Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thoughts on a Wedding

"I would rather officiate at a funeral than a wedding. Funerals have none of the completely unrealistic expectations that I see in weddings." 
-- Facebook conversation (paraphrased as best as I can remember) with a high school classmate of mine who's now a Methodist minister

I'm now back home after the big family wedding. I'm tired today after the long drive yesterday, but overall it was a lot of fun, and nice to get away over the long weekend. My in-laws are delightful people, and it's always a pleasure to stay with them. They make us feel completely at home, and we always share a lot of laughs.

The wedding itself was beautiful - possibly the most beautiful I've ever attended. It was outdoors, in a little wooded ampitheather, and the weather was perfect - sunny, pleasant, blue skies.

The reception was as expected - good food and drink, and as much as you wanted. Sadly, I have no really juicy stories - I was the subject of some playful flirting, but I also had two lovely young ladies who were acting as my chaperones. There was plenty of dancing, and with considerable effort I got both of my chaperones out on the dance floor with me.

But going back to the quote at the top of this post - unrealistic expectations was all I could think about during the ceremony. The very explicit message to the bride and groom was "you now have your domestic partner, sexual partner, confidant, and best friend - for the rest of your lives." By implication, that means that no one else is allowed to fill any of these roles, ever. I could not help thinking that these expectations are only met in fairy tales.

I'll be accused of being jaded and cynical (from within my own house, if from nowhere else), but I don't think I am - I'm just observing the world around me. And my observation is that two people, no matter how well-intentioned, cannot possibly be all those things to each other. People have different needs - and they change and grow. What a tragedy to label anything off of an impossibly narrow path as "forbidden" and "bad."

I wish the young couple every happiness, and life seems very good for them at the moment. I foresee some possibly rude awakenings for them, but I hope they can treat each other with love and compassion as they grow and change.


  1. We have so many expectations when we marry..... Ha! Such hard work ahead! I think we need to get away from the clichés to be able to make it work, change the rules, find new ones, communicate again and again...

  2. I wouldn't call you jaded in the least. That there vow sounds rather like a death sentence. If they really had to fill all those roles they'd probably kill themselves by the end of trying. Ok... well maybe not that bad. The part I don't get is the "best friend". My partner is not my best friend... then again maybe that's why I'm cheating on him.... ahhh humph...

  3. I just came back from a wedding about 2 weeks ago, and listening to the vows made me recall how beautiful it is. It might be unrealistic yes, but it is always an aspiration to be "that" person to our partner. Whether that will prove to be true or not, its what we strive to be, everyday, that is important. Thanks for sharing this~

  4. Oh I agree me jaded as well, and I know that comes out of my experience of not being totally happy in my own marriage.

    Somehow I still get swept up in the romance of it all, the youthful enthusiasm, etc. Couple of our friends got engaged this week and I couldn't help but be hopeful that they'd be one of the lucky ones, the ones that truly to fulfill each others lives and desires, etc. But I can't help but wonder if they really understand what they're getting into...or what they really believe.

    I know when I got married, I was young and naive about it all.

  5. You're so right - that idea of partnership excludes so many others in our lives. Perhaps, 'if it takes a village to raise a child', it also takes that same village to support and enrich a relationship...

  6. Glad you had a good time, but a way weddings sadden me for the same reason. It's rare two people will be perfect mates for life. Love changes, so many things change. We can love so many in so many different ways. That in itself is complex...but to add now the idea that it MUST be forever. Ugh.

    Welcome back Max! :)

  7. Welcome back! I love the hope newlyweds have to be "that one". I'm a hopeless romantic. :)