Weddings are not a goal; they’re a way station in your relationship. It’s easy to misunderstand the role that weddings really play in the lives of the couple getting married and the community that surrounds them. Wedding planning emphasizes the final nature of the wedding. A quick wedding ceremony and a grand and lavish reception are portrayed as the culmination of your young life. There’s very little else that you do in your life that demands this much concentration, expense and emotion. One of the reasons that brides and grooms wind up with post-partum depression after their wedding is because this was it. And when it is over, where are you?
Well, actually, you’re at the important part of your relationship – the part where you live into your wedding vows.
Ritual is a moment out of time where you call your community together to witness your wedding vows, to promise to support you and to celebrate your relationship. That makes the wedding ceremony and the reception important, but it doesn’t make them anything but a short-term goal. To hear the wedding industry talk, you would not make that assumption!
They’re really there as a pass through and a support to the life you are undertaking. To use a sports analogy, the engagement is the training period, the wedding ceremony and reception, a short race before the marathon. You’re training for the marathon, not the short race.
Unfortunately, the wedding planning process makes you think that it’s the short race that really matters.
If you craft wedding vows to be the foundation of your marriage and celebrate them in your wedding ceremony, the day after your wedding is the day you wake up ready to work on your marriage.
“What, no honeymoon?” you cry. Of course, a honeymoon! Your honeymoon is working on your marriage. Your job on your honeymoon (after you catch up on some sleep) is to find ways to pass long and tender hours in one another’s company. This should not be a “one-off” experiment! Every relationship needs long and tender hours in one another’s company to refresh you for the journey.
Then each day after that, you work on keeping your wedding vows to love and to cherish forever and ever:
- You explore what each of those phrases mean to you.
- You realize what doesn’t work and stop doing those things.
- You figure out how you make amends and redress transgressions.
- You work together to keep your vows and what they mean to you evolving so that they stay at the center of your life and marriage.
Enjoy your wedding. Use your wedding ceremony to exchange your promises and gather community support. Celebrate at your reception. And then start the great and wonderful journey!