When I think of love, multiple images unravel: a mother’s hand stroking the head of her child; a friend sobbing upon another friend’s shoulder; and, of course, the exchanging of words-turned-vows by two figures with their backs toward me. Having personally experienced all but the latter, I’m curiously lured by marriage as love’s representative.
The closest I’ve gotten to such love has been through the attendance of weddings. As I find myself at more and more of them, I’ve realized the subtle power a wedding can have in shaping what I personally believe love is. I can get caught up in a wedding as an event rather than an occasion or celebration. I have to wonder: Do I care more about a wedding or marriage?
The point or the pins?
As I contemplate these questions, I’m reminded of the imagination that takes flight in a certain popular pin form. I have two boards on Pinterest titled “Men I’d Marry” and “But I’m So Single” (a collection of must-haves for a particular future matrimonial event). It seems almost forthright that I would even publicize such intimate details with the World Wide Web, yet I confess that I’m a lover of beards and wood-meets-mason-jar centerpieces. I say this with confidence that I’m not the only one (as evidenced by the mass repins and likes on that one outdoor wedding tent idea I posted recently … ). It seems others, too, are conjuring up the perfect wedding.
But the perfect wedding doesn’t equate the perfect love. It only does if our definition of love magnifies trend over tradition or relies solely on things and not traits.
Wedding planning may also entice our imagination and dreams to a point where they become our idols. Our focus blurs, and God becomes the One who just created marriage and is no longer present in the process of it. The core of a marriage is lost amidst the party favors, stress and distraction. And while I’m found on a pinning rampage with the intent to just have fun and be fancy, it can suggest that I cannot wait for others to receive their very own personalized cupcake, rather than for them to witness the sealing of something immensely greater.
For better, for worse, for richer or for cooler
Sometimes on the journey toward marriage (or anything else one may want badly), our sights veer off the purposeful path when we set our passion on décor rather than the declaration of oaths and promises. We lose focus on what it means to be a good woman to a man and good man to a woman, in union before God. By exchanging words that seal the covenant, there is a glory in the transition from selfishness to dedicated selflessness—a sacrifice that is too important to not strive after and protect.
Don’t get me wrong; there have been weddings where a photo booth or a make-my- own-cupcake station delightfully draws me. I believe there is meaning behind these fancy gestures that communicate to wedding guests tidbits of the bride and groom’s personality and style. But do the details and glitter translate the main point of their hearts? I worry that it doesn’t always, and the more we invest into planning for a wedding, the greater the distance between our ideas for love and our Creator’s purpose for it—especially in marriage.
I pose these questions assuming most of us are in a space to question, prepare and really evaluate ourselves. And as a single twentysomething presently caught between the crossfires of dating and wedding invitations, it seems dire to really meditate on my ultimate goal when stepping into relationship with others.
Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with lavish hopes and dreams of the perfect dress, the perfect venue—and, well, let’s be honest, the perfect spouse—it hardly allows room for Christ to step in. We so strive seeking what we think is heavenly, maybe reminiscent of magic in the air, when we have already been given a fullness also known as holiness. Happiness, though a lovely sentiment, does not compare to holiness, which fixes our emotions in a posture formed by things eternal and foundational, rather than by the simple and fleeting. Marriage was intended to make us holy, not necessarily happy—no matter how much those quirky cake toppers may make us smile.
Tracy Le is a freelance writer and faithful coffee shop dweller who can be found at the helm of story, typography and the Word of the Day. A fleer of all things lukewarm and a seeker of the Son, find her musings on Twitter or Instagram @tracyleeeee.