I’ll probably offend more than a few people with this post. Hear me out though.
I’ve heard it said that currently the annual revenue for weddings in the U.S. is more than 70 billion dollars. The average American wedding costs somewhere between 20,000 to 30,000 dollars (see here).
Now I love weddings as much as the next guy and I eagerly anticipate to have one someday soon. However, the more I contemplate the insanity of weddings in the U.S., the more idolatrous the whole thing becomes.
From what I’ve read, less than 10% (probably closer to 5%) of all couples get premarital counseling, with Evangelicals lower than the national average (see here). Thus, it is not surprising that most couples spend a significant more time preparing for their wedding than the actual marriage. People are so enamored with the glitz and glam that the culture presents about weddings (for its own finical gain), that an engaged couple’s focus is completely distorted. Many times I’ve seen it that it is as if people are getting married primarily for the wedding itself and not for the life long covenant relationship that it true is.
People might respond and say that it’s the bride’s day, she has been looking forward to it her entire life, and so she deserves to get whatever she wants.
I must say that it is this mentality that is so endemic in modern Christianity that just screams of idolatry.
Biblically speaking, a wedding is the commencement of a marriage covenant that is to reflect the covenant between God and His people. Marriage is in its high essence a microcosm of the Gospel. As Paul famously states in Ephesians 5: 31-32 about marriage:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Throughout Scripture the relationship between God and His people is typified as one of marriage, seen in Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea and Revelation. In Revelation 19:6-7 the wedding of Jesus and His Church occurs, signifying the end of this age, bringing in the New Heavens and the New Earth:
6Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”
The question I keep asking myself is how come I do not often see an explicit attempt in Evangelical Christian weddings to portray it accurately for what it truly is. A wedding is first and foremost not meant to glorify the couple getting married. It is to glorify God and point explicitly to the majesty of the Gospel. A wedding is not about the bride, but rather The Groom—Christ Jesus and what He has done, does, and will do for His Church that He purchased with His own blood.
Young Christian girls from an early age must be taught this magnificent reality that their wedding is not ultimately about them. They should be excited not that they will be on display primarily, but that Christ and His fame will be magnified.
Anything less is most certainly idolatry, literally putting ourselves in the place where Christ should ultimately be. I can only wonder how this lack of understanding and adoration has contributed to (and/or endemic of ) a divorce rate comparable, if not higher, than the national average. If Christ is not exalted publicly and explicitly at the beginning of one’s marriage being the epicenter of the relationship, when does He begin having preeminence? After the reception? After the honeymoon?
A wedding is a celebration and pointer to what will happen on that day when Christ is revealed in full splendor. Only when this reality is put in its proper place with Christ being glorified, will the couple be most satisfied and get their most pleasure and enjoyment.