Thursday, June 26, 2014

Five Things I Learned From Getting Married This Month

1. Even if you take vacation time to have your wedding, it will not feel like a vacation.

The sheer amount of nuts and bolts sort of work that takes place behind the scenes for a wedding is astronomical.  I realized that in my role as a pastor officiating a wedding, I only saw a small part of it: my collaboration with the couple in the writing of the ceremony, my pre marital counseling with them, the rehearsal, and so on.  But there is oh so much more.  I was married on a Saturday and ended up arriving very early on the Wednesday previous: and that still felt like nowhere near enough time to get ready.  And the weekend itself was such a whirlwind that I didn't feel like I was in any sort of a vacation mode until the Monday following the wedding.  I have been repeating this to people over and over: I feel like I am a much better pastor now to my couples whom I am marrying because I have finally been in their shoes and I know just how crazy their lives are.

2. All that work (see above) does end up having a purpose.

All of the above being said in #1, once the big day *does* arrive, you hopefully have enough people surrounding you and helping you out that things pretty much end up going on autopilot.  You've wound everything up, now it's time to release the string and let it go.  I spent the twenty or so minutes prior to my wedding ceremony in hiding: not just because Carrie and I agreed not to see each other until she walked down the aisle, but because there was nothing left for me to do, and the only impact I would end up having would be getting in somebody else's way.  So I hid myself, emerged at 11:30 when the ceremony began, and the entire day went magically.

3. No matter how stoic you are, you cannot fully control passion and emotion.

The net effect of me not seeing Carrie until she walked down the aisle was me bursting into tears at the sight of her and openly weeping during the entirety of her processional down the aisle.  I have never, EVER, cried tears of joy that forcefully before.  That's love right there, I'd like to think.  (I'd say that it could be onions as well, but I had an onion free morning.)

4. There are an awful lot of people who love you.

So there's the stress about who to invite, who not to, who's going to make it, who can't make it, and what happens if you end up going too far over or under your target number of people.  I know I definitely worried about some of that stuff in the build up to my wedding.  But on the day of, none of that matters.  All you can do is look out across the sanctuary and see the people who have cared about you enough to board planes and drive cars and spend hours or days of their lives simply to get there to celebrate you.  It's pretty darn amazing.

5. God's design for us really does include marriage.

Not that I didn't believe this before, but I doubly do so now.  God, true to His words in Genesis, doesn't want us to be lonely.  If/when we choose a spouse for ourselves, may it be done out of love for the other person...a love that constructs us and builds us up rather than destroying us and tearing us down.  I have to think God that blesses the love that strengthens one another, and that blessing is what makes a marriage a marriage.  It's not just us being together.  It's a blessing that Carrie and I sought, and, I pray, we have indeed found it in each other and before God.

Yours in Christ,

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