Apr 172013 4 Responses

When a Wedding Goes Wrong

I love it when a wedding goes wrong.

Not way wrong, but I enjoy it when the ceremony goes a little wrong—a dropped ring, a forgotten song, a random sound issue.

I enjoy the unexpected in a wedding because I like to see how a couple reacts. If they can roll with the punches, focus on the big picture, and not get caught up in the minor details, their marriage will be satisfying.

If they are overwhelmed by the unexpected, heartbroken over the imperfection, and inconsolable when every detail doesn’t go their way, they have no chance at marriage.

Life never goes as you expect.

It is one of the great joys of life. It will go better than you expect. Nothing can prepare a person for the joy of parenthood or the feeling of deep intimacy which can be achieved between two people. At its best, marriage is far greater than I could have ever imagined. After our first year of marriage, my wife and I concluded that had we known it would be this much fun, we would have gotten married much earlier. (Of course, had we gotten married earlier it probably wouldn’t have gone as well. There is wisdom in waiting.)

It is one of the great sorrows of life. It will go worse than you expect. Life is full of heartaches we can never imagine. Dreams will be dashed. Disappointments are sure to come. Nothing can prepare us for the joy of parenthood, but what happens when we can’t get pregnant or when the child struggles or rebels? Marriage can bring great intimacy, but what happens when your husband is uncaring or your wife is inconsiderate? Jobs are lost; friends die; fights erupt. Life does not go as you expect.

I’ve sat through countless wedding rehearsals and watched a bride have a meltdown over things that have no real meaning in marriage—flower arrangements, the color of a tie, the behavior of a ring-bearer. In those moments when nothing can console the bride, I look at the groom and say nothing, but my eyes are screaming, “Run.” I think, “if she can’t handle this, how is she going to handle the real issues of life?” I’ve watched many a groom flare in rage because something didn’t go as he had planned. I want to tell the bride, “find someone else.” If he is irate over honeymoon plans, what will he be like when she does something which doesn’t meet his expectations?

When performing a wedding, I do everything in my power to make it live up to the expectations of the couple. It is a moment of which little girls dream and I try to assist them in making their dreams come true. While it is fair to be disappointed when things don’t go your way, it’s important to be able to put the disappointment in context. If you love the person and are happy to spend the rest of your life with them, minor aspects of the ceremony do not truly matter. We can do our best to get them right, but we shouldn’t allow them to define the day.

One of the most important characteristics of a happy marriage is the ability to be flexible. Be sad it rained and moved the outdoor wedding inside, but do everything you can to enjoy the wedding. Be disappointed your friend or family member didn’t show up, but don’t let their decisions destroy your day. Wish that the honeymoon plans had worked, but realize you can have fun no matter what the specific location.

Show me a couple who can handle a minor unexpected event on the wedding weekend and I’ll show you a couple who is ready for marriage. Show me someone who has to have everything go perfectly and I’ll show you someone filled with too much pride to experience a real marriage.

It was no surprise to me how my wife reacted the day she was told of the miscarriage or the moment the doctor diagnosed our daughter with Down syndrome. I wasn’t shocked by her strength and her ability to adjust her life to the unexpected news because years earlier, on our wedding day, I walked into her house two hours before the ceremony and she was laughing because her wedding dress was still not completed. That day was about the vows we would make to one another, not about a show to impress everyone in town. As long as the wedding took place, everything else was secondary.

If you can find a spouse with that kind of perspective, consider yourself lucky.

What went wrong during your wedding weekend? Did it greatly change your experience?


4 Responses to When a Wedding Goes Wrong

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