Last week was a great week for weddings! A royal wedding on Friday at Westminster Abbey followed on Saturday by a quieter, but just as regal one; the wedding of my friends Anna Platte and George Pantazakos at St. Andrews Orthodox Church in Lexington, KY.
I am thrilled to hear of weddings again. I was concerned when the Pew Research Center issued a report in November 2010 on the Decline of Marriage. In 1960, 72% of U.S. adults were married; now it is only 52%. In 1978, 28% said that marriage is becoming obsolete; that is up to 39% in 2008.
So, what is reality? Reality for me was sitting in a packed church watching Anna and George participate in the Sacrament of Marriage uniting them as one. The meaning of the Orthodox marriage ceremony was beautiful, “the joining together is a special act invoked by the Holy Spirit and not by the strength of the individual’s spoken commitment; therefore the bride and groom do not present verbalized vows. Their union is blessed by Christ through the Church. God’s grace is imparted to them to live together in his love, mutually fulfilling and protecting each other.”
Maybe that is the difference. Some marriages are entered into today out of loneliness or ambivalence. As soon as the rough parts hit, those marriages become divorces.
But marriages invoked by the Holy Spirit are designed to last forever.
Can the beauty of a lifelong commitment to another person and the joining together of two bodies and souls as one really be “obsolete”? We long for “forever”, but we’ve become cynical that it can really happen to us.
The good news is that it is not just a utopian dream from our youth. The parting words of the Celebrant as he addressed Anna and George still ring clearly, “If you will allow Christ to be the Head of the Household, your union will forever stay strong.”
Kate and Prince William, Anna and George Pantazakos.
Here are four people that don’t think marriage is obsolete.
Neither do I.
Blessings, my friend,