As the young couple stood before the minister, dressed in wedding finery, room filled with well-wishers, a life stretched out before them, this is what he said to them.
“A reading from 1 Corinthians 13:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
“As you prepare to make your vows to each other, these words about love from the Bible can guide you in understanding the nature of what you are promising.
“On days like today, the idea of love can seem almost magical. You stand here, beautifully dressed, with your friends and family surrounding you. We are all incredibly happy for you, and we are glad to be here participating in this celebration. Everyoneâ€™s smiling. The atmosphere is positive and optimistic and hopeful. We live for moments like this.
“However, there can be a big difference between the moments we live for, and the moments we live in.
- The moments we live for are the extraordinary moments; we enjoy them periodically, and they provide special memories for us.
- On the other hand, the moments we live in most days involve the ordinary activities of our life, and they are not always exciting or memorable. It is easy to feel loving during the special moments, but it is not always easy to show and practice love during the daily grind of life.
“But those are exactly the times when we must practice the kind of love we read about here, when we must be patient and kind, when we must avoid being rude and irritable, and when we must not stubbornly insist on our own way. When we get tired and grumpy, when we donâ€™t like what our spouse says and we feel anger rising within us, when life gets hard and the money gets short and the house is messy, thatâ€™s when genuine love is most needed.
“The Bible tells us that God is love, and this kind of love grows in our hearts when we trust in him. It is almost inconceivable that two people can promise to love each other like this for a lifetime without knowing all that they will have to face together. I guarantee you that it will be a thousand times harder than you think, and that you will fail many times, as we all have. It is in those times that you must love one another by practicing forgiveness.
“So, as you make your promises today, please realize that what you are vowing is impossible without Godâ€™s help and the support of your extended family and friends. And it will never happen if you donâ€™t learn to forgive one another as Christ forgave you. Anyone can have a wedding. It takes years of practicing faith, hope, and love together to have a marriage and build a life and family together.”
Later, that evening, as the minister (who also happened to be the bride’s father) danced with his daughter to a song they had heard together through all her growing-up years, he was worried that she might be upset about the mishaps that had befallen them over the weekend, changing some of their plans and leading to tense moments. He whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry everything didn’t turn out perfect. I hope you aren’t too disappointed.”
She responded, “Oh dad, that’s OK. This is about marriage, not just about a wedding.”
And that is when he knew it would be alright.