The most important part of the wedding day was the Nuptial Mass. Vowing to love William on the altar, receiving the Eucharist, and entrusting our marriage to God were the highlights of the day for me. I had never been that close to the altar for the Consecration and being next to the man I loved was surreal. It was so special having all our loved ones in the same room together sharing our joy (well, almost all).
Let’s be real – a lot of things went “wrong” in my mind throughout the wedding day. My dress wasn’t bustled in time for the first dance, so despite taking dance lessons, I could hardly move around. I couldn’t find William for part of the reception because I didn’t know where he had gone to. Getting ready beforehand was super chaotic. I wasn’t able to put on the dress until the last minute because we couldn’t track down everyone who wanted to be there as I got ready.
These weren’t the things that really mattered because what I’ll look back on and remember 25 years from now is first and foremost the Mass and vowing to love William for the rest of my life. I will remember William’s huge smile, the tender kindness I received when my dad talked to me before the wedding, my bridesmaid Christina holding my hand to help me keep from becoming a bawling mess before I walked down the aisle, the bunches of hugs I got from the little girls who attended, my mom and sister working behind the scenes making sure everything ran smooth, and just the outpouring of love from our guests and those who helped that day.
The wedding day did, in fact, alter our lives in many ways. We hadn’t lived together before the wedding day, we waited to have sex until our wedding night, and we unequivocally gave our lives to each other “until death do us part.” I’m so grateful for our faith and the wisdom and love it sheds on these decisions. Marriage bonded us together, and we didn’t have to live together to know we were right for each other. The patience we had waiting for each other has greatly served us in our marriage now and is still a gift to us today.
We did many things that are more “traditional”, but we really value tradition. We value the beauty of the Church that calls us to conform not to our own desires but to the truth that leads to fullness of life, that doesn’t deceive, and that speaks to the dignity of the human person. Being married in the Church is recognizing that we need God in our relationship and that we can’t fulfill each other completely. Marriage calls us to sacrifice in many many ways. That’s why I’m glad that the model of love we follow is Christ on the Cross—total complete love. The most perfect thing about the wedding day was Christ’s love found at the heart of the Mass.
I couldn’t have planned finding William, marrying him, and loving him even more today. That’s been grace; that’s been hard work; that’s been forgiveness lived out; that’s been radical self-sacrifice on both of our parts. It’s been a sincere desire to not screw up the extraordinary gift that God gave us in the sacrament. I’m sure many days we are failing and putting our own needs first, but every Sunday we get to go to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb and meet Jesus our ultimate love.
Here’s to William the love of my life. Here’s to imperfect wedding days that really are perfect after all. Here’s to God bringing goodness and beauty into our lives despite all of our imperfections. Here’s to choosing every day to love each other as best we can. Here’s to you, my love, for all you do and how well you love me. May we have many more years of marriage to look forward to. Love, Your Bride, Bethany