Wedding season is upon us. For those of us who are young adults, the months between May and September can be hectic. We’re booking flights, attending parties, buying dresses, and keeping an eye on our bank accounts. Every year is the same, and sometimes the expectations for travel and gift-giving can start to feel more burdensome than fulfilling. Sometimes we forget what it’s all about, what it is we’re celebrating. Then we see our friend, or cousin, or sister walk down the aisle and say her vows. We dance the night away because we are, in the end, so happy. We do all of this because we believe in love and joy. We also do it, at least in part, because we know that when it’s our turn our loved ones will do it for us.
But this year things are different.
Sacrificial Love Takes Many Forms
If you are a bride who has chosen to downsize, postpone, or cancel her wedding celebration, the first thing I want to say is thank you. You’ve made a choice to forgo something special in order to protect those who are vulnerable. It’s not an easy decision, and it’s likely something you took a long time to come to. It’s a loving decision, that demonstrates a willingness to put others above yourself.
Sometimes – not all the time – love requires personal sacrifice. No doubt you’ve had someone tell you that marriage is hard. When I was engaged, I hated receiving this advice because it stirred up images of loveless marriages and distant partners. And yes, sometimes this does happen. But marriages are supposed to be good, and a good marriage is hard for completely different reasons. A good marriage lifts you up and challenges you to be a better version of yourself. It’s a crucible for your soul where you’re forced to grow in love and charity, factoring your partner’s needs into every decision you make. You’re getting a head start in learning what this means. This can only lead to good things.
It’s Okay to Be SadSome friends I’ve spoken to have expressed feelings of guilt over being sad about their wedding days. After all, other people are experiencing much worse. While it’s important to keep your personal struggles in perspective, there’s no benefit to compounding your sadness with guilt. Whether you’ve dreamed about your wedding day since you were a little girl or just started thinking about it when you got engaged, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into this celebration. It’s normal to feel a sense of loss.
Keep in mind that your emotions don’t change the situation at large. You can’t end the pandemic by not being sad about your wedding. So go ahead and cry if you need to. Go ahead and scream into your pillow. You’re not harming anyone by having feelings. You’re already doing the right thing.
Your Love is Worthy of Celebration
It’s possible that you’ve seen posts online celebrating the end of wedding materialism. Some people don’t like big weddings. Some people say it’s all too expensive or overblown, and have devolved into a sort of gloating at your behalf. Ignore such people. Whatever type of day you had planned, your love is worthy of celebration. Love is good. Love is the absolute best thing that human beings experience. In difficult times such as this, love is what keeps us going. Let your love be a sign of hope.
In due time, I hope your love can be celebrated properly. And I hope that living with the delay will make your joy even sweeter.
Marriage is Good
Having been through a wedding myself, and the stress of engagement, I can promise you definitively that the joy of a happy marriage is infinitely greater than the joy of any single day. You will not regret going through with your marriage, no matter how small your ceremony is. That powerful event, that sacrament, will still take place, with all the grace that comes with it. Then, you will embark on a new life with your partner that will take you down paths you never expected on the lifelong quest of learning how to love.
Wishing you a lifetime of blessings and joy in your upcoming marriage.