I attended a wedding last week, smack dab in the middle of December. Actually I played the organ for the ceremony. This sweet young bride had picked some very classical and traditional songs, Canon in D, Bach’s Prelude in C, Bridal Chorus, and Wedding March. She knew what she wanted. I had to wonder if this bride had dreamed of a Christmas wedding since she was a little girl.
There is an electrical tension in the air the hour before the service starts. The photographer caught a few candid photos along with some specifically posed shots. The videographer (now that’s a 21st century word) set up the tripod in preparation. The wedding coordinator was a flurry of activity.
The groomsmen were ushering in guests, and the groom himself nervously paced about. I had to imagine the room where the bride and her court were making final touches to make up and hair.
The music started, the candles were lit, and it was now or never for the bride and groom. The bridal party marched in. The four children came down the aisle and performed their parts perfectly. They went to sit with their parents during the remainder of the ceremony, a wise decision. Children can steal the show with their cute, childish antics.
The color theme was red, of course, with bridesmaids dressed in beautiful red satin dresses. The church’s holiday decorations of Christmas wreaths and seasonal greenery blended beautifully.
The bride marched in on her father’s arm and the groom’s eyes were on her and her only. The mothers dabbed their eyes with a tissue.
From my vantage point on the organ bench, I usually have a bird’s-eye view of the couple as they stand at the altar and repeat their vows. They have stars in their eyes, looking dreamily at each other as they repeat things like:
“for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.”
If they are anything like I was at my wedding, I expected that there would never be another really bad day. After all, we were entering into wedded bliss, and just like the movies, we would live happily ever after.
The bridal couple never expects “worse” or “poorer” or “sickness.” They expect the path to be paved with rose petals, endless meaningful conversation, and romance every evening. They don’t count on bad hair days, sour moods, angry words, in-law problems, or where to spend the holidays. Who even expects the exorbitant cost of car repairs, a maxed out credit card, or the rising price of groceries and gasoline.
It’s probably best we don’t know the future, or we would gasp in fear and run the other way. God in His wisdom keeps our future a secret known only to Himself, promising His grace and His presence for the journey.
As I sat listening to the young bride and groom confess their love for one another and make a commitment for life, I prayed they would fight for their marriage, that they would not give up when it got hard, and that God would help them remember their promises.
Marriage is not to be entered into lightly. It is a covenant we make before God and these witnesses to love each other no matter what. It isn’t easy to do. But it is worth it when we arrive at those 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th anniversaries. A committed marriage is a legacy we leave our children and our children’s children. It proves to them it can be done and that they can do it too.
There are no final words I can give on marriage. But there are a few things I’ve learned during my almost 39 years of marriage to my Sweet William.
- Forgive and ask for forgiveness – often.
- Pray for one another daily.
- Go to church together.
- Seek godly counsel when necessary.
- Try to understand the other person.
- Love with deeds when the warm fuzzy feelings are missing.
- Hold hands and laugh a lot.
- Don’t let anything or anyone come between your hearts.
- Keep only to each other.
And ask God to help you love like He loved you. It’s the only way it can be done.