Monday, April 23, 2007

weddings part 2

Well the wedding is over, but the marriage has just begun…day 2. It’s gotten off to a good start anyway. I mean, how hard could it be? They’re spending a week in Disneyworld. I guess that you might be able to argue about which monorail car to sit in or how many times to ride Space Mountain. I don’t think that they will. My prayer for the newlyweds is that they’ll get to spend this week on nothing but imagination and fun, before coming back to the sobering reality of jobs, rent, school, groceries and all that they rest of us wrestle with. It was a beautiful ceremony. I mean really….how many times have you heard about bad ones? Especially if you are intimately connected to it. I would guess that it would be about as many times as you’ve heard a new parent admit that their child is rather alien like, or about as many times as you’ve heard some real honesty at the funeral of someone who had lived a rather abrasive existence. I’ll tell you that it was a beautiful ceremony and a thoroughly enjoyable reception and you’ll have to take me at my word. I really am a pastor after all.
I’m taking a breather from it all this morning in my second home by the beach. I’m not sure what I have to take a breather about. I was the father of the groom. It’s a pretty low key place to be in the whole scheme of wedding logistics. Some well meaning guest even felt led to share with me that in his opinion, there wasn’t a more useless position to be in than the father of the groom. It’s a good thing that developing a better self esteem wasn’t on my “to do” list that day. That fine piece of encouragement came from someone who only had daughters. I smiled and nodded, because, at that moment, I was too physically tired to chase him down the hall and too mentally tired to engage him in a battle of wits. It has occurred to me though, with the help of a familiar place and a caffeine buzz, that I didn’t have such an insignificant role as I had been led to believe.
The thought has entered into my realm of consciousness that I may have not had such a significant role in the wedding, but I certainly have one in the marriage. I would say that in the whole scheme of things, for the most part, marriages last longer than weddings. I know that it’s not always the case, but for the most part they do. I should know. I’ve been part of many wedding ceremonies, including my own. I personally believe that if we would just give half the attention to our marriages that we give to our weddings, then the statistics would begin to reverse themselves. Anyway, back to my point and reason for self esteem. I have a direct role in the success of the marriage, regardless of the wedding. Fathers of the groom have a tremendous role that many of us have never realized. Just ask yourself this question. Where does the groom learn what it means to be a good husband? Where did my son learn habits of how to love, care for, and take care of his new wife? Excuse me….that would be ….ME! In the ceremony he made vows to honor and cherish her. How would he even be able to picture that if not for….ME ! It seems as though I might not be as worthless as I might appear.
I’ve been involved with plenty of weddings and even more marriages in my pastoral arts profession. I’ve seen the difficult hurdles placed before the masses of men seeking marriage by the previous generation of self serving and less than manly men who were influenced by their previous generation, who were influenced by their previous generation. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not talking about a level of masculinity or being sexist, our chauvinist, or any other kind of “-ist”. I’m just telling you, not merely suggesting…I’m telling you that men, fathers, husbands, sons have a role to play in the success of the family system. Many of my kind have jettisoned that role like a space shuttle fuel tank. In the seminars that I lead on anything to do with the family, whether it be parenting or marital in nature, the men are noticeably absent. I hear all kinds of excuses and every one of them has been a load of crap. There are no excuses for not being what you were meant to be. In the old half of the “Book of Books” it is declared that the sins of the father will be visited upon their children up to (and beyond) three generations. You may not give much weight to The Book, but you ought to because I’ve seen it.
It pains me that we mourn the losses splashed across the front pages across our land, but refuse to acknowledge that we are mostly just reaping what we’ve sown. (Again, from The Book). I have a choice. Fathers have a choice whether they are fathers of the bride or most assuredly if they are fathers of the groom. We can choose to accept the “worthless” label that culture has thrust upon us. We can choose to be minimized. We can choose to sit on the sidelines and wait to be featured on some ESPN clip of “parents gone bad”. We can choose to be absent, or busy, or distant, and use the “supporting my family” excuse for it. We can say “You don’t understand”, or “ I didn’t have a choice” or “I’m only doing this for you”. We can also choose to stand and deliver. We can learn to be good husbands with the help of or even despite our own influences. We can choose to love, honor, and cherish. We can hold to our vows. We can be a good model and foundation for all of the future generations of men to come. I want to leave this one thing to all of the future “fathers of the grooms’ yet to come. Don’t believe, even for one minute, that you are worthless. The fathers of the brides will invest heavily in the future weddings, but you are needed to invest heavily in the future marriages.

1 comment:

Alexis said...

Hi Dan,

What a great post.