The older I get, the more frustrated I get whenever tradition wins out over truth.
I’ve never liked the imagery of the lighting of the unity candle. Sorry. The whole two-flames-making-one is all right, I suppose…but when each of the people blow out their own candle, I always kind of cringe. I think it actually feeds into the fear that many people have about marriage.
I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to through the years that were afraid they were going to lose something when they got married. That somehow the person they used to be was going to get lost in the new union…that they would end up being somebody totally different from before they “tied the knot”. (I’m not too fond of the whole “tying the knot” visual, either…)
We need to understand when we get married, we don’t stop being what we once were. Rather, we are to bring all of what we are to the table. But this creates another set of problems. Lots of them.
We don’t lose our identity when we get married. We don’t lose the essence of what makes us…us. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest mistakes people make is when they enter into marriage with the hope…or even expectation…that the partner will change. Many… and I mean many… think that marriage will slow people down…or make them grow up…or cure the wandering eye…or turn them spiritual…or produce emotional maturity…or mysteriously cause them to become responsible human beings. But it doesn’t work like that.
Yeah, I will stipulate that marriage has a way of affecting us. But you are a fool if you think being married is going to make the other person something other than more of what they already are! Get it?
Wanda and I are wiser, deeper, stronger, kinder, less selfish, more patient, and better equipped to live for the good of others than we were when we got married. But our marriage didn’t make that happen. Surrendering to the pleasure and presence of God did. Marriage is simply one of the anvils God uses to pound us and shape us into something useable.
And if you are not surrendering to the neoprene-covered sledge hammer of God, your marriage will pound you.
And it won’t be pretty.