by Rev. John H. Farmer
I Am Getting Married
I am in the midst of a 2017 wedding trilogy: One down, two to go… Like the hundreds of others I’ve performed, they are laced with excitement and anticipation.
All weddings probably cost too much. Wait, I don’t mean just money. Moms and dads will have risked relationships in trying to decide just who gets an invitation: the sanctuary only holds so many. Who did we leave out? Who should we delete? Feelings will be hurt. The bride’s family wants this and that. The groom’s family expects that and the other. Arguments ensue.
Where to get married is a big decision. It occupies hunks of emotional energy. A wedding too far from the grand’s will no doubt eliminate some that ought to be there. Some neutral mid-point leaves most of the party cold. Hearth, home and familiar surroundings are important. Old church homes are good enough to baptize, bury and worship in; but they may not be fancy enough. Maybe a rented hall will be good enough for these special occasions. Perhaps a garden would do.
Who should do the ceremony? Old Pastor Faithful has been our pastor for decades. He’s too boring. We don’t want him. We don’t want to hurt him. Pastor Other has charisma. He dazzles the throng. Is he available?
Who will we select as matron of honor? Big Sis got us through many a scrape and hurt. However, can anyone see her in a bridesmaid gown? She could be taller than the bride. She might be prettier. Now, we have two nieces, or two cousins; all would make excellent flower girls. If we don’t use Big Sis we might ought use her daughter.
Step-dad raised the bride. Will he walk her down the aisle? Well, we could use real-dad, just this once. He just won’t sit by mom. What about Big Brother?
How about the men’s party? Will dad be sober enough? Is he the best man? That frat brother, old best friend — can he afford the trip?
Will we ever get to the bottom of all this decision-making?
That little boy is cute enough. I’ll bet you even money he won’t come down that aisle. He sure won’t want a girl at his side.
We have to be sure that all the tuxes arrive on time. Shirts, ties, shoes and all the rest of the attire have to correspond with the overall color scheme. Where’s the cake?
Who will muster the troops? Who will get it all together and pull it off without a hitch? Those decisions often fall right behind the size, color and drape of the wedding gown.
What about dresses for the maids? Buy or rent? Matching shoes? What will they carry in their hands? Did we send the invitations?
Sister Soprano has blessed our congregation for decades. Do we really want her stretching to sing some favorite popular ode? Will she be hurt if we invite some youthful yodeler? Then, there’s always Brother Basso. His post-nasal drip and frequent snorting may not get us to the necessary spiritual high. Do we have to use church music?
We must have the best organist. Does she have to work elsewhere to make a living? Couldn’t she just play hooky one day? We could use a tape.
Flowers, flowers, flowers, did anybody bother to ask what’s in season? Rented candelabras might look okay. Do we need, want, flowers in the windows? How about at the pew ends? Candles, bells, wreaths, bouquets, there’s so much to do, so much to decide.
A short rehearsal, starting a half hour or so late should do the trick. The minister needs the practice. Remember Joe and Betty’s wedding? What a disaster. We don’t want that to happen.
Stop; take a look at the expense list. Some funerals are cheaper.
I won’t say it, but there are some things I wish I could impart. Folks in love, families mid-pageant wouldn’t listen anyway. Engagement rings, wedding rings and honeymoon plans, have stolen our eyes.
Everybody changes: Some for the better; Others for the worse. However, two people in love can change in mutually satisfying ways. It takes work. It will not be easy. It can be a life-long quest. It’s worth the effort. Staying in love is harder than falling in love.
Most of what I know about being married and raising a family I have learned from my two marriages. My first marriage, first family, clocked in at 34 years. Death did separate us.
My sweet wife Hazel and I have been married for 18 years…only death will separate us. We are a patchwork quilt of family structure. We each brought two kids to the family. We have a harvest of nine grandchildren and almost six great-grandkids.
The deepest truth, the starkest reality is that if you determine to stay married, you probably will. Partner not only with your spouse but with God—he’ll set your relationship in concrete.
Keeping church a vital part of the family makes a difference, too. A household, a family, built on faith and practice, makes a good enough home. One church per family is not a bad quota. The ceremony is only a launching pad. Though some plans are usually made toward the future—it is a journey without maps. I, personally, hope that folks will continue to drop by the church-house to get married.