It's wedding season.  All over the country couples are plunking down money for that special day.  Caterers are cooking, planners are planning, and florists are arranging.  What are pastors doing to aid in this endeavor?  We are tasked with preparing couples for marriage, a daunting proposition when you think of it.  How can a few hours and some serious questions prepare two people to spend what they hope will be the rest of their lives together?

The very prospect of sharing life with another person in relationship is something that requires more than any minister, counselor, or even good friend can offer.  The nature of life is that it's always changing, it's constantly in flux.  There's no way to adapt ourselves in advance, so whatever can be covered in premarital counseling is just scratching the surface.  We talk about communication techniques, parenting tips, finances and the like, but still I think people assume marriage will be managed simply because they love each other.

The law used to require a blood test before marriage.  I once heard a line in a movie that declared what was really needed was a psychological exam to fitness for marriage.  Our family upbringing, our birth order, even our experience of past romances affect how we relate to and interact with our spouses.  There's no clean slate anyone possesses when they enter into a union with another.

In my family we have had four divorces, two remarriages and one death of a spouse.  My mother used to blame herself because "her children couldn't stay married," although both my sisters are currently married.  In my experience marriage is not for everyone, but love is.  Strictly speaking, love is the essence of who God is, and so whether or not we find romance or marriage, we can still be loved.  As someone who has been single longer than I was married, I have gained a great deal of appreciation for those who can maintain a lifelong relationship.

However, as one who has the privilege of observing the relationships of others I know that marriage often looks better on the outside than it does on the inside.  Perhaps if we had more honest conversations about what to expect from marriage rather than what we expect out of marriage we could save a lot of tears.  While I believe it is good for people who love each other to be together, I also believe that we place more emphasis on a wedding than we do on a marriage.  Maybe we need to rethink our priority and we could achieve happily ever after.

It's wedding season.  All over the country couples are plunking down money for that special day.  Caterers are cooking, planners are planning, and florists are arranging.  What are pastors doing to aid in this endeavor?  We are tasked with preparing couples for marriage, a daunting proposition when you think of it.  How can a few hours and some serious questions prepare two people to spend what they hope will be the rest of their lives together? The very prospect of sharing life with another person in relationship is something that requires more than any minister, counselor, or even good friend can offer.  The nature of life is that it's always changing, it's constantly in flux.  There's no way to adapt ourselves in advance, so whatever can be covered in premarital counseling is just scratching the surface.  We talk about communication techniques, parenting tips, finances and the like, but still I think people assume marriage will be managed simply because they love each other. The law used to require a blood test before marriage.  I once heard a line in a movie that declared what was really needed was a psychological exam to fitness for marriage.  Our family upbringing, our birth order, even our experience of past romances affect how we relate to and interact with our spouses.  There's no clean slate anyone possesses when they enter into a union with another. In my family we have had four divorces, two remarriages and one death of a spouse.  My mother used to blame herself because "her children couldn't stay married," although both my sisters are currently married.  In my experience marriage is not for everyone, but love is.  Strictly speaking, love is the essence of who God is, and so whether or not we find romance or marriage, we can still be loved.  As someone who has been single longer than I was married, I have gained a great deal of appreciation for those who can maintain a lifelong relationship. However, as one who has the privilege of observing the relationships of others I know that marriage often looks better on the outside than it does on the inside.  Perhaps if we had more honest conversations about what to expect from marriage rather than what we expect out of marriage we could save a lot of tears.  While I believe it is good for people who love each other to be together, I also believe that we place more emphasis on a wedding than we do on a marriage.  Maybe we need to rethink our priority and we could achieve happily ever after.