I love weddings! Have you ever noticed that no one ever looks bad on their wedding day? In all the years I’ve conducted weddings, I’ve never seen a bride who didn’t look exceptional on her big day. When I was younger, I always wondered why people, especially ladies, cried at weddings. “Are they relieving the hopes they had at their own weddings?” I wondered, “or are they feeling sad for the bride?”
With time, I came to realise that it was more of the former than the latter. Regardless of culture, tradition or religious background, there is something beautiful about weddings. Weddings are times of great hope and faith. Hardly anybody walks down the aisle thinking about divorce. Most people have nothing but the best intention of keeping their vows as they make them. They sincerely believe or at least hope that they’ll remain married to for the rest of their lives. Emotions are never higher, passions are never stronger, and commitments are never made with such sincerity as on a wedding day! And yet the reality is that many marriages today are ending in divorce. To paraphrase Eric Fromm, a German philosopher and psychoanalyst, “there is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started out with such tremendous hope and expectations, and yet which fails so regularly, as the institution of marriage.”
That’s why I believe it’s important for every couple getting married today to deal with the critical question: “What is it that we need to do to ensure that our marriage will last, and that our wedding vows won’t just turn into good wishes?”
A false idea that people bring to their wedding day is the belief that they naturally have what it takes to be a good husband or wife. “With all the love we feel for each other”, they reason, “surely this thing can’t be rocket science! “The reality, however, is that there is a science and art to staying happily married and none of us naturally has what it takes. It’s interesting that we take years to prepare ourselves for our careers. And even after that, we continually take courses to keep our skills relevant and updated. And yet few couples take time to prepare for their marriage, which is supposed to last long after they retire from their careers. And fewer still see the need to continually keep learning and growing in skills so that they can be the best possible partners to each other.
So, one of the best things you can do is admit right from the start that you don’t have what it takes to stay married to your spouse! You must determine to prepare and equip yourself not just for your wedding day, but also for your marriage. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share some thoughts about how you can prepare, both individually and as a couple, for a lifetime of ‘happily ever after’.
Pastor M is a leadership coach, author and the senior pastor at Mavuno Church. Follow him on twitter @muriithiw or like his Facebook page, ‘Pastor_ M’