Like everyone I was delighted for the happy young couple but found myself more of an observer of events than ever before. There is, especially amongst regualr church goers, an expectancy that the "format" of the ceromany should be followed to the letter. Part tradition and part a religeus ceremony, she is walked down and passed the gathered family & friends by her father if he is able and present, who "gives" her away. The conregation is asked if they might know of any reason etc.., the vows are spoken and they are pronounced man and wife.
The words "family" and "values" and of course love are spoken of as if by repetition and there is a shared joy and elation and much congratulation. People had literally been counting down the days publically on social media to this very point and for some time. Like many silverbacks I of course enjoyed sharing these moments very much and especially for being related and close to the groom. I asked myself though what had changed before and after however and felt strongly that to recognise that nothing actually has changed atall for or to the bride or the groom or their lives together or as individuals was somehow a greater truth than not. If the happy couple are blessed with children, it was implied that the "married family" offers the best environment possible for the family. Discuss..
I'm not so sure anymore that it matters atall. Love and caring and nurturing and being kind are inate human qualities at least for the vast majority of us who have children. But we know that instututions and families of all kinds can smother each other and stunt growth, development and restrict opportunities. So I was left with the feeling that we all had a great day out and that for some its still necessary to "show" everyone how very happy we are. I for one would not poo poo the idea or say that it is somehow wrong to get "married". I think if you want to share life with your partner its still a beautiful thing. The groom was given some advice by the minister about married life: "be careing", "be kind", "say I love you ten time a day".. and .. "make sure you put the toilet seat down again", assuming you remember to raise it in the first place!
What's missing I think is the "disclaimer clause". We should add this I think as we do to many areas or practices involving risk! Perhaps at the end, and to the congregation: "if anyone should know or find out in the future that for any reason they suspect it might not be suitable for the couple to married any longer" .. "they have my blessing to speak loudly at the time of unforseen changes in matremonial equalibrium"!