I became a father on June 26, 1993, when our oldest daughter was born. At every wedding I have attended since that day, I have waited to hear a preacher ask, “Who gives this bride?” It is my favorite part of most weddings. I cherish the relationship I have been blessed to have with Jordyn and Aly. I have imagined my answer, but way back then, it seemed so far away. It is not far away anymore. As I am writing this, I am five days from having to choke out an answer. My daughter is also days away from early marriage.
“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegrooms voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” – John 3:29
The Day is Coming
Our oldest daughter was around 15 years old when she told me what she wanted me to say, “She gives herself, her family agrees.” She made me practice it even though she was nowhere near being engaged. Both of our daughters have always been a bit direct. I look back on the times she made me practice as priceless since I never got the chance to take that walk with her.
As for my answer to that question with Aly, I am still working on it. The man who will ask it is one of my best friends, and he has looked at Aly like a daughter since the day he met her. We will probably all three be standing there in tears, next to my wife, who will be in tears, next to Logan, who will be in tears, next to Lee, who will be in tears. You get the picture. It may be tough to talk. Aly told me my most important job is to figure out what to say on our way down the aisle.
My wife and I talked today about the fact that it is an emotional ride this week. It is not sad, but it feels like joy, wonder, and anticipation all rolled into a thankfulness bomb. I think it must be like this when we meet Jesus. Nothing to add, just raw emotion. I have been praying for God to slow down time so we can remember everything. It is going so fast.
1 Piece of Advice for Early Marriage
I have been thinking today about what possible advice I could give this young couple. I came up with this, “Keep record of rights.” The bible tells us what love is: “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV. It is this concept of keeping no record of wrongs that more people should consider. This verse does not tell us that there will not be wrongs. There are plenty of potential mistakes if you want to count them. Instead, it tells you not to keep a record of them.
What I would rather see Logan and Aly do is keep a record of right. Love each other, their first house, first teaching job, growth, patience, support, friends, laughter, challenges faced, family, new traditions, summer, the sun, the Son, kids (all ten of them)… you get the picture. There are plenty of things right to go around if you want to keep a record of them.
Keeping track of the right also makes for a bit more patience when things are not perfect, and things will never be perfect. My wife knows she is a priority to me from 30 years of marriage. That knowledge is helpful when I am acting like a dumb old donkey. Relationships overall have more traction when you know the other person loves you. If you keep the good in mind, you can sort of crowd out things to complain about in your life. Your perspective is better.
Why is it the the father have to give the bride away? What does the husbands family have to do, nothing?
Both my sons are married and I was able to take part in the ceremony as I stood as a groomsman in both of their weddings. But if you don’t stand, there are different ways you can take part. Opening prayer, speech, throw a party, pay for the vacation, buy some furniture for their apartment or house etc. Then again, just ask both the bride and groom if you can be more involved in the wedding. You’d be surprised how much your future daughter-in-law wants that.
My understanding of this tradition is that a daughter is under the ‘covering’ of her father – his provision, protection, love, leadership, discipline, etc – until that mantle of responsibility is passed on to her husband at the wedding. Now her husband takes on that role with its attendant responsibilities. See Ruth seeking to be covered in marriage by Boaz in the Bible.
The husbands’ family, especially his father, should have already done the ‘work’ of preparing the son for the responsibilities of marriage.
This seems lost in our ‘modern age;’ I know that I sure didn’t know any of it. God is good in fathering us even in our deficits.