Everyone loves of good wedding. All the pomp and ceremony, the anticipation and grandeur. But mostly I think it’s about the joy ignited by the hope of a glorious future. Somehow, in the midst of unbridled celebration, dreadful marital statistics are forgotten, and a bright and prosperous future for the new couple is envisioned by all. And so it should be. It’s what we all want for the newlyweds, and it reminds us of what we want for ourselves. In a magical way, this celebration of love and promise stirs something deep and meaningful in even the most cynical. Seeing the young couple believing so intensely in their future, creates an irresistible urge to hope in spite of what we have seen happen to so many marriages, and in many cases experienced personally.

For me, the topic of engagement and weddings became especially personal this spring as my son and his girlfriend got engaged. Of course, we are thrilled. Congratulations, Tim & Samantha! We envision a bright and prosperous future for you. It’s going to be a lot of fun to plan a fall wedding. The joy will be in anticipating, and preparing for the perfect day. For you it’ll be about the future you envision; for us it will be a reminder of what we want for ourselves. I think that’s what makes weddings really special. The ceremony, and all the pomp & celebration that goes with it, defies statistics. Every time a bride adorns herself in a wedding dress, and a groom stands up to meet her at the end of the aisle they are making a statement. “Our love is true, and our future is secure. We will not only survive, but our relationship with flourish!”

But I am a marriage therapist so, seeing couples whose dream has been tarnished and who are sometimes, on a daily basis struggling to just survive, I can’t help but wonder, “How can any couple really be certain their dream will be realized?” Call it an occupational hazard. Given that barely half are managing to avoid divorce let alone achieve their lofty dreams, what is it the fortunate few are doing to garner success? Is it luck? Chemistry? Destiny? Not from what I’ve seen. While there is no one silver bullet that can ensure marital bliss, there is one thing a marriage cannot do without. And no, I’m not talking about “True Love” as seen between Wesley and Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride. It’s much more down to earth than that. In a word, it’s friendship. It’s easily seen in a newly engaged couple. It’s in the way they look at each other, talk to each other and are clearly comfortable together. It’s not easily defined, but their friendship is unmistakable. They treat each other with a deep fondness and to see them interact stirs even the most skeptical onlooker with hope and joy.

I don’t know where you are at in your relationship. Perhaps you are filled with a positive perspective and hope for the future. On the other hand, you may be just hanging on, and the glory of a wedding seems like nothing more than a distant shadow. There is something to be said for hope. I consider myself to be among those fortunate enough to be in an extremely happy marriage, but I must say, having an engaged couple hanging around has given me a renewed outlook. Thanks, Tim & Sam, for reminding me that love is new, fresh and beautiful. Thanks for reminding me “to do things we did at first.” (Revelation 2:5) I hope you have a blast planning your wedding and thoroughly enjoy your day!

If you get a chance, I suggest you find an engaged or newlywed couple in love and watch them. See how they believe. See how they are with each other. Then do the things that they do. Allow yourself to be inspired to love once again. For more ideas on how to enrich your friendship check my one the articles on my site.

Couples Workshop
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