Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Weddings and Stuff - Mature Subject Matter


Wow! They are really an event.

I have been to a few, including my own, over time. This past weekend I was honored to be able to attend the wedding of my niece Andrea to a seemingly nice man, Brian. I never really met Brian, nor did I get to know Brian. Chris and I had a good time though, reconnecting with family and friends--mostly family. We remembered how much fun we all have when we get together.

Weddings are a celebration. A really important celebration in the lives of not only those getting married, but those witnesses assembled as well. It is all about the future and the life that two people will forge together.

But I know something about Brian and Andrea that, in retrospect, I really don't need to know nor do I or did I care to know. But it was everywhere at the wedding. I had never thought about it before--although I guess it is at every wedding. But I think our myopic focus on it really misses the importance of the wedding day as it forges forward into the married life.

From statements made about the color of the wedding gown by the pastor to some of the statements made about the couple--it seems everything hinges on (shhh!) sex! Really! I mean, some people were really preoccupied with it.

It dawns on me the level of focus on the the activity of the wedding night is misplaced. I mean--are we celebrating an orgy or the union of two individuals into a new being? Are we all frustrated adults longing for the longings of our youth? Or are we genuinely concerned about the ability of two people we love and care about to succeed as a married couple in a world where the cards are stacked against them.

When does a marriage begin? At the moment of "I do?" Or did it begin when words were spoken and accepted asking to get married? The foundations of a strong marriage are laid well before the walk down the aisle. Already, by the wedding day, the couple has had to learn to deal with stress, and nerves, and things not going right as well as the joys and highs of life. From these beginnings, marriages are forged.

I guess I never really thought about it before, but we are concerned about the wrong things.

It would have been better to focus on their compatibility and willingness to work together in the future as a couple, the process of becoming one; rather than on activities which did or did not occur in the past! Did I really need to know that they couldn't sit closer together that the width of a bible? (It's not that thick standing on edge!) Come on--I hug a lot of people, but I don't marry them. I sit closer than that to perfect strangers when I am sandwiched into an airplane seat.

As long as we continue to be solely focused on the peripheral trappings we will continue to miss the bigger picture: how do we help ensure marriages are full of long-term happiness and team work. Today's world requires married couples to be a team. To be willing to pick up the slack for one of the couple when times are tough and to be able to celebrate victories--beginning with the small ones, when they happen. To focus on the joy of life and not the shortcomings of material possessions.

Congratulations Brian and Andrea. To quote a line from an old science fiction TV show: "Live long and prosper!"

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