It wasn’t the wedding they had planned.
With the coronavirus overtaking normal daily life across the country, so much has been disrupted, not the least of which is the gathering of family members, loved ones, and friends to witness the joining of two hearts and souls in holy matrimony.
When my best friend asked me to be her maid of honor nearly a year ago just after she had gotten engaged, I was pretty elated.
I had witnessed her and her now-husband’s relationship begin as a coworker camaraderie to mutual attraction to falling in love, with lots of growing and learning in between.
I couldn’t wait for their wedding and for the ability to celebrate a love that I had the honor of watching blossom from day one—from witnessing her walk down the aisle in front of her family members and friends to toasting her and breaking it down on the dance floor.
Even though what was planned completely fell through—a packed church wedding, photos on the Capitol grounds, and a reception in one of Washington, D.C.’s historic hotels, a wedding during this time really underscored for me everything that a wedding should be—completely and totally about the marriage.
But in today’s society, marriage gets the short end of the stick because more often than not, all of the emphasis is put on the day and not the lifetime, the wedding—not the marriage.
Even more tragic, one of the most important elements that contributes to successful marriages, practicing chastity by saving sex for marriage, is also patently ignored in today’s society.
Chastity is probably the single most important element in preparing for marriage, one that should be in play well before someone enters a relationship, something that is a way of life, not something to check off on the marriage prep list.
Why? Practicing chastity and saving sex for marriage exhibits a profound love and respect for the other because in living out chastity you are willing the highest good of the other, not using your boyfriend or girlfriend for self-gratification.
My best friend’s coronavirus wedding made it vividly evident that we have the wedding and marriage relationship backwards.
But being part of a wedding during coronavirus that was stripped of everything that we had planned—except for the marriage itself—emphasized that the marriage is what is most important.
It would behoove us to not put as much, if not more thought, work, time, and consideration into our marriages, including loving that person so much that we are willing to wait than focusing primarily on the celebration of the wedding day
As a girl who has been in multiple weddings, I am no stranger to the amount of planning, forethought, consideration, dialogue, and compromise that go into planning for one day.
But think about it: Does a similar amount of forethought, consideration, and dialogue go into the day to day of marriage, month after month, year after year?
Part of that forethought, consideration, and dialogue is practicing chastity in marriage—not only being faithful to your partner physically, but treating them with a sacrificial love that places their needs above your own. Chastity continues even after entering the sacrament of Matrimony.
As Pope St. John Paul II reminds us, “Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.”
My best friend’s wedding revealed in a very stark way—be it the empty church except for parents, siblings, the best man and myself, homemade bouquets instead of pews lined with flowers, and pictures taken outside the church on our phones instead of a professional wedding photography session—the beauty of a wedding truly celebrated as a marriage, and not an expensive party.
What I am advocating for is a return to extravagant effort that doesn’t end once “the day,” has occurred, but an extravagant effort that is followed into marriage, one that makes the marriage the centerpiece, not an afterthought. A daily choice, to love, to serve, to sacrifice, even when it isn’t easy, because that is what love is.
[Photograph: John Starrett Photo]
Rachel del Guidice is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and currently works in Washington, D.C. as a reporter and executive producer & cohost of a daily podcast. She enjoys quality time with friends and family, hiking, jet skiing, and eating ice cream. You can connect with her on Twitter at @LRacheldG and Instagram at rachellauren9412.