So why not let the ceremony treat the love that brought you to this point as more than mere romance? When romantic love has grown up and been tested, it becomes bigger, believe it or not. It becomes where you are going – your path and your destination. It’s a road with all sorts of contradictions and tensions that keep you engaged and interested.
Don’t worry: you don’t have to wear black down the aisle (well, he might.) But a wedding ceremony with a bit of gravitas isn’t a bad idea. You two are weaving a whole new world together: your ceremony is the acorn to that mighty oak. Think about including readings, poems and song lyrics in your wedding ceremony that recognize the magnitude of your commitment. For example, this from Louis de Bernieres :
“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
Or the popular but sober ruminations of James Kavanaugh: “To love is not to possess, to own or imprison, nor to lose one’s self in another. Love is to join and separate, to walk alone and together, to find a laughing freedom that lonely isolation does not permit.”
Or, how about a John Lennon quote that captures the complexity of love, like this: “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
When the two of you make choices about what you will include in your wedding ceremony by all means lace it with romance! Don’t stint on those roses and champagne!! But consider acknowledging also the nuances of what it means to love each other now and later.
Let your ceremony tell each other <em>and the world</em> that you really really REALLY mean it when you promise: “Yes, I do. I will. I’ll love you forever” . Let them know that <em>you get</em> that this is more than infatuation; that what you are embarking on is gritty and hard and fun and wonderful and awful and EVERYTHING that is life.
And then uncork that champagne….