Going to a Wedding?
SOME folks never attend a wedding, even the wedding of a close friend, claiming they are too busy. But it is good to remember that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when upon earth was not too busy to attend the marriage feast in Cana. In fact, the first sign he performed as proof of his Messiahship was at this wedding. When the wine ran out, he miraculously supplied more, the very best wine and that in abundance. Incidentally, the result of that miracle was that “his disciples put their faith in him.”—John 2:1-11.
The first wedding was that of Adam and Eve and it was performed by Jehovah God, the Creator. God first had Adam come to appreciate his need for a mate, for we read that after having named all the animals Adam found that for himself there was “no helper as a complement.” Then God created Eve and “proceeded . . . to bring her to the man.” No wonder that, upon being introduced to her, Adam said: “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called Woman, because from man this one was taken.”—Gen. 2:18-23.
Among God’s servants in ancient times there is no record of a formal religious ceremony associated with weddings. And there was no such thing as a marriage license, though definite steps were taken that made the marriage tie legally binding. However, one thing is certain, that, even as is the case today, a wedding was a joyous occasion. Underscoring the joyousness associated with marriage feasts is the reference to the marriage of the Lamb, thus using this arrangement that is well understood by humans to illustrate the relationship that comes to exist between Jesus Christ and his followers in heaven. Concerning this marriage, we read: “Praise Jah, you people . . . Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.”—Rev. 19:6, 7.
Weddings are customarily very joyous affairs and they do have many appealing factors, especially for the womenfolk, who generally are inclined to be more romantic and more interested in weddings than the menfolk. Usually there is a beautifully adorned bride. And often there are flowers and music to add to the festiveness of the occasion.
It has been observed that brides make a great deal of their wedding; they like to dramatize it as much as possible. And this they do with peculiarly feminine wisdom. Quite likely most grooms would prefer otherwise, but by going through with all the arrangements even these ones may well have impressed upon their hearts and minds the importance of the step they are taking. As has been observed by worldly psychologists, the dramatic ceremony so impresses itself on the male or groom that he is made more aware that he is from now on a married man. Then, too, brides are wise in making much of their wedding, for getting married is one of the most serious steps one can take and it is taken with the expectation of its lasting a lifetime.
REASONS FOR GOING
Many and varied are the reasons why people go to a wedding. A person who is quite romantic will usually find a number of excuses for going to a wedding. A very good reason for going is, of course, because a good friend or close relative is getting married. A couple getting married consider it an expression of love or respect for others to attend their wedding. Some people go because they are related to the bride or groom and so feel obligated to put in an appearance. Others go because of business or political connections that seem to recommend their presence. Curiosity may cause still others to go, even as the opportunity to wear fine clothes might cause some women to attend.
While a wedding is a joyous occasion, let it never be forgotten that, according to the Bible, it is also a most serious one. A man and woman in marrying are supposed to be contracting “for keeps,” as the saying goes. It is commonly recognized that couples marry “for better or for worse” and “until death” parts them. Fittingly, at weddings conducted by Jehovah’s witnesses the officiating minister reviews the Scriptural basis for marriage and the Scriptural obligations of the man and the woman. While all of this is primarily directed to the couple being married, is it not also good counsel for all in the audience? Most surely!
FOR HUSBANDS AND WIVES
Today, among people in general, marriage is being downgraded as more and more couples live together as husband and wife without first getting married. Among those that do marry there is ever less loyalty and faithfulness to the marriage vows and to each other and ever more divorcing. All the trends of the day, such as materialism, sexual immorality and perversions, combine to make it more difficult to make a success of marriage. Thus even among dedicated Christian servants of God some may be tempted to separate and go their own ways if not able to get a Scriptural divorce.
Might not all such, as well as any others who are having more “tribulation in their flesh” than they bargained for, benefit from attending a wedding ceremony—the kind conducted in the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses? (1 Cor. 7:28) How well it would be for them to compare their actions toward each other with the Scriptural counsel being presented! As the groom is being counseled, each husband can well ask himself to what extent he measures up to the standard set forth by the Originator of marriage in his Word the Bible. The same goes for each wife as the bride is counseled on her Scriptural obligations toward her husband. If a couple’s marriage has got into a commonplace rut, attending a wedding and seeing and hearing young people in love and full of hope take their marriage vows may well help to recall the time when they felt that way toward each other. It may even motivate them to do something about rekindling their “first love.”
PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Parents, ever hopeful as regards a happy marriage for their children, can also benefit from attending such a wedding ceremony. Thus, one Christian minister, in the course of his wedding talk, commended the parents of the youthful couple for having reared their children “in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah” so that their children were able to have an honorable marriage at their house of worship. Without doubt, all parents with marriageable or even younger children, when hearing such remarks, are caused to appreciate more how much is involved in properly rearing their children.—Eph. 6:4.
Further on, this same minister also commended the young pair themselves for having avoided the snares of sexual immorality so that they could have such an honorable wedding ceremony. What an incentive those remarks were to all the young folks in the audience to follow Bible principles and to exercise self-control! They were also helped to appreciate how true the apostle’s words are that “godly devotion is beneficial for all things,” including happiness in marriage.—1 Tim. 4:8.
Those who are seriously contemplating marriage also stand to benefit from attending such a wedding. As they hear the speaker outline the duties as well as the privileges of married folks, it should help them to take a mature view of marriage rather than just a sentimental romantic view, as though marriage were a bed of roses. They will be helped to see how much one’s happiness in marriage depends upon practical factors, such as being thoughtful, unselfish and considerate of each other. Also, they will have impressed upon them that in marriage people do have “tribulation in their flesh” and so must be prepared to “take the bitter with the sweet.”
BENEFITING FROM THE RECEPTION
There are those acquaintances of a couple getting married that take the attitude that they do not have time to attend the wedding ceremony at the Kingdom Hall, but they do have time for the festivities that follow, when there will be wining, dining and dancing. This might be said to be putting the cart before the horse. Really, it borders on the mistake made by the ancient hunter Esau, who preferred a bowl of lentil stew to the spiritual blessings of the promise first made to his grandfather Abraham. One’s presence at the wedding is an expression of esteem for those getting married, but one’s presence only at the reception may mean that one’s primary interest in life is having a good time.—Heb. 12:16.
Wedding receptions among Jehovah’s witnesses have often been made occasions of spiritual profit and upbuilding. Recently, at one of these there were short talks, combining humor and practical counsel by several close friends of the bridal pair. There was also some fine singing of Christian songs that were especially appropriate to the occasion, and, of course, the festivities began with asking God’s blessing on the occasion.
Here also care should be taken that the reception keeps a high tone and does not sink to the level of riotous living or drunken revelry, as is so often the case among worldlings. In short, at wedding receptions also let there be a heeding of the apostle’s advice: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.” Doing so will make the wedding ceremony, as well as the festivities afterward, not only joyous occasions but also occasions for mutual upbuilding and for fond memories.—1 Cor. 10:31.