Last week I attended a young couple’s outdoor wedding. The ceremony was sweet and simple and Jesus-honoring. As the early-20s bride said her vows, I eyed the six unmarried women standing to her left. Some of them were her age, but a few were older. I flashed back to a similar day over a decade ago when I was a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding. She was 21; I was 29.
At that point, I was decidedly single and had been a bridesmaid in four weddings. As my friends found love, I was truly happy for them. But that didn’t mean being “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” didn’t get old. I wondered when and if it would ever be my turn.
Although celebrations may look different this summer, wedding season is in full swing. Maybe you’re serving as a bridesmaid or groomsman. Or maybe you’re just attending a wedding — without a plus one. Whatever the circumstances, here are three ways to endure, and even enjoy, the celebration.
Rejoice with those who rejoice
I don’t know about you, but right now feels like the perfect timing for a celebration of any kind. Romans 12:15 states Christians are to: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”
In this life, we have all too many reasons to weep with others, encouraging them through struggles and hardships. A wedding, especially the union of two people who love the Lord, is a reason to rejoice. Going into the event with this objective can totally shift your perspective and attitude.
Be in the moment
While some feelings of envy or sadness may be inevitable as a you watch yet another friend tie the knot, a wedding also offers many opportunities for fun and joy. Not only can you dress up, but you can reconnect with old friends and make new ones. In fact, I have heard of more than one married couple who met at a wedding.
In some ways, I have enjoyed every wedding I have attended. I love seeing the personalities of the bride and groom play out in the wedding details. I’ve also had some interesting conversations and funny moments (like the time my improv group broke into a choregraphed dance on stage at a fellow member’s wedding). A secret to wedding happiness is to choose to be a present and active participant in the celebration.
Trust in God’s plan for you
In “Rejoice With Those,” I wrote about dealing with the negative emotions I sometimes felt at weddings.
No matter how stellar of a friend you are, finding yourself continually in the pack of “friends” and never the “beloved,” can be disheartening. I imagine that is why the beloved encouraged her friends with this statement:
“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” (2:7)
This message was so close to her heart that she repeated it three times. Her relationship with her beloved is so affirming, miraculous and right, that she wishes the same for her friends. I believe she is telling her friends to wait on God’s timing for a beautiful, heaven-honoring romance. She is urging them to hold out for the love God has for them and not settle for chasing after it in their own way.
God knows you. He knows all about your longings and disappointments. And He has a plan. He is worthy of trust, even when others get the very things you desire.
Reason to rejoice
As I walked down the aisle in the satin, tangerine-colored gown I would never wear again (but hangs in my closet to this day), I smiled. My younger sister, who I had often prayed would follow Jesus closely, was marrying a godly man. Though I desired marriage and was still single, I took comfort in God’s goodness and faithfulness to my sister. (I had no idea that less than a year later, I would be married myself!)
I still felt melancholy after the getaway car drove away, but I had also truly enjoyed the day. I had sweet conversations with out-of-town family members and people from my childhood. I danced the afternoon away with my young nephews. And I witnessed the beautiful mystery of a man and woman being joined together as one. I found that I had many reasons to be glad.
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