This summer, we were at a family wedding, and it was all the things weddings are meant to be–joyful and poignant, beautiful and somber. The bride and groom are older than Michael and I were when we wed, but I still found myself amazed at how young they are, and how amazing it is that we promised ourselves these things when we just rounded the corner into our twenties.
There is a weightiness at a wedding that is halting, startling. The vows being made are so simple, and yet–and yet–they mean everything. To wed your life to another–to bind in the sense of “tying the knot”–it is a trembling, fearful thing. Not fear-full, but knee-knocking in its own right, because you are locking your life to another and tossing away the key.
To vow your life to another is to toss away the key to making decisions with only yourself in mind. It is to toss away the key to making yourself the highest priority. It is to toss away the key to having relationships that threaten the sacredness of the marriage. It is to toss away the key to a lot of freedoms that exist before that knot is tied.
But marriage also opens doors–more doors than I knew could open through just one other person. Marriage unlocks the mystery of another soul, offering glimpses of the brokenness and the glory of your spouse. It is a holy thing to see my husband at his worst and choose to love him, even as he does the same for me. It is a holy, holy thing to see my husband at his best and marvel that I am the one given the gift of being his partner.
Marriage unlocks a security and a safety that offers haven in a tumultuous world. Marriage unlocks silliness and goofiness and a deep sense of joy. And marriage, at its most beautiful and powerful, unlocks a picture of the love Christ has for his Church–no greater love, no greater tenderness.
This is what we glimpsed at the wedding this weekend. As observers of those vows, we had a peek–through a keyhole–of the doors they were locking and unlocking together. The fullness of the marriage is theirs alone, but it pointed us again to that most wonderful Love–and to the great wedding feast that is coming.