I want to go on record as saying this: Getting married was the best decision I ever made and the smartest thing I ever did. I know I’ve written this before, and maybe you’re tired of reading it, but we just attended a wedding and they always put me to thinking about marriage. In this case it was a family wedding. Kelli Goodan, the daughter of Cyndi’s cousin, married Mark Alvord, near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The ceremony took place outside under clear blue skies, the stunning Organ Mountains in the background, and with lots of boots and hats and blue jeans and cowboy vests. And, of course, there was dancing. Fun family dancing: Cousins dancing with cousins, uncles with nieces, grandmothers with grandsons, and fathers with daughters.
I will confess two things: (1) I have grown to love this sort of family gathering, and (2) I never danced a step until I married into this family. Some astute observers might add that what I do now shouldn’t be considered actual dancing, but I know where the beat is and I know how to pick partners that make me look like I know what I’m doing.
I suppose I shouldn’t pretend to write about a wedding while really writing about dancing, but in this case, the dancing and mingling and story-swapping during the reception defined and described this large family more than the simple wedding ceremony itself. And it is more representative of what kind of future is available to this young couple.
Anne Lamotte wrote: “That’s what’s so touching about weddings: Two people fall in love, and decide to see if their love might stand up over time, if there might be enough grace and forgiveness and memory lapses to help the whole shebang hang together.”
The fact is, I didn’t understand weddings when Cyndi and I got married. What guy does? We are in over our head from the moment we get engaged. Few guys spend time thinking about what their wedding will be like some day. I’ve never even seen a copy of Groom Magazine. We don’t dream about tuxes or favorite colors, or how many children we should have, or any of that important stuff. Men are simply out of our league when it comes to weddings.
But I realized after we got married how important it was to my family. And I don’t mean it was important to make the relationship legal and acceptable. A wedding gives a family the chance to tell their story, show the sort of people they are, and endorse the kids who’ve grown up into fine young adults.
By the time our own daughter got married I had a better understanding of it all. I wanted Katie and Drew to know Cyndi and I were proud of them, that we were giving our public blessing to their marriage, that we were standing up in front of all our friends and family and saying, “Check out our kids … aren’t they great!”
Getting married is a commitment to learn each other, to learn each other’s stories, to learn each other’s families. Weddings are about joy and hope and the future. No one gets married unless they believe there is a better future being together.
And another thing about weddings that I’ve learned to appreciate: they’re a reminder that I’m not the analytical creature I’ve pretended to be all these years. The most important decisions of my life, to follow Jesus, to learn Cyndi, had nothing to do with logic or analysis. They were decisions of my heart, not my head. They were decisions to learn their stories, to join their people, to become one of them.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32