Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Summer Weddings

Summer makes me think of lazy days, warm and bright and generally relaxing. But when a wedding is afoot, there’s no time to relax. You’re busy before the wedding preparing for the big day. And after the wedding, it’s cleaning up and figuring out what to do with leftovers, decorations, etc.

Such was the case in our family this summer. We celebrated a wedding and a renewal of vows wedding. Two wedding celebrations, and both were special. The first had all the trimmings of a true wedding; the second very weddingish, but posed less fuss in preparation and take down. Yet both brought much meaning and rejoicing.

The first was our granddaughter’s wedding. Bridesmaids and groomsmen were dressed in somewhat casual wedding finery. A special venue was acquired with décor more on the natural side, summer flowers, votive candles set in rustic, sawn branches, and simple but yummy refreshments. The backpacking love of the young bride and groom was reflected as guests were encouraged to make themselves a small snack-sack of backpackers goodies to take home as a remembrance gift from the newlyweds.

The bride was lovely and the groom handsome dressed in their wedding attire.  Dad and Mom gave their daughter to her young man. The ceremony was performed, vows repeated, and bride and groom literally danced down the aisle after they were pronounced “Mr. and Mrs.” The cake was cut and a happy celebration followed into the night. It was a fun wedding…one with much laughter as well as great joy.

The second, was my oldest daughter’s renewal of her wedding vows with her husband. They’d not had much of a wedding first time around, so decided to make the vow renewal something special. She bought that wonderful wedding dress she’d desired, and became a lovely bride: he in his new suit became the handsome groom. The venue overlooked the water of a gorgeous lake, and décor though simple was elegant, the food delicious. The brides love of preserving was demonstrated in small jars of jam for each of her guests to take home as a gift. One of the groom’s relatives officiated. Her dad and I gave her away…again. They shared vows they had prepared especially for one another reflecting renewed love. How precious and sobering. The cake was cut while friends and relatives rejoiced with them.

Two wedding celebrations with contrasts and similarities.  The young couple starry eyed with love for one another anxiously looked forward to beginning the new experiences of married life together. The older couple, experienced in marriage with one another, knowing the ups and downs of life together, the rich and poor, the sickness and health, all of it, still wishing to openly continue loving one another.  The young couple chose to leave parents to cleave to each other. The older couple chose to cleave to one other more tightly than ever before.

God ordained marriage, and marriage is honorable.  It’s a place for intimacy and the expression of love on many levels and under many circumstances. Marriages fail all too often these days. Yet God intended marriage to be a close and loving relationship between a man and a woman that lasts a lifetime.

How can we preserve our marriages? Forgive, listen, set aside self and give time to our mate, preserve through hardship, so many things…if only we will do…do…do what God designed for us to do in marriage. Love and cleave. Isn’t that what we say when we marry, “I do”?

“… a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24 NIV)