Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Weddings as Sacrament


Well, I hadn't done a 7QT in awhile, and since my blogging has been sporadic at best lately decided it's now or never! 


In my defense, I've been to two out-of-town weddings in the same number of weeks. In the first (which was also out of state), my husband was best man, and in the second I was a bridesmaid. Both weddings were lovely though very different, and both did an excellent job of highlighting the personalities of the couple while providing a gracious environment for guests. Naturally it got me thinking about weddings, and marriage. 


My father walking me down the aisle. It doesn't show faces so I'm OK with showing it.

I married an Episcopalian before I'd ever been to an Episcopal wedding (or a Catholic one for that matter). In my Protestant, Southern experience, the ceremonies were short and almost informal. There might be a little special music (heaven help us) or a congregational hymn, probably a reading of 1 Corinthians 13, the exchange of rings and vows, and sometimes a short talk (we don't say homily) given by the preacher/ celebrant. Weddings are a big deal, but they aren't sacraments. I'd certainly never heard of taking communion at a wedding. Why, that would seem sacrilegious! Weddings might be held in churches, but they don't hold the same reverential value that a regular church service does; it would seem profane to have the Lord's supper mingled with a wedding service. 

Like most converts though, I was determined to go full bore. We had the full shebang, communion and all, which caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth among my more Protestant family members. (In their defense, everyone was sweet the day of, although they all decided not to partake of communion. I guess they thought it was idolatry or something). It just made so much sense to start off my new married life with a miracle. The moment that my husband and I knelt and partook together was like nothing I have ever experienced. 


My husband is not the "strong and silent" type. In our wedding, I was dry-eyed and grinning from ear to ear, and he was the one tearing up. He's a very emotional soul, which I adore. During the wedding of his best friends, I caught his eye once or twice from the congregation, and we were both thinking the same thoughts. How has our marriage held up? It's been a very hard two and half years, what with my mental health issues, family problems, three moves across states, job changes, his time in seminary, preparing for ordination to the priesthood, etc. It's easy for us to be jealous of other couples who seem to have it easy, to groan when we hear yet another preacher talk about the trials of newly weds including toothpaste brands. Mental health problems are a heavy burden on a marriage, even with the support we've been blessed to have.


Thinking of marriage as sacrament helps. When you were baptized, you were promised grace, not freedom from sin and trouble. The sacraments never remove our trials, do they? (Sometimes it feels like they add to them!) The Christian life is not easy, and in fact can be an inconvenient faith as Chesterton said. Sacraments give grace upon grace because that grace is needed so desperately. 


My husband and I were blessed (in retrospect) to have weathered trials as an engaged couple. However, nothing can prepare you for the work of being married, no matter how much pre-marital counseling you receive - though it helps! The joy and hardship of being two people and yet one flesh is something that must be lived out to be believed. Before we got married, I trusted on faith that marriage is sacramental, but I didn't really get it. Like any sacrament, until you make that "leap of faith" it won't really click. 


In closing, pray for your spouse! One thing I've started practicing is offering a Rosary up for our marriage. Funny how spending time meditating on God's grace changes your perspective on marriage and love. 


  1. Your wedding dress is so beautiful (even just from the back)! I love that train. :)

  2. What a beautiful church and a beautiful dress. And how perfect #7 was for me to read right now. I've been thinking about that lately, about how I need to really, earnestly pray for my husband. I need more reminders and pushes than I should.

    Re: #4, remember that couples are imperfect in any number of ways that we can't imagine -- ways that can't be easily seen. And where one couple is strong, another is weak. I've found it's easy to forget about our strengths as a couple, because I take them for granted. And it's easy for me to dwell on others' strength in areas where we're weak -- when I don't get to see their weaknesses. Email me if you ever want to chat. I'll dish.