In the past 30 years, I’ve been to 22 weddings (that I can remember), the most recent one just last weekend. Thirteen of those weddings came after my own.
As I sat through this latest ceremony, I thought about how good it is for married couples to attend weddings.
All I remember from my first wedding is how my white dress twirled at the reception. At another one a few years later, I remember eating too many creamy mints off the food table outside and feeling sick afterwards.
But as I got older, I started paying more attention to the actual service—what was said, the way the couple looked at each other, how excited everyone was for the start of their new life together.
Since my own wedding, the ceremony has come to mean even more. Every wedding after mine has served as a kind of refresher—a restart button on my commitment to my husband.
We attended quite a few weddings within our first year of marriage, and during each one of those, I was thinking something like, “Now they get to have what we have!” Or, “Now they can experience all the blessings of marriage themselves!”
Six-and-a-half years into marriage, I still have those thoughts, but I also look at the couple up front, all dressed up, holding each other’s hands and getting lost in each other’s eyes, and think, “There’s so much to come.”
Overall, Pete and I have had a smooth ride with no major catastrophes. But we have had our share of losses, disagreements, snags and failures. There’s a lot to learn in marriage, and I’d say I learn something new—or maybe relearn it—about every week.
The thing about attending weddings as a married couple is that it reminds you of your own.
For me, I start remembering why I got married. I remember how ready I was to walk down that aisle and give myself to another person. I remember how fortunate I felt that he wanted to marry me and how committed I was to be the best darn wife I could be. I’m reminded not to be selfish, but to love the man beside me in a visible, intentional way.
In the stress, fatigue and frustration that comes with everyday life, I’m not always that selfless, gung-ho person I want to be. Weddings, though, make me want to be that kind of bride. They challenge me to renew that commitment I made before God, family and friends.
The night before our wedding, Pete and I wrote our own vows to each other which were later framed and now sit in our living room. I read them from time to time and get the same feeling I do at weddings.
During each wedding Pete and I have attended together, I’ve noticed that we get a little reminiscent, a little sentimental and hold hands a little tighter than normal. (Especially this last time during an outdoor December wedding.)
I think it’s good for married couples to have those times of remembrance—to pull away from the demands of daily life for a moment and see your spouse as that man or woman you were so excited to marry—the one you chose to commit your life to.