It’s that time of year, when countdowns abound and hints of dresses appear on Instagram. The floral arrangements grow and grow and grow and the invitations flow and flow and flow. It’s an exciting time of year for some but for others it’s a time that serves as a three month long reminded of what they do not have and what often feels so very out of reach, and that reminder can lead to loneliness and that loneliness sinks deep and is hard to shake sometimes… and so, here I am. I’m getting married in just over a month and feel a little like I’ve become one of those reminders. Maybe this post is for me, to remind myself of what I should not do, but maybe it’s for you too, and most of all, it’s for my friends who I love deeply and dearly and would never want to wound.
T’is the season to be married, but t’is not the season to be exclusive and forgetful. What follows is three thoughts and three ways that should inform the way I live in the next months of life, and maybe they’re helpful for you too… or maybe they’re not. Either way, here they are.
1.Marriage is good, but marriage is not God.
Marriage is great and weddings are a celebration of a particular kind of love. They’re meant to represent the union between Christ and the Church and oh man, that’s so beautiful! That reminder is an amazing one because it causes us to look beyond what is and look towards what will be. We have this nasty, culturally engrained habit of making a wedding day the ultimate moment of someone’s life in which everything must be perfect and pretty and it is all about the bride and groom and how they swoon for one another. But when we let this wedding day take over, and focus on picture perfect moments, we forget what it is that is going on. Marriage is good but marriage is not God. God is God and He intended marriage as more that a moment in time about two people. It’s meant to help us see God’s love for His people and if all we see in the lead up to a wedding and in this weddingy season is flower arrangements and subtle sex jokes, then we’ve made marriage our god and that’s not okay.
2. No marriage is an island.
We’ve made a mistake as a society. We’ve made marriage all about us and all about the two people in it, as though they are all the other needs for life and love and relationship. That isn’t the case, though. Marriages that exist by themselves, without the two parties involves having connections and friendships outside of that union, are lonely and disappointing. You need other people and you need friends. Your bridal party, friend, is not there simply because you need someone to hold your dress up while you pee. Your bridal party are there because you’ve held them so closely that they’re part of the journey towards marriage with you and they should be part of the journey through life with you too. Keep your friends in the picture, because you need them and they need you. Your single friends are used to being forgotten once someone they know gets married but don’t do that to them, don’t be that person. Show them that they matter and they’re wanted and known because they are, you know they are, but you’re also caught up in the kerfuffle of engagement and marriage and I mean, that’s understandable, but it’s also not showing love to people who have known you before you were engaged. No marriage is an island. Your friends need you and you need them and the deep hurt that is felt when friends are forgotten is a hard one to recover from. You start expecting everyone who gets married to disappear and that’s not a nice feeling.
3. Not everyone needs to get married.
Singleness is good. Say it with me… Singleness. Is. Good. It’s presented in the Scriptures as a good thing for the Kingdom, not as a concession for those who just haven’t found Mr. or Mrs. Right yet. Don’t hint at setting friends up all the time, don’t seat them next to other singles at receptions without actually talking to them, and don’t assume that they’re desperately seeking someone. So many single people are content in their singleness until it’s told to them that they must find a partner, and then they begin to wonder what it is that’s wrong with them that no one has married them yet. Weddings are a great celebration, but as we’ve already talked about, they’re not meant to be a whisper of the marriage of the man and woman standing at the front of the church’s love… they’re meant to be a whisper of God’s love for His people. That’s the wedding we’re looking forward to. That’s the one that will last eternally. And guess what? There’s no marriage in the New Creation because who needs a whisper of God’s love when He’s right there with you in that beautiful place? Singleness is good. Uphold singleness as good and love your single friends for who they are, for who God is making them to be, and never assume that they need to be married to be complete… They don’t. Neither do you. We all need Jesus and so often we forget that in this flood of marriages.
In conclusion, friends, as we enter this season of weddings, let’s remember God’s love, let’s remember that we need more than our spouse, and let’s remember that some days you get tired of being the single friend at yet another wedding… so maybe let’s be kind, considerate and not forget friends in this loved up mess of a season, yeah?