Saturday we attended a wedding. This happens to most people a variety of times during their lives. In this case it was for the son of a close friend and next door neighbor. He had finally met the one. It was a very nice Catholic wedding at our neighborhood Catholic Church. So far this is similar to many other church experiences.
The service had a few difficult (mainly for the wedding party) trials, and many standard but well done niceties including the only time I have see a small child being pulled down the aisle in a light blue wagon as part of the wedding party. It actually worked here.
What caught my eye was the reception. This too was much the standard type of reception with all the usual trimmings. One thing, however was quite rare and thought provoking. There was the standard MC calling for all married couples to enter the dance floor. We joined in. Couples, determined by the longevity of their marriages, were to leave the dance floor until the longest married couple stood alone. Standard fare! In this case, we knew before we started we would not the longest married couple.
The MC began to call out the number of years married. Five years, then ten, fifteen, twenty years married. Almost half the couples were gone by now. This still left about 15 or 20 couples. Some years ago at a wedding, my wife and I were the longest married at 38 years. This time the years went 25, 30 with still 9 or 10 couples left. Then he started with 32, 34, 36, and the MC asked if the mike was working. The MC seemed puzzled. Still 8 or 9 couples left. Then 38, 39, and 40 was announced. Now it was down to four couples. 41,42, 43, Now only two left. 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, then 49 years married and we bowed to the couple we knew would win. We will hit out 50th anniversery next January. The couple who won is married 55 years (and still dancing)!
Compare this wealth of long married couples with what one usually finds at most weddings nowadays. The chance for divorce is over 50% is our country. Not to mention the 2nd, 3rd, and so on subsequent weddings which are so common, not to mention those who have not bothered to marry.
One commercial on the radio mentions that the average homeowner or renter has fire insurance, although fires are not common. We have had only two in our life. This huckster then totes the benefits of a pre-nuptual agreement in the face of that 50% odds of divorce.
Today’s wedding has a far greater chance of survival than the average because of the lives lived by their parents and friends as the newly weds grew up (on both sides). A far greater chance is not an absolute guarantee, of course. In this case the newly weds are strong Christians reared among strong Christians. The Christians around them far outnumber those who have fallen away.
Another sign of the culture occurred in the dancing. I saw many fathers dance with their wives. I saw one father then leave his wife to teach his preteen daughter these dances. The look on her face was priceless. I saw a mother doing the same with her preteen son. A father teaching his son the ins and outs of photography before returning the dance floor. All this in the year of our Lord 2010, Michigan, USA.
This event was definitely out of the ordinary for us, and a real blessing. One other thing, though, has not changed. It is still hard to dance, even slowly, with rubber soled shoes on.