I absolutely love weddings. They so often have that fairy tale quality to them – love, elegance, and a dashing prince charming who has come to sweep his princess off her feet. Thank goodness I’m not idealistic at all, right?
At the same time, though, weddings terrify me. Particularly my own. Not because of the actual marriage part – that part I’m thrilled about! It’s that whole thing where over 100 pairs of eyes will be on me as I walk down the aisle and probably bawl my eyes out when I see Josh. It’s the part where we will have pictures immortalizing us in that moment forever and hanging on the walls of our future home, running mascara and all.
In other words, our wedding has brought out the side of me that I wanted to pretend didn’t exist; the part that is vain and prideful and insecure. I’m definitely not saying it’s bad to want to look nice on your wedding day. I certainly want that, as I’m sure all brides do. I think where it crosses a line, and where it has on occasion for me, is when the main focus of your wedding day becomes on appearances and not about the covenant you’re making with God and your spouse.
Since I refuse to let my vanity and self absorption get in the way of our wedding day, I’ve been trying to change my mindset regarding it. In Colossians 3:2 it says to set our minds on things above and not on earthly things, because what is seen is transient and what is unseen is eternal.
That’s what it comes down to – is our wedding day going to be about transient things or eternal things? Is it going to be about how my arms look in pictures or is it going to be about making a lifelong commitment to my best friend and promising both him and God that I am in it until death do us part? Of course, there will be aspects of it thrown in just for fun- appetizers and dinner, a tiered wedding cake, flowers, and all that jazz. Those details will hopefully add some happiness and beauty to the day, but they are by no means the point of why we are gathering.
Josh and I have both read Tim Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage and cannot recommend it highly enough. This paragraph had us both in tears:
Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to His throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!’”
Those words snap me back to reality. What a shallow view of marriage I have when I make our wedding all about how I look and how the venue will be decorated. The pressure for women to look “perfect” on their wedding day is out there and it is real, but I want to fight that pressure in order to bring more joy and depth and meaning to the day and to the vows we will be making.
Josh and I decided to have the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:6 inscribed inside both of our wedding bands. It says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” That is what I want our wedding day to be about. When I think back on the memories we will make that day, I don’t want to remember if my hair was perfect or if I looked skinny in my dress. I want to remember how I felt when I formed a covenant with Josh, when we walked down the aisle together at the end of the ceremony as husband and wife, when we danced with friends and family, and when we laughed at the many things that will certainly not go as planned. When the cake and the flowers and the guests are all gone, I want to know that our wedding day symbolized more than that. I hope that instead it points to the great love Jesus has for each one of us, and to the commitment Josh and I are making to live out that love with each other.
[All photos courtesy of Rebekah Senter Photography]