Josh and I went to the county clerk’s office last week to get our marriage license. It was interesting sitting in the waiting room and observing the couples who came in to get married at the little chapel in the office.
Some brides cried, while others seemed indifferent. But one couple in particular caught my interest. They were young, either in their late teens or early 20s. They each had a friend or sibling with them. The bride was dressed in a short white dress with her hair nicely done. The groom wore slacks with a dress-shirt and tie.
When it was their turn, they didn’t seem excited. They didn’t even smile. I’m not sure what happened behind the closed chapel door, but they came out looking the same as when they went in. My mom was waiting for us outside, and the couple caught her interest too as they left.
The bride’s friend asked her how she felt now that she was married. My mom said she just kind of slugged her new husband’s arm and shrugged her shoulders. I don’t know about her, but I’m going to be deliriously happy on my wedding day. And that’s how it should be.
A wedding shouldn’t be just another item on the day’s checklist. Some couples showed up at the county clerk office, were told the wait would be an hour or longer, and they postponed until the following day.
Weddings should be a celebration with friends and family in the presence of God. They are a glorious celebration of love and commitment, and they are also a reminder of God’s love for us through Christ. When we take God out of marriage, we really have nothing left. He created marriage, and it very intentionally mirrors Christ’s love for us.
As a disclaimer, I understand that courthouse marriages or those at a county clerk’s office are the best option for some couples. There’s nothing wrong with it — it’s good to get married regardless of where the wedding takes place. Spending more money on your ceremony doesn’t make your marriage any better. And getting married at a courthouse doesn’t mean God isn’t involved either.
It’s still on my mind how two people can marry without really recognizing the holiness of the moment and the importance of the commitment they’ve just made. As Josh and I prepare for our wedding next week, we’ve incorporated much of our faith into the ceremony. We have time set aside to pray together beforehand. We’re being married by his pastor, celebrating communion together during the ceremony and having his pastor give a short message on marriage.
It helps us have reverence for the holiness of marriage and recognize the weight of the commitment we are making to one another. As we make our vows to each other, we make them before God. And we make them with the support of friends and family who come to celebrate with us. For me, that’s far more special than squeezing my wedding into a busy day, with just a few witnesses, and then feeling like it hardly happened at all.