Counting the Days Until Marriage, Not the Wedding


Marcus Hansson

The countdown to the biggest day of my life flashes prominently on my carefully-crafted wedding website and my thorough Knot.com profile, quantifying just how much time I have left before my CatholicMatch boyfriend turned CatholicMatch finance becomes my husband.

Even though there is a lot of time before our big day, the how-to books and online guides have almost convinced me that time is running out before the save the dates have even hit the post office. The wedding world that I am now immersed in might as well just plainly say that each hour, each minute and each second not spent obsessing over table linens, first dances and my honeymoon packing list are wasted.

The element of time drives every vendor meeting as we count backward from our wedding date, but even the questions from my friends and family suggest that the clock is ticking.

When is your wedding again?

How many days?

Stressed yet?

The countdown to my wedding has already begun.

Like most brides, I have years of hopes and dreams bundled into a delightful feeling of anticipation for my wedding day. I joined CatholicMatch like many of you did – unsure and skeptical, with a small dose of hope – and the fact that I can even write about my experience as an engaged woman is an answered prayer. An Autumn wedding may not be logistically perfect, but I will walk down the aisle and recite ancient vows  in front of God to the faithful man whose last name will become my own.

It’s not a fairy tale. It’s real life and a blessing from God that I am just beginning to comprehend.

I find it interesting that the majority of people ask, “When are you getting married?” It’s as if everyone is asking me when I will don a beautiful white gown, carry a bouquet and become a bride. I give them the date, but it’s not just the day I become a bride – it’s the day that I become a wife.

I will say “I do” and forever join myself to another in the sacrament of marriage. “Two will become one,” and I will no longer live for just me. I will die to myself every day and selflessly love my spouse more than anyone else.

I’ve already spent hundreds of hours preparing for my wedding day from the Mass to the dinner to the dance, but when the final guests retreat to their hotel rooms after a night of dancing, I will no longer be a bride. I will be a wife.

As Catholics, we know that a wedding is not just a big party. It’s a holy sacrament and as our priest recently pointed out in a marriage prep session, it’s the only sacrament that we as lay people completely control. While a priest is present as a witness and a symbol of God, the priest does not marry us. We marry each other as we recite our vows. How cool is that?

Unfortunately, we know that in our wedding-obsessed culture, the focus is much less on the sacrament and much more on the show. I’ve read stories about brides that became so consumed with their wedding plans that they experienced “wedding blues” following their nuptials. One wedding planner summed it up by saying:

“You always had something to do, decisions to make, places to be, people to not only spend time with, but who were desperately trying to assist your every whim. And now it’s over…Whether you choose to admit it or not, wedding planning became your pastime.”

In the  days before my wedding, I may do my fair share of wedding planning, but my only true “pastime” will be preparing for the commitment I will make and live out every day after that. The countdown is not just for that day – it’s for a lifetime together. No wedding planner or Pinterest board can prepare us for that. Only prayer, thoughtful conversation and a commitment to our core beliefs will carry us to the altar.

So perhaps my countdown has been off all along. Maybe my master wedding timeline should point to the day after my wedding, the day after the party has ended and my new life as a married woman begins.






3 Comments

  1. Ho K. March 25, 2014 Reply

    Congratulations. Indeed it is difficult sometimes not to be sucked into becoming Bridezilla and wanting everything to be perfect. Thank you for showing the way, that the mass is way more important than anything else. You and your fiance are well on your way to being a sign for others :)

  2. Alma-953915 March 25, 2014 Reply

    Congratulations and thank you for the article. It gives hope to those of us who are feeling like the site isn’t working out for us. May the Lord continue to bless you and your fiancé as you step into the beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony together, with God at the center.

  3. Luz-1055440 March 26, 2014 Reply

    “When are you getting married?” means exactly what it says, except maybe for the merchants. If I ask my friend who is not having a wedding party the question, it means what it literally says. I think most friends (even single nonCatholics) know it is a change in your life, not a show? Needless to say, a devout Catholic knows it is a vocational call to carry your cross and help your spouse carry it, and assuming God blesses you both with children, to teach them about the cross and true love just like yours.

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