Across all societies, the wedding ceremony is held as sacred. It links to the other momentous events of our life cycle – like birth and (yes) death – in significance.
Most religions see the wedding as a rite by which two persons are joined and their destinies merged. The married couple becomes the new generation of family. So a wedding is both an outcome of one family unit and the beginning of another: a conversion that mirrors Nature.
In the Jewish tradition, “the dawning wedding day heralds the happiest and holiest day of one’s life.” Catholics too see the wedding ceremony as a pivotal experience in the life of the couple,”rooted in the divine plan of creation.” And according to Hindu culture, the wedding “is one of the most important rites of passage,” signifying “the transition from the first stage of life to the second stage of life, devoted to building a household and raising children.”
Wedding traditions worldwide – even the secular, non-religious variations in which JPs specialize – echo these profound ideas. We bring together family and friends to celebrate the joy and the importance of two people speaking oaths to one another. In America particularly, we may invest thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to create the perfect wedding day for ourselves or our loved ones, with the hope that this celebration will launch a long life of fulfillment, of growth – of happily ever after.
Indeed, we imbue all weddings with this romantic ideal. Second, third, and later-in-life weddings still capture our imagination and tap into a universal hope that this will endure, that this will not be torn asunder.
So as you speak the words and promises to one another on your wedding day, speak your oaths into the future. As much as you dream your wedding day will be “the happiest day of your life,” remember that this moment in time is only a takeoff point to all the coming “happiest” days of your marriage.