The Sweet Christian Bride

Why Are You Planning a Wedding?

by admin on October 18, 2012 in Purpose with 1 Comment

Have you stopped yet to consider why you are having a wedding?  The question seems almost too obvious, right?  You want a wedding to get married.

But what I mean is, why don’t you and your fiancé just elope?  It’s much more affordable, quick, and simple.  For the majority of people, however, eloping is missing some essential elements of the “wedding experience.”

Chris and I didn’t elope for a host of reasons:

1) We wanted to celebrate our marriage with the many people whom we loved

2) We wanted to show our gratitude to those who brought us together

3) We wanted our families to be a part of our wedding, so they would know that even though we are leaving and cleaving, we are still an active part of our families of origin

4) We wanted an occasion to have ecstatic fun with all our friends

5) We wanted to share in the tradition of men and women before us who have had traditional Christian weddings

6) We wanted to share our greatest love, Jesus, with our guests

7) We wanted to publicly declare our marriage as one committed to Christ

8 ) We wanted to worship in splendor…

If the list kept going, you would also find

9) We wanted to have people see us look awesome (vanity),

10) We wanted to throw the best party that our friends had ever been to (pride),

11) We wanted to be the ones making the decisions according to our ideal wedding expectations (control)

Why you are getting married really matters because it becomes the subconscious guide that sets the boundaries for your decisions and communication regarding your wedding.  If you are unaware of what purposes are guiding you, you can very easily get caught up in the glamour, stress, and materialism of the wedding industry rather than the splendor and glory of our Lord’s presence in your marriage.

My friend had just recently gotten engaged to a delightful man serving in the United States Army.  Because of his service abroad, she was planning most of her wedding by herself locally.   Her mother, a sweet woman with the best of intentions, sat down with my friend one day at the beginning of the planning and poured name after name of “must-invite” guests into the vast sea of planning details.

Immediately my friend began to sweat and grow flush.  Everything was so complicated before anything had even started.  She didn’t know when or where her wedding was going to be, yet she was having to decide already who could come.  In this moment of anxiety, she stopped and pulled opened her wedding notebook to the very first page: “Wedding Purposes.”

She read to herself what she had penned days before: “The most important purpose of this wedding is for Jesus to show up.  It’s a worship ceremony to Him.  The next purpose is to celebrate and honor each other as husband and wife.  And the third purpose is to have a great time.”  When she came back to those foundational perspectives, the horror of the guest list felt as far away as it should have at that point.  She was able to keep perspective of what her priorities were and then tackle them more or less in that order.

A contrasting illustration is a couple who chose not to address their purposes because they didn’t want to deal with what they would have found.  Their implicit purpose was to spite their parents.  Sounds crazy, I know, and I don’t think the bride and groom would ever have put it into those words, but from the conversations I had with them and from the choices they made, it was evident.

They both had particularly difficult upbringings that left them with some deep-seeded, festering wounds.  After hearing, “That’s not good enough,” and “You are stupid,” for so many years, their wedding became a big “In your face, mom and dad!”  Everything from proving that their relationship was better than their parents’ to proving that they could put on a spectacular wedding without their parents’ money was necessary for vindicating this hurting bride and groom.

In the ceremony, there was no honoring of the mothers.  In the scheduling, there was no time with the parents.  In the pre-wedding events, there was minimal disclosure to the parents about what was taking place.  Everything seemed (consciously or subconsciously) designed to keep the parents out.

I don’t mean in any way to diminish the reality of the pain that this bride and groom had carried their whole lives, and certainly having a peaceful wedding is not a promising possibility for many people with broken or destructive families without taking great measures, but what is important to learn from their wedding is that their negative purposes overtook their Godly purposes.

Not only was there devastation, miscommunication, sadness, and anger throughout the wedding weekend, but also those negative aspects made it very difficult to include positive elements like praising God, honoring parents, rejoicing for the bride and groom, and celebrating with each other.  Even their memories of the wedding are hard for them to think about joyfully.

Examining your purpose for choosing the details of your wedding is a crucial exercise of humility and surrender.  It’s hard to invite Jesus to show up and bless your wedding, but then ask Him to ignore the sin that is festering in your hearts.

The truth is, “the heart is deceitful above all things.”[i] We all have our baggage and our bias that perverts even the most noble intentions to worship the Lord through our wedding.  Don’t be discouraged if you find selfish or negative purposes creeping in.  Instead, confess them and ask the Spirit to redirect your focus.  Ask Him what He wants for your wedding and let those God-inspired purposes be the perspective with which you evaluate your budget, the manner in which you communicate, and the measure by which you prioritize.

When moments of stress flood over you, stop and breathe.  Like my friend did, look again at your list of purposes and re-calibrate yourself according to why you are planning this awesome wedding in the first place.

Article originally published on December 20, 2010.

[i] Jeremiah 17:9

By Lindsay
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