So a few things happened this week that really brought the idea of weddings vs marriages, and relationships vs marriages out to me this week, so I think that this is a good time to talk about the differences, and what makes a marriage work. But first, let me tell you what happened, and how I got to this point.
I woke up the other morning with Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” running through my head. Now I’m not a Lady Gaga fan (I can respect her as a successful business woman, but I don’t like her music, or her image), but sometimes her lyrics will get stuck in my head. In this case, it was the line, “We’re plastic, but we still have fun.” I’ve never been a fan of “plastic”, image-oriented people, even when I was one. In my experience, anyone who is that focused on the image of the outside is shallow and superficial. I have a difficult time having a conversation with them. I have known many, and still see many people who come through the store who have obviously put a lot of time into how they look, but they all have vacant expressions and seem to run on auto-pilot programming, which I have been trying to overcome for many years.
This leads me to the story I read in passing this week, regarding a bride who cancelled her wedding because her guests were not willing to pay her $1500 guest fee so that she could have her Kardashian-like dream wedding. Ultimately, not only did the wedding get cancelled, but she lost many friends, and her relationship over it.
For the last event, being the primary minister at the only local wedding chapel in the area means that I have met many many people, and sometimes will be recognized by someone who was at/in a wedding I performed. Sometimes, it’s a wonderful thing, and I get to see a happy couple. Sometimes, not so much. That was the case this week. I had a customer come in the other night who recognized me, and told me that his marriage didn’t work out. I don’t know what happened, we didn’t talk about it. But it added to what I was already thinking about.
Most people don’t realize that ultimately it is not up to the bride, groom, family members or friends as to whether or not a couple gets married. It’s up to the minister who is performing the ceremony. If the minister is not comfortable with the couple being married, the minister can refuse to perform the ceremony. I have never refused (though I did come very close once), and I try to not judge. I also firmly believe that if it doesn’t work between the couple, maybe there are lessons that they both need to learn.
Which brings me to this… I often see nervous brides, worried about how they look, and anxious grooms afraid they will somehow make a mistake. So I offer them a piece of advice: The day doesn’t matter. The event doesn’t matter. The wedding is only a public and legal display of the commitment they have already made to each other. Nothing else matters. The ceremony is a show, that’s it. The real work comes in the marriage. Waking up every day, good or bad, and choosing to stay together and work on it. The plastic wedding doesn’t work. The marriage relationship does.