Our first wedding: some reflections, some pics

Posted on April 26, 2012


By Clarissa

We recently flew back to Seattle for a week to participate in my sister’s wedding.

This wedding was a first for us in more than one way: It was the first time that I took photographs for a wedding as the primary photographer AND it was the first time that John and I “officiated” a wedding.

When Rachel and Paul asked us to officiate, we were a bit befuddled and unsure of what to do or what it would look like for both John and I to take part in that way. And quite frankly we were humbled to be asked to take part in something so weighty and significant.

We were under no illusions that somehow a ceremony is the glue that binds a marriage together, but standing up there, asking Rachel and Paul to repeat their vows after us was surreal.

The whole thing got me to thinking about weddings and marriage and what they are in our culture. The Mystery of Marriage is a book that John and I read when we first got married, and unlike other marriage books, it is descriptive, not prescriptive. Being a much better writer than I, Mason is able to capture in words some of the experiences of marriage that have made the last nearly 4 years of marriage as sweet as they have been.

[Marriage] is one of God’s most powerful secret weapons for the revolutionizing of the human heart. It is a heavy concentrated barrage upon the place of our greatest weakness, which is our relationship with others. We cannot possibly, it is true, in any practical way maintain a commitment to every other person in the world: That is God’s business, not ours. But marriage involves us synecdochically [when a part is made to represent the whole] in this mystical activity of God’s by choosing for us just one person, one total stranger out of all the world’s billions, with whom to enter into the highest and deepest and farthest reaches of a sacrificial, loving relationship. (p. 54)

Marriage turns out to be through and through an act of acquiescence, a willing compliance, both with God and with one other person, in the difficult process of one’s own subdual and mortification. It cannot succeed without, first of all, a profound acceptance of the conditions of struggle, the state of personal siege, in which it must be lived out, and secondly, without an ever-growing realization that one’s own self cannot and must not emerge as the winner of this struggle. ‘He who is least among you,’ says Jesus, ‘he is the greatest’ (Luke 9:48) and marriage at its best is a sort of contest in what might be called ‘one-downmanship,’ a backwards tug of war between two wills equally determined not to win. That is really the only attitude that works in marriage because that is the way the Lord designed it. He planned it especially as a way for men and women to enter wholeheartedly, with full consent and consequent peace and joy, into the inevitable process of their own diminishment, which is His worship and glorification. (p. 151)

I love the metaphors for marriage that he gives: A secret weapon for revolutionizing the human heart and a backwards tug of war between two wills equally determined not to win. I have found over the past 4 years, that my joy in marriage is proportionate to my daily and hourly actually dying to myself and my own desires. No self-protection. No acting in my own interest or manipulating the situation to get what I want. And I will unequivocally say that I can only do this because I have confidence that there IS someone acting in my interest: God. In tending to the garden of my heart, however, this interest is usually manifested in uprooting the weed of selfishness that would otherwise grow unchecked. And I pray that same glorious gardening for Rachel and Paul.

Oh, and here are a few of the pics from the day!