Holy Matrimony?

Have we made marriage into a Holy Grail? In the last Indiana Jones movie, the final, climactic scene was in a chamber filled with chalices, cups and goblets. Indiana’s task was to choose, from among all these cups, the one cup that was used at the Last Supper. There were silver cups, there were gold goblets, there were chalices encrusted with jewels. Among all these bejeweled chalices was a simple wooden cup, the “Grail”, the simple cup of a carpenter.

I’m wondering if Christians haven’t done the same thing with marriage, encrusting it with pseudo-spiritual trappings. As an example, in my own life time I have seen something added to weddings that is considered almost de rigueur today. What am I talking about? The Unity Candle. Can you imagine a wedding without a unity candle, today? Of course not; it’s a symbol of God’s eternal love and the couple becoming “one flesh”. However, back in the 60s and 70s, when I first started attending weddings, there were no unity candles. Today, they are a must, they are a part of our traditions.

There seems to be an innate desire to spiritualize the events of our life and give things around us spiritual significance, even if there is nothing inherently spiritual about them. Marriage, of course, is one of these occasions.

I can’t really mean that, can I? As good and earnest Christians, we KNOW that marriage something special, something holy. After all, it’s a sacrament, right? And what better way to prove it that to have a communion service for the bride and groom during the wedding? This is another addition to wedding ceremonies that have become popular, and becoming more and more common today.

I’m not arguing against traditions. Traditions are great. In fact, I read an excellent statement that gives the proper place for traditions. “Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” By all means, let us have our traditions. However, do not raise them to the point of holiness, and imbue them with special spiritual significance. The things that God calls “Holy” are holy, and the things that we may add as we go along, while good, are not holy.

So let us have weddings, let us have traditions, but let’s not raise the ceremony and the accompanying trappings that we like to the point of being holy and sacred. Someone married in a hut in India is just as married as someone married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.



Filed under Marriage, Marriage & Sexuality

5 responses to “Holy Matrimony?

  1. Welcome to marriage blogging!

    This posts reminds me of the recent story about a study that says that couples who spend less on their weddings have marriages that last longer than couples who spend a lot.

    So many couples focus so much on the wedding that they forget to plan for the marriage. We had a fairly simple wedding in the early 90’s. My husband’s uncle timed it at 18 1/2 minutes–and that included a unity candle..🙂


    • Object of Contempt

      I have to chuckle inside whenever unity candles are mentioned. In the mid-eighties, I had a friend at church (also graduated from the small public high school with her) who found a man to marry. She invited a lot of our unbelieving classmates to the wedding, and it was obviously planned out quite painstakingly, not only to be beautiful and meaningful, but to make an impression on the unbelievers (short of an evangelistic message). The thing is, /everything/ was overshadowed by the unity candle. Despite all the planning, the unity candle still ended up being placed in front of the air conditioning vent! Well… it didn’t come on in the evening at the rehearsal! Who knew it might come on during the day in L.A. in the middle of a hot spell? They lit that thing about 3 times before giving up. And it always waited about 3 minutes before going out. Since they blew out the original candles each time, it was quite a hassle.

      And their actual unity? Well, I lost touch, but I know she has a different husband now.


  2. As a single woman, I may not have standing to comment. But I find myself amazed at the expense many couples put toward the wedding. Every woman, it seems, wants to be a “princess” wed at the affair of a lifetime. A gown alone can run into thousands. Admittedly, these are beautiful dresses and the basis for an industry. Still, I cannot help wondering how much use they are down the road, when the couple struggles to make mortgage payments or save for their children’s college. Clearly, you’re not the only curmudgeon! Thank you for the follow. Great choice of layout, by the way. Guess great minds think alike (LOL).


  3. Pingback: Marriage: Contract or Covenant, part 3 | The Curmudgeonly Librarian

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