must be committed to this venture of making a couple and we hope, sometimes, a family.

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