Why do we marry on stages? Before all of family, community, society and seemingly the world? Why do we marry in churches before the altar, before angels and saints and the great magnitude of the clouds of witnesses? Why do we stand there, between heaven and earth and state, nay declare, our marriage? Why? Because perhaps love was always meant to be declared.
Love cannot be hidden beneath veils of secrecy, it defies all secrecy in the very glance between two lovers. Love cannot be contained within walls and hidden from family and friends, for as soon as you walk out of that courthouse, it declares itself to the world. Even we, declare our marriage to our beloved with pride, a tad bit louder than we declare our degrees earned or job titles. Love cannot help but shout from the rooftops, it was not made for second thoughts or propriety, it was made to shine forth unapologetically, unflinchingly, unthinkingly.
Before marriage became about weddings and a show of lesser loves like wealth and lesser beauties like fashion, it was and still is a declaration of the greater love of the lover embracing his beloved in that island between heaven and earth and, of the greater beauty of how that love will consummate it’s embrace in forming the greatest wonder and beauty of them all, new life. A new flesh and blood that takes on the marriage in it’s own flesh and in it’s middle-of-the-store tantrums and sugar riddled running around, again declares to the world screaming on the top of it’s lungs, the marriage that undeniably brought it forth into existence. It even in some ways declares the irreversibility of such a bond for literally, only death can end both.
Try as you might, brides, to pick the best dress, nay The Dress, and color code your wedding party and your groom’s as well, no one cares. No one is paying attention to that for more than a mere moment because after that, each soul gathered is transfixed on the faces of the bride of the groom, studying the giddy smiles, the shining eyes, the hands that reach out, the nervous giggles and gasps and tears. Even as you walk into the impeccably designed reception, we see nothing more than you and your groom. Colors and centerpieces are forgotten in a day- her smile, his tears are talked about much longer for you see, greater loves and greater beauties sear themselves into memory, lesser ones fade quicker than one pauses to remember them.
Therefore, build on what lasts. Spend time with each other to love each other, ask the heavens for help and the earth for prayers. Lay down the bricks that will pave way for a love truly irreversible. Sew into your lives the physical, mental and spiritual health you will need to reap from in the years to come.Confess to each other with earnestness and follow through with courage and openness. For your see in fifty years, few will look at albums and videos, they will look at you and the relationship you forged out of your love. Because albums will not matter any more and effort will mean the world.
So grooms, embrace your bride and declare to the world the joy you find in her; show the world your strength that you will lay down in her honor. Show the world the faithfulness with which you will love her (which would of course mean most bachelor parties be put on pause at the doors of the local strip club). Show the world the vitality with which you will love her, the life which you stand ready, at a moment’s notice, without hesitation, to give up for love of her.
Brides, embrace your love, look into his eyes and with great tenderness, accept him for all he is. Forget about the bouquet and the somethings borrowed and blue. Look at the white that wraps you, covers you, and remember the unblemished purity with which you are called to walk your love for him from this day on- love seared white hot. Look at the veil that he lifts up and remember that you belong to your beloved, that he turns to you for love and for understanding, at his weakest moments when the strength of the “weaker sex” is shown in even more tender embrace and in the ability of our hearts to break with the ones we love so as to weep with them- agony redeemed only by love. We offer what we know we can so perfectly, a heart attached forever- a love that will, as Austen says, last and hope and live on “when all hope is gone”.
Forget the Kardashian or the Royal weddings, it is the wedding of the pauper that is most beautiful. For without distraction or wardrobe changes, they declare simply the undeniable and unassuming beauty of love and it’s existence beyond the classes and confines of the world. So love and marry simply- and give the poor what you would have spent on the frills. For apart from love, the rest is all grass in the wind.