March 26 • 06:40 AM

Purpose of marriage loses to celebration

June 24, 2009
June has traditionally been known as the month for weddings. Countless hours of planning and thousands of dollars are devoted to the moment when a couple pledges lasting loyalty to each other.

Unfortunately, in most cases, more forethought and money go into the choice of flowers for the wedding than into planning for the marriage itself. A cake can cost a small fortune, and for the price of the party some couples I know could have bought a small home.

One problem, the way I see it, is that we've come to see elaborate weddings as the norm. The church, the hall, the photographer, the florist, the DJ, the cruise tickets, the whatever, all have to be booked and coordinated so far in advance that, dare I say this out loud, by the time the event actually happens, the wedding is often no longer a coming together physically of two eager starry-eyed individuals, but a nerve-wracking photo-op for a couple for whom the new has already worn off—like one of those luscious cakes with the raspberry filling—only the filling and frosting are noticeably missing.

I'm not against celebrating, but I know couples who have had weddings they could afford, with potluck-type receptions in the church fellowship hall or some other venue which doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and, know what? They're just as married as their counterparts. And they (or their parents) do not have a cloud of debt hanging over their heads.

Another problem, in my opinion, is the lightness with which couples often enter into marriage. We all know disloyalty sometimes creeps into marriages; but according to Erin Bethea, co-star of Fireproof, in some cases it's built right into the vows. She tells of a wedding she recently attended in which the bride and groom vowed loyalty to each other "for as long as the love lasts" instead of "'til death do us part."

What kind of disclaimer is that—built right into the warranty? I admit that our wedding wasn't a high-ticket event. My dress probably didn't cost a hundred dollars (of course, that was almost 44 years ago!). My husband didn't rent a tux—just bought a new suit which he could wear for the next who knows how many years. My mom's friends put together a light meal, and everyone sent us off knowing there would be ups and downs and storms to weather. They, of course, knew it better than we did. But they didn't offer us a ready-made way to opt out. Instead, they placed us in the hands of a God who is bigger than the storms, and said, in essence, "It's not about the two of you, and the storms. It's about the faithfulness of God. Go with him."

This is a perspectives column, and that, for what it's worth, is my perspective. Agree with me, disagree with me, mull it over for awhile. Whatever, Just hear me say that it's been good.

Castle Creek
03 - 26 - 19
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