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I did

Speaking of weddings..

A couple of times a year, our daily local newspaper, the Press, publishes a lift-out Wedding Directory/Advertising Feature (called “I do“). There are very attractively presented hints, lists, articles, venues, jewellery, dresses, cakes, flowers, etc….

I wrote about the one at this time last year. That was the first one in which there had been no church presence…

Then I wrote again about it half a year later. Still no church presence. I thought someone else might take up the challenge, but, accepting the “encouragement” of some readers here I once again did the Fr Fixit thing and began discussions with the Press.

Yes, they’d accept a small free article. How about I submit 300-400 words about what marriage means, or what couples might think about for their marriage and how they can build a good marriage… So I did. But,… it wasn’t suitable, because… now the purpose of the lift-out, I’m told after my submission, is chiefly to assist couples organize the planning of their wedding, rather than exploring the elements that make a quality marriage.

What can I do with the article I put effort into writing? I know. I’ll put it on my blog. Someone might read it:

Marriage brings Depth to Life

Are you bored? There’s Xbox, facebook, television, alcohol, and shopping. In our culture we are all experts at distracting ourselves from boredom.

When we get married we are doing something quite different to making continual, superficial changes. I will be with you for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.

This is not constantly changing things shallowly, “horizontally”, this is moving into “depth”; the depth of another person, and depth together. Some people call Depth, “spirituality”. Some people call Depth, “God”.

In the Bible one of the most beautiful and surprising books is the Song of Songs. It has love scenes and sexual content that would rate it R18. It does not have a single mention of the word “God”, making one even wonder why it would be in the Bible at all. But I think God may be deeply present where God’s name is never invoked. Where there is love – Depth is present.

We could make a list of things we might look for in a possible life-partner: sense of humour, similar interests, hot looking, income, intelligence, hard working, great in bed, and a good communicator. The reality is that, for most of us, we don’t find the person that ticks every box on our checklist, or when we do we just don’t fall in love with them. And we fall in love with people who surprise us by not fitting our criteria.

Unexpectedly, perhaps, we can learn something from those who happily live in arranged marriages. They teach us, “you marry the person you love; we love the person we marry.” We grow and change. It would be tragic if, in being married, we didn’t. So marriage is not a one-time vow, it is a daily “I Do”. One, two, three decades from now, you, and the person you marry, will have changed. Considerably. In our superficial, dispensable, ever-upgrading culture, the shock is not how many marriages don’t last, the celebration is that the odds are your marriage will.

Here’s one hint to make your marriage last: never go to sleep without being friends, without being reconciled. Never, ever. Not once. Whatever the issue. Whatever the argument. Make that commitment now.

It’s OK to distract ourselves sometimes. But do you really want to fritter away your whole life as an amusement, a distraction? Marriage is a promise to let life be a journey with Depth.

This time in the I Do lift-out there is actually mention of church. Once. It’s a short article and a photo about a wedding in 1887 in the Cathedral in the Square. Ummm… that’s the one munted in our recent earthquake. The building in the red zone where no one is allowed to go. You know the one – just by the Press building which is also pretty munted…

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3 Responses to I did

  1. I really like your article, Bosco. Good advice. The only thing to add is that if, from time to time, you do end up going to bed mad (speaking from experience here), just remember that reconciliation is still possible and all the more needed. For so many young couples today, the first bump in the road like that feels like a permanent end of love.

    I quite like your “Depth” = “spirituality/God” bit. Very deft. Reminds me of the chapter “Preaching God Today” in Michael Ramsey’s The Christian Priest Today (pp. 24-5):

    “If a man does not say ‘God’, what does he say? What are those values or imperatives or absolutes, within him and beyond, which signify most for him? It sometimes happens that such a discussion may reach a point where one is saying: ‘That is how you speak; it is not far from what we Christians mean by God or by grace‘.”

    • Thanks, Jesse. I think your point very important: fighting fair is one of the most important skills to learn. Those who say they’ve never had a fight concern me. I still think it is possible to end each day as friends – you can just end up with some very late nights when one is so tired you just forget what you were actually arguing about 🙂

  2. I appreciated your thoughts on this topic Bosco. That scripture prescribes love fundamentally not as a feeling but as a command is strongly counter-cultural. The downward spiral which some marriages face can often be traced to reciprocal distain – one spouse behaves unlovingly, and the other does the same in return… eventually things descend to the point of a marriage characterised by hate and a will to see the other as unhappy as the self. An understanding of love, and our obligation to love even self-sacrificially and unconditionally – such that it is not withdrawn or limited, is a very powerful thing to have in any marriage.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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