This past Saturday, someone very special got married: my mom! I had the privilege of walking my mom down the aisle with my sister, as well as helping her get ready, praying with her before the ceremony, and answering the wedding coordinator’s questions. I also had the chance to meet my new step siblings and nephew and make a connection with them. It was so exciting to be a part of my mom’s special day, and I’m so happy for the future that God has for her and my new stepdad.
Let me be clear with you: I didn’t do these things to help my mom simply because I was her daughter. It wasn’t simply my responsibility to help her because she helped me on my wedding day. No one forced me to be there for her and pray for her. Rather, I helped her because I wanted to make it known that I support her in her marriage and that I will continue to remind her of her commitment to her husband.
As a culture, we seem to have forgotten the importance of a wedding. The wedding is not about the free food. The wedding is not about busting out your favorite dance moves or making a conga line. The wedding is not about having your way and criticizing everything you don’t like. The wedding is not about getting black-out drunk and doing stupid things that you’ll probably regret in the morning. Even if the wedding does have free food, fun dancing, and alcohol (and possibly things you don’t like), those things aren’t the point of the wedding.
On the contrary, the wedding is actually about a man and a woman making a decision before God and before those they love to honor one another and be faithful to one another. As an attendee of the wedding, your job is to stand as witness of their testimony and to hold them accountable in their decision.
What does that actually look like when the honeymoon is over and everyone has eaten their cookie favor?
As all couples know who have been married for longer than a day, conflict and fights are going to happen in your marriage. Unfortunately, the common thing for loved ones to do is to take your side in the argument. If you attended my wedding, for example, and I came to you and told you that my husband made me cry because of some trivial argument, you should not tell me, “Wow, what a jerk! I knew you shouldn’t have married him.” Instead, your job is to encourage reconciliation between me and my husband; take our side in the argument. You should gently remind me of the covenant I made with God and my husband to be faithful to him and to always work for our marriage. Pray for us. Ask God to give us wisdom. And send me on my merry way back to my husband.
Next week, I’ll be going to my fourth wedding of the year, my husband’s cousin. Although I’m looking forward to seeing my family and to having a great time at the party, I will be listening to their vows during the ceremony and will be praying for their success in marriage. My husband and I will write a prayer in the card so that they can remember that we are asking God to intervene in their union, in the good times and the bad. We also did that at the three weddings we already attended this year, and we will do so at the weddings we will be attending in the near future.
Let me encourage you: if you cannot do this for a couple who invited you to their wedding, do not attend the wedding. It is better for you not to go than for you to show up with negativity, criticism, and/or an unwillingness to want to see them succeed in their marriage. If you are a Christian and do not believe that God is in favor of their marriage, refusing to attend the wedding may encourage the couple to examine their hearts and invite God into their union.
When you go to a wedding, stand with the couple making their vows, and pray that God would be faithful to help them keep their vows from this day forward.