white wedding gowns…daddies walking their little girls down the aisle…one-time-only bridesmaids dresses…exchanging rings…and unity candles.
speaking of new traditions, don’t get me started on the whole sit-down-dinner-dance-reception thing that goes on after most weddings these days. whew.
one tradition that i always include (but i usually see missing from ceremonies that i don’t oversee ), is THE QUESTION. i usually phrase it something like this:
mike, do you promise to love wanda…to honor her…value her…serve her…and stand by her alone…as long as you both shall live?
and hopefully…the answer is a big, fat “i do”.
so much of marriage is about saying yes. yes to loving each other. yes to placing our partner above everyone else. yes to a lifetime partnership. yesto sharing and giving and patience and compromise and healthy communication.
first…we say no to others. we can never let anybody get in the way. we say no to anybody that threatens to drive a wedge between our bond. we say no to anybody who demands attention that should only be directed to our partner. we say no to any person who puts our intimacy at risk or endangers the sacredness of our relationship.
we say no to self. we say no to any behavior that would hurt or harm our partner. we say no anger and bitterness and words that inflict pain. we say no selfishness and judgment and egotism. we say no to demanding our own way and forcing our will on the other.
this kind of marriage that i’m talking about is not for everybody.
most marriages i see are simply civil unions. they are legal contracts that have conditions and loopholes built into them from the beginning. they fulfill state requirements and are as binding as the two people want them to be. and the marriage ceases to exist when one ( and occasionally, both ) of the partners decides it’s over.
it’s a financial and social relationship that can be loving, sacrificing, and honorable. or not.
but there is a type of marriage that transcends civility. that is more profound than a contract.
it’s a marriage that starts by saying yes. and grows by saying no. and endures by saying please help me.
Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your`No,’ `No’. Matthew 5:37