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Okay, I admit it.
I was watching "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" on TLC the other day. I didn't just stumble upon it and move along.
I actually stopped.
And watched it.
That TLC -- what a menagerie that thing is. The Learning Channel. Every time I learn how little I apparently know. Just little ol' me. Sheltered in the breadbasket of America.
TLC is like the flea market of television programming. Occassionally, you find a rare gem, but so much of the line-up is like standing on the sidelines of human nature gone awry.
I'm not judging, mind you.
I'm just completely fascinated when people are willing to invite the world to gaze upon their addiction or their obsession or their subculture or their daily life. Or, as in the case of "A Baby Story," gaze upon them giving birth.
Anyway, back to the gypsies and their weddings.
Apparently to gypsies, the wedding is an enormously big deal, literally and figuratively. Each bride is fixated on trying to outshine other brides. It's all about who has the most elaborate dress. The most outlandish cake. The zaniest reception.
One of the gals on the show -- a teen assistant to a baker working on a cake shaped like a gigantic castle -- summed up the importance of the wedding in gypsy culture.
A girl is "known by her wedding," she said.
Known by her wedding. Hmmm. Now there's something to wrap our minds around.
I've been to some pretty amazing weddings and receptions in my day.
I've seen the butterflies released. The party favors of CDs with the couple's favorite songs. The elaborate cupcake arrangements. The 16 attendants. The bubbles. The photo booths with all the wacky scarves, hats and props. The custom-printed M&Ms. The kids' table with fun little games. The country line dances. The chicken dance. The congo lines. The ice sculptures. The sand ceremony.
A gamut of visuals are running through your mind, I'm sure. You've been to a few weddings in your day, too, haven't you?
It's like the TLC folks and the wedding industry folks occasionally get together over a case of beer and pull an all-nighter brainstorming session on the most bizarre things they can market into mainstream trends.
Known by the wedding.
I absolutely loved our wedding, but I'll be honest. I have forgotten most of it.
Oh, it was a great night and all. I looked amazing. Really.
And the food? Over-the-top delicious. And I went with the real flowers instead of fake (although nowadays, fake look just like real, so maybe I did go with fake. Hard to recall.) My cake? Tasty, though painfully boring considering I now know I could have asked for a castle.
Think for a moment about your wedding.
Now think for a moment about your marriage.
Which do you want to be known by?
Which has left a more lasting impression on those around you?
For that matter, which has left a more lasting impression on you?
Call me a one flesh fanatic, but I find it heartbreakingly tragic that anyone would want to be "known by their wedding."
And if indeed we agree that "known by the marriage" is a worthier endeavor, do the specifics of what we know make us grateful or make us cringe?
Known by the marriage.
What would your children say?
What would your closest friends say?
What would your family members say?
More importantly, what would you say?
I'm not talking about appearances or putting on a front. Far from it.
If anything, when I think of being known by my marriage, my desire is that Randy and I would be known for our deep abiding friendship...
...our unwavering commitment, our ability to laugh with each other, our willingness to forgive one another, our public display of affection (appropriate of course!), our willingness to sort through the messiness and difficulty of life...
...our faith in the Lord and the covenant of marriage...
...and our respect and encouragement of each other.
Oh, and the sex. I wouldn't mind being known for the significance and consistent nurturing we place on our sexual intimacy.
Are you known for your wedding or for your marriage?
If TLC stopped by to do a show about your life, my hope is your first inclination would be to reach for your husband's hand.
Rather than your wedding album.
Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.