Pink roses and white tapers adorned the front of the church sanctuary. The decorations highlighted the room itself, with an ornate plaster ceiling, tall stained glass windows, and solid, wooden pews.
The people ensconced within the pews fit into the scheme: beautiful, young, dressed in summery dresses and colorful dress shirts. They whispered and laughed in anticipation.
Even though I was feeling rather ambivalent about the affair, the lilting notes of the piano and the beautifully simple decorations lent themselves to a genuine romantic atmosphere, despite my sore backside from a 6-hour car ride and the fact I knew absolutely no one in the room except my husband.
The groomsmen, dressed in gold vests and ties, waited in a line at the front, the groom’s smile wide and expectant. Three tiny tuxedoed ring-bearers trotted in, followed by two tiny flower girls, serenaded by the loud protests of the third would-be flower girl. Six attendants, sheathed in shimmering pink, hair perfectly coiffed, sauntered down the aisle to meet their mismatched mates. Then, of course, came the bride, nervous but stunning.
The ceremony was sweet and simple. There were a few readings, the lighting of the unity candle, the promise to love each other “for better or for worse,” allowing only death to separate them, the final kiss, and the pronouncement of marriage.
I hope this couple makes it. Statistics give them a 50-50 shot. In this moment, surrounded by love and beauty, marriage is easy. They have no way of knowing how much work it will take to keep that love strong and alive, no way of predicting the challenges, losses, and joys they will experience as a married couple. Will they remember the commitment they made before these witnesses when the stresses of life threaten to split them apart?
Despite cultural influences to the contrary, marriage is important. It is a sacred relationship, which should be entered into with a full knowledge and desire for a lifetime commitment. When that commitment is broken, for whatever reason and in whatever way, lives are broken.
Congratulations to Chad and Becca! May the joy of their wedding day be increased a hundredfold over their lifetime. May God give them the strength and courage to see their relationship through. May their marriage be a blessing to others as they grow old together.
Why didn’t anyone ask me to write the toast?