In just a few days the world will experience a royal wedding. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed and the world will watch. Prince Harry is the son of the first royal couple that I recall catching the world’s eye. I remember watching as Prince Charles and Diana Spencer wed in 1981. I had just finished my 9th grade year and our family was moving from Wake Forest to Washington that summer. I was in Charlotte at a summer Bible and Music Institute put on by the church denomination we were a part of. People talked about the wedding and even woke up early to watch it. It is estimated that over 1 billion people watched that wedding.
Why are we so enamored with a royal wedding? Some of it has to do with the fact that most people see it as some sort of fairytale. It is one of the few times in real life that we get to use the word prince and princess as actual titles for a real people. Another reason for our affinity is that most people want their wedding to be a fairytale. They actually want their marriage to be a fairytale, which is where the tension evolves. What is the difference between a royal wedding and a real marriage? What happens between the wedding and the marriage? Let’s see if we can identify what some of the traps are and why our marriage may not resemble our wedding day.
On our wedding day we want everything to be perfect. We have worked tirelessly to make sure that everything is exactly like we want it. We search for the right venue, the the best caterer and the photographer with the best eye. Usually there is some form of premarital counseling. We choose the right people to be in the wedding and our family plays a prominent role. The groom tends to be very agreeable to whatever the bride wants and everyone works to support them. We practice before the big day to make sure everyone knows their role. We pray that everything will come off perfectly. The ceremony is centered around love and God’s word. There are many people doing many different duties to make sure everything works perfectly. So many hours and so much energy goes into making that day the best that it can be. Months of preparation culminate into a 30 minute ceremony that seems to pass in seconds and then we are married. We soon find our marriage does not match our wedding and we wonder what happened.
For all of the effort that goes into the wedding day, that same effort begins to wane after we get married. Instead of looking for the best, we just get by. Instead of being agreeable, we start to want our way. Instead of spiritual things being at the center of everything it gets moved to the borders of our life. We avoid counseling and often resist the help of friends and family who want us to succeed. Instead of making sure our lives are filled with just the right people we allow less than positive influences into our lives. We make decisions independently and don’t take time to run through the process first with those who are involved. We spend hours on our jobs, our hobbies, parenting and a myriad of other things while our marriage gets the leftover time that we have. Then we wonder why our marriage is not the fairytale that our wedding was. It is because we do almost everything opposite in our marriage as we did for our wedding.
If we could carry over the effort, energy, planning and preparation to our marriage that we have for our wedding, we might find that our marriage looked more like the fairytale that we desired. As a matter of fact, I would encourage couples to be intentional about making their marriage great and accept a wedding that is less than perfect if necessary. The wedding lasts for moments. We want the marriage to last a lifetime.