by Joel Lawler
I was asked to perform my niece's wedding. It took place on a ranch in Texas. The ranch was where the groom had grown up on the ranch. He, my niece and many of their friends spent months preparing the ranch for the wedding. They wanted the guests to have the best experience possible.
The wedding was at 6. I arrived around 5. The groom was still working around the ranch getting things ready. He was in his work clothes and covered in dirt and sweat. He was not about to let a detail get overlooked. I was very impressed with his dedication. He wanted things to be perfect for his bride and for his family and friends.
The theme they wanted stressed was sharing their joy with those who were their community. They wanted this to be the beginning of their friends and family walking with them through their new life.
The groom entered the area where the ceremony was to take place with a group of his closest friends. These were guys he grew up with. They had been part of his life for many years. They were his friends. The best thing and the greatest way they can show their commitment to their friend is to care for his bride. She is now a part of him. Supporting his marriage will be a valuable gift to him.
My niece had her two younger sisters stand with her. The three of them have always been very close. They made a pact to never move too far away from each other so that they would always stay in touch and be able to be a part of each other's lives. The most loving thing that the two sisters can do for their sister is to love their new brother and support their sister's marriage.
My sister and brother-in-law gained a son. Their daughter and new son need them to fight for their marriage. The most precious gift that they can give their daughter is their constant encouragement and support for their marriage.
The groom's family gained a daughter. Their son needs them to love my niece and to cherish their marriage. Embracing their marriage is embracing their son.
A tradition at most weddings is to divide the guests into friends of the bride or friends of the groom. After they are pronounced man and wife, there should no longer be that division. They become one.
Strong marriages take strong families surrounding who have a commitment to the marriage's success. Good families are rooted in good marriages. Good marriages grow out of good families. Healthy communities are made up of healthy families. Healthy family's have at their core healthy marriages. There is a symbiotic relationship between marriages, families and communities.
Nobody is perfect. Each person brings their flaws into a marriage. Therefore there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Every marriage is going to have problems. It is going to take hard work and a whole lot of grace by both partners to make the marriage work. The storms are going to come both from inside the marriage and outside of it as well. The guests gathered to share the couple's joy. They will share the future joys as well. They should also stand by them when the storms come.
Our culture faces many challenges. Some of these are a direct result of the all too common failure of marriages. Half of the marriages are destined to end in divorce. We are not putting a great enough importance on the institution of marriage. We are not fighting hard enough for marriage.