TIME TO CHANGE THE WEDDING

If they had a wedding song in Bible days, it would be, “Here Comes the Bridegroom.” The bride was sequestered in her home, waiting for the big day. The bridegroom came at midnight with his happy band as she waited in anticipation with virgin maidens.

When the shout went out, it signaled his advance. She was kidnapped, taken to the home he had been preparing, and the celebration began. Talk about romance! Let’s give the groom more prominence. It’s been all about the bride.

A wedding recently took a step in that direction. He walked down to some well-chosen triumphant music that gave the impression a warrior prince was on the way. Then she came with her father to another well-selected piece of music. It would even be more charged with exalted emotion if the groom met her halfway and waited while the father gave a five-minute message on the virtues of his daughter before turning her over to the groom, who would walk her the rest of the way.

Then the pastor for the message would also highlight the character of the groom and bride. We trust that they have already studied the passages on marriage and read the good books. They do not need another teaching, and they probably can hardly listen anyway! Speaking to their character encourages character, not only in the couple but in all who are attending. It also strengthens a culture of honor. This is a special time to affirm the couple for the good choices they have made and the fruit of the Spirit they demonstrate.

I have been watching brides go crazy for years, spending big bucks, using the latest best idea for decorations, then acknowledging afterward, “It went so fast.” I’ve told couples, “If you can handle the horrendous wedding preparations, you deserve to be married.” Some brides have said, “I would definitely simplify if I had it to do again.” Now you’re talking, Sister!

Couples are being invited into a wedding tradition several thousand years old. Too over-spend distracts from the solemnity of the occasion. And it does not set a good precedent for the bride or her father to go into debt as Act One of their new life together.

Spend what you have, not what you think you want. Brides, you are not competing for the BWY (Bedding Wedding Yet). Reduce the number of attendants. Only one signs the marriage certificate. Borrow a wedding dress. You’ll only wear it once. Or buy a nice one and sell it afterwards on E-bay. Finger-food potlucks ease the budget. Relatives and friends would be happy to contribute. Or invite people to bring a big dish in lieu of a gift. It’s been done.

Forget the “save the date” postcard. Use email. Drop the expensive party favors and gifts to the wedding party. Too many details to take care of. Let’s change the culture and keep people out of debt and insanity. Let the groom’s side of the family pay half. At the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the Father of the Bridegroom is paying the bill. And that one will be extravagant! (So yours doesn’t need to be).

One other matter: couples think that when they get engaged, they should be able to spend more time together. Not true. The purpose of the engagement is to guarantee you’re showing up on the wedding day. Now it’s time to get ready for the life together. That might mean working two jobs in order to buy and fix up a home. The more time an engaged couple spends together, the greater the temptation to step over the line. “Don’t arouse love before its time.” If you are spending four evenings a week together, you are asking for trouble. Pace yourself. Love can wait; lust cannot.

Think Jesus. He went to prepare a place for us. The next great event is His return and the Wedding Supper. Betrothed couples in Bible days made preparations for a good marriage rather than spending every waking moment together. That can reduce the chance of a successful marriage. They were planning a life, not a one-night celebration.

Typically, the father would tell the son when he had done sufficient preparation of the home to bring the new bride to. In like manner, no one knows the day when Jesus will return, not even the Son. When the Father says, “Behold, all things are now ready,” the Son will come on a white horse, dressed in His white robe, golden sash, eyes blazing with fire and face shining like the sun, with His army of glorious attendants (Rev. 1:13,14). He’s coming for His Bride. What a wedding!

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