Is that what God really meant?

or How traditions make good weddings and not always good marriages.

There are four types of brides. Bridezillas, the little Mouse Bride, Hippy Dippy Bridie and the Eloper.

If you have ever been around a Bridezilla you know that they are as demanding as a two year old wanting her favorite toy. There is a lot of “Mine” and “I want.” Then there is the ultimatum “If you love me you will let me have…” You can fill in the blank. These brides want to release a thousand balloons into the atmosphere without considering the damage to the environment. They do not care if daddy is spending several thousands out of his retirement fund to give his litte girl her dream wedding. They do not care if their groom hates the color salmon orange and dress their bridesmaids in fluffy gowns of the muted orange because it is the color this year. After all it is her special day.

The little bride mouse is the quiet one who lets her mother or even worse her mother in law plan the wedding. She is the one who doesn’t tell the wedding planner that she is allergic to berries and the white chocolate raspberry filled cake will make her break out in hives. Rather than upset her new mother in law who adores raspberry, mouse bride opts to just not to eat a bite of the inside of her own wedding cake and fake it for the obligatory cake smashing pictures. Hoping she can discreetly whip off the berry filling before she turns red as well.

The Hippy Dippy Bride is all about the love, man. She plans a bohemian soiree, usually barefoot on the beach. She insisted that the guests all wear white. She herself has a ring of flowers on her head. Her wedding appears to be carefree and missing the stress of the other two weddings. What her jealous friends do not know is that she spent most of the week before the big day obsessively watching the weather channel for any signs of rain and crying because she has no idea what she will do if it comes a down pour.

The Eloper is one who convinces the groom that eloping is the best way to avoid the emotional and monetary cost of a wedding. She thinks it is the easy way out only to discover that when they let the infamous cat out of the bag to the parents, the families, his or hers or both, plan a reception anyway. You know for old Aunt Martha who will be upset if she finds out you didn’t invite her to your wedding. While you are at it, lets not tell anyone you are already married ok? What will the neighbors think?

When I hear engaged friends planning weddings I think about all the little pieces that seem important. I have even over heard someone tell a young bride, “Oh you must have a flower girl.” I cringe. What we should be doing is reminding the bride to be that it isn’t about all the beautiful things that seem so very important on the wedding day. It is about nothing but the promise and love of the bride and groom. The trappings of a wedding day should not be the focus. What is promised by the bride and groom to each other while standing in front of the assembled is the only thing that is a must for a wedding day.

Even an engagement ring that many brides insist on with a give me a ring if you want to marry me, is a marketing ploy of a diamond broker in 1938. Before then it was tradition for a groom to give a token of love and it wasn’t always a ring. It was also private between the couple. It was not a large showy piece of jewelry for the woman to flaunt.

Often the reason for the wedding is overshadowed by the day. The focus shifts to the ceremony and the party not the commitment. The actual wedding is usual about ten minutes and the reception lasts all night. There is the “I dos”, a few sweet songs and if you are lucky a couple of prayers.

I wonder what would happen if all the bravado and showmanship of a wedding was no longer the norm, even outlawed. How would we look at the idea of weddings? Would we as a society pay more attention to the happily ever after part?

In Ephesians chapter five, God explains that marriage is about a husband and a wife working together. Love is a choice. A choice to cooperate with God in serving your spouse. The individuals who truly love each other work toward enriching the lives of their marriage partner. For them, love is a way of life. They are constantly looking for ways to help, encourage and support each other. A marriage grows in strength when you take the time to get to know the person you are in love with. Compassionate love is based on a better understanding of ourselves and our partner.

God designed marriage to be an unconditional commitment. This unconditional commitment requires agreement between spouses to vow to give their best emotional, psychological and physical selves the other. There is no room for selfishness in a true marriage. Once one person starts placing their needs and wants before the other person’s needs, the marriage will fail. That is not to say that one should not tell the other person what they need. Humans are not mind readers. A husband can’t give a wife what she needs if she does not tell him what it is she requires.

Whatever kind of bride you are or aren’t remember, it is not all about you. It isn’t about you at all. It is your promise to love, honor, and cherish the man you have chosen to marry. Love is a choice.

Focus on the vow. Focus on the what comes after the promise. Focus on love.

~Lori O’Gara

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