All the preparation is done. The anticipation is growing. The long awaited moment is here. The wedding day.
The mother's light their candles and think about the symbolism and the reality. Their child will now belong to somebody else. Yet, this is what they wanted for them. To have them be joyful in the love of another. It is loss and gain at the same time.
The groom and his attendants wait for the bride and her party to arrive.
Finally, alone, together, before God and these witnesses. To take vows that will last a life time, with God's help, heartfelt commitment, a lot of hard work and thick skin. The bridal couple are sure that this is the happiest day of their life. It may well be. If they work hard at loving one another it may be just the beginning of a long life of blessing. Yes, all you single people, marriage is HARD work. You have to decide to love and respect your spouse no matter what, and that is not always easy. You are called to do what is right irregardless of the other person. There are times your spouse disappoints (those unmet expectations can be real relationship downers!) or neglects or is unperceptive of your feelings. There will be times you say things that you regret, because they were hurtful, untrue, or just plain mean. You must learn to overcome human failings. You are living with a son or daughter of Adam after all. Yet with God's help and a lot of perseverance marriage can be the best thing in the world and can get better and better as the years pass by. You think back on your wedding day and think about how little you truly loved your spouse back then.
Hard times will try a relation. That "in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer" stuff really does happen, and it is hard! Yet if you stick it out you grow to appreciate and love your spouse even more through those hard times. You almost feel sorry for the princess that "lives happily ever after." How weak is that. It certainly isn't the way it is outside of books.
Most young married couples will have a good disagreement on their honeymoon. They will get to start right from the beginning learning to forgive. They must learn to forgive. Marriage is not just about feeding each other cake or kissing. Marriage shows us how selfish we really are. And most everybody I know is selfish. We want our own way. It is hard to give in to another on a daily basis. Yet we must, or we will be, of all creatures, most miserable. We must learn to forgive and not let hurt feelings grow into bitterness. On the wedding day, who thinks about forgiveness and bitterness? It will quickly be required as marriage is reality. Most people take off the rose colored glasses after marriage. What was cute when dating becomes highly annoying when you have to live with it 24/7. Really, rose colored glasses should be donned on the wedding day and left there the rest of your life.
Families rejoice at a wedding. There is sadness at the changing of relationships, but their is rejoicing at the gaining of a new sibling and more love in a family.
Little girls dream of the day when it will be their turn to walk down the aisle in a spectacular dress into the arms of their Prince Charming . (I don't know if little boys think much about it at all, except for the treats to be eaten at a reception.)
God ordained marriage as a picture of Him and His bride the Church. We await our bridegrooms coming. We look forward to the Marriage Supper of The Lamb. When there will be a perfect marriage between God and His bride. We need to think about that picture as we live out our marriages. Working to have that beautiful marriage that we will experience with our heavenly Bridegroom.
PS. To all the newlyweds: work hard at your marriage and it will only get better and better as the years pass by. I know this from experience.