Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.
Ah, the day has finally come. Silk and lace, roses and baby's breath, wedding cake and toasts to the bride and groom. All the preparation, all the planning and dreaming. The beautiful fairy tale wedding with all the bells and whistles. Everything has come off just as you hoped and now you can relax. Ha, I would say that is the fairy tale. All the work stops after the ceremony, now you can rest and enjoy yourself. Yeah, not so much.
I think, like I did, most people think about all that comes before the 'I do', not what comes after. You finally meet 'the One' and then all the thought goes into that special day, not into all the days after. The not-so-special days, the joyful days, the boring days, the wonderful days, the mundane days, the heartbreaking days. Hours and days are spent planning for the nuptials, but no time is spent considering all the hours and days and years after.
My first marriage came apart at about 7 months and then died a slow death, ending after a year or so. My marriage to Jim started on a higher note, we were both Christians, we at least had that. But we had no well thought-out plan, we had no mentoring, no accountability. We had our ups and downs, mostly downs, and then separated at about 10 years. It was only the grace of God and lots of prayer and hard work that got us back together. What had we done wrong?
Just as in planning a wedding, you need to plan for married life. Just as the bride spends hours and hours, sometimes a life time picking out that perfect dress, we need to carefully choose what we are going to wear, not as bride and groom, but as wife and husband. The bride-to-be contemplates many things when choosing her dress; silk or organza, lace or tulle, traditional or modern, ballgown or mermaid. Oh so many choices. If you don't believe me, just watch 'Say Yes to the Dress'! We are not only talking fabric choices, we are also talking what color, white, off-white, eggshell, ecru, the list goes on. And how much are you willing to spend on that dream of a dress?
We as Christian spouses also need to choose how we are going to be arrayed. What garments will we clothe ourselves in? Will we be quick to anger, hold grudges, carry a balance sheet of our mate's every right and wrong; or will we be patient, considerate, carefully weighing our words and actions? What will we adorn ourselves with? "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ," Romans 13:14 (NIV). If we outfit ourselves in the attributes of Jesus it is akin to wearing a silk dress rather than a burlap one. It is having fine crystals and lace on our gown rather than dirty pebbles and cobwebs. It is wearing the best we have, giving the best we have to the one the Lord has given to us. It is, "as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothing yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience," Colossians 3:12 (NIV). We spend so much time pondering what we will wear for our wedding, not just to dazzle our husband, but to impress others and for all those wedding photos to pass on for posterity. How about we spend some time thinking about how to overwhelm our mates with our kindness, how to inspire others with our humility, and pass on to future generations a Godly heritage, not just a flat image that fades with time. The way to do that is to "Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony," Colossians 3:14 (NLT).
What is a wedding without beautiful flowers. Fragrant roses, elegant lilies, exotic orchids, happy sunflowers and daisies. Endless varieties and colors. Their perfumes filling the air with a sweet scent. The atmosphere redolent with their delightful aroma. Scent plays such an important part in our lives. Maybe that is why there are so many air fresheners on the market! Scent sets the tone. Some of the first impressions of a home are from what you smell when you walk in. Does it smell clean and fresh. Does it smell like day old cabbage and cat litter. Your nose knows. Just so with our lives. What is the aroma that we give off? Is it an aroma of selfishness and self-interest. The scent of desperation and frustration. Or is it a pleasing fragrance of love, peace and joy. Do we carry the essence of dust and dirt like Pig-Pen from Peanuts or do we "walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance," Ephesians 5:2 (AMP). Jesus showed His love for us by giving us His all, literally His life for us. His offering, His sacrifice became a sweet aroma, a fragrant scent and we also are to follow His example. If we love as He does, we are to hold nothing back. No tit for tat, no holding accounts; we are to give our all, even our lives to that one that He gave to us. We are, because of the knowledge of Jesus and His sacrifice for us to live a life so that "Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God," 2 Corinthians 2:15 (Message). When I put perfume on in the morning, it is not only because I like the particular scent I pick to please myself, it is also so that when I come close to my husband he smells the sweetness also. And as I walk by him during the day that sweetness continues to waft through the air, so he can catch my scent and even in the busyness of the day know that I am thinking of him. I want my presence in his life to be a sweet smelling savor, so that he not only knows I love him, but that God loves him.
And speaking of sweet, oh that extravagant multi-tiered cake! Chocolate, vanilla, red velvet. Covered in glorious icing and festooned with swags and flowers and edible pearls. I love cake, and I love frosting. The sweeter the better! I have made quite a few wedding cakes in my time. They have all been lovely, but I did have close calls with a couple of them. One was a large cake, with tiers and pillars. I got it all set up on the table I was told to place it on, only to have another member of the family come and say no it goes on that table. So I had to try to very carefully pick up the fully assembled cake and move it about ten feet to another table. The whole ceremony I was watching that cake like a hawk, thinking it was going to topple over and land on the floor! Thank goodness that didn't happen!
But the work that goes into making that cake; making it not only beautiful, but also making it taste delicious! Our lives are like that. Even down to this glorious wedding day. All as perfect as can be, but is there substance behind the splendor? Is the cake a sumptuous delight or sawdust covered with spackle? Part of our obligation to our spouses is to provide not only the aesthetics, but also sustenance. We are to provide nourishment to them; physically, emotionally and most importantly spiritually. We need to make our homes a place of refuge and safety and a habitat that is welcoming to the Spirit of God. We need to feed each other the word of God, because we all know that Jesus said that “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth,” Matthew 4:4 (Message). We must nourish each other with a diet of love and affirmation. We must make the effort to sustain each other with prayer.
We must choose to give each other the first-fruits, or the best of what we are and what we have rather than the two day old leftovers that have lost their nutritional value and their flavor. We need to remember that it is God first and then our spouse and then others. It becomes so easy over time to be kind to strangers and to take out our anger and frustrations on our mates. They should be the ones who see the best in us, they should be the ones to get the best from us. They should get the carefully prepared gourmet meal, not the 99 cent fast food deal of the day. Lay out your fancy tablecloth, set out your best china and serve them a meal of love, grace and mercy that will sustain them and give them great pleasure.
And finally the wedding toast. The original meaning of the wedding speech or toast is to wish the new couple health and luck in their marriage. Guests are then invited by the speech maker to raise their glasses and to drink to the happy couple's health, wealth and happiness. The clinking of glasses as the toast is being made stems from medieval times when to ring a bell signified that no evil spirits were present to influence the marriage. As Christians our toast should be prayer that covers the new couple, community that provides help and accountability and friendships to give strength. A toast is meant to set the tone, give wisdom, provide encouragement, and even entertain a little. That is what we are to do as spouses, as mates, as partners. Not only wish each other good wishes, but give our all to make sure it comes to fruition.
Think not only about the wedding, but about the marriage and then wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva…
The Impressive Clergyman quotes from Princess Bride
Purpose of wedding toast from weddingspeechbuilder.com