Last Saturday would have been my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary. Well . . .my grandpa died 24 years ago, but this is how my 88 year old grandma described the day, “It would have been our 65th anniversary.” Her 90-something year old friends celebrated their 65th anniversary a few days earlier, and she was blessed to visit with them on their anniversary. (I think her words to me were “They look old now.” Well, yeah, they are in their 90’s.) 🙂
I don’t know what her friends’ wedding was like, but I doubt it was anything like weddings today. Grandma’s and Grandpa’s wasn’t. They got dressed in their best church clothes and showed up at her sister and brother-in-law’s house. –Surprise!– He was a preacher and they wanted him to marry them. He insisted he put his suit on because he wouldn’t marry them unless he was dressed like a preacher. He wanted them to cross the street and get married in the church, but they wanted to get married right there in the living room of the parsonage. No fancy multi-thousand dollar dress. No expensive flowers. No beautifully-dressed bridesmaids. No pillared cake. No live band. It was not the social event of the season. It was not a show to impress friends and family. It was a wedding. A promise. A covenant before God and a couple witnesses.
It seems that the more elaborate the weddings have become, the shorter the marriages have become. When the focus shifts from marriage to wedding . . . from long-term relationship to the big day . . . from being a wife to being a bride, there are problems. I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a nice wedding. I’m saying it’s wrong if the wedding is the goal. Often, I think, a girl gets so caught up in the idea of getting married, the idea of a big wedding, that she forgets what happens after that day. Our dreams don’t go beyond the white dress, long train, and bouquet to the long days of cooking and cleaning and having babies and changing diapers and picking up Legos. It would be wise for young women to spend more time planning and thinking and praying about being a wife than they do planning to be a bride.
I love the photo of my grandparents on their wedding day. It’s just a snapshot. Of course, there was no professional photogapher and an hour of poses and groupings and fake smiles like we have with today’s wedding pictures. This is just a snapshot of Grandpa and Grandma minutes after they made their vows. Oh, they look so happy. It wasn’t a fairytale. It was the real deal. And it lasted. Until death parted them. And even after 24 years, Grandma still counts the years. “It would have been our 65th anniversary.”