Once I was at dinner with a coworker when she asked me, “Aren’t Catholics supposed to get married in a church?”
“Well, yes,” I said, wondering where this was going.
“Well, my husband is Catholic and we didn’t get married in a church,” she complained.
“Your husband is Catholic?!” I said. I remembered that she’d married a foreigner, but this was news.
As it turned out, he wasn’t a practicing Catholic, and my coworker was disappointed that they’d just picked up a marriage license and that was it.
I couldn’t blame her for being disappointed. Even before I returned to the Church, one of my pet peeves was the modern man who just can’t be bothered to get married.
I dated one once, back when I was young and stupid. He didn’t see any reason why people had to promise to stay together forever. Like, what if they got sick of each other? Why not just share their lives for as long as they felt like it?
At the time, I found his way of thinking really creepy and repulsive, but I couldn’t articulate why. There is just absolutely no thrill in being told, “I love you . . . for now.” Instinctively, I knew it was a lie. Love had to be forever or it wasn’t love.
However, as obvious as that seemed to me, I learned that I couldn’t take it for granted that men would think the same way.
Until I returned to the Church, and all of a sudden everyone was on the same page again. Marriage was a sacrament in which the spouses promised before God to love each other until death. Love even had a definition; it was “willing the good of the other.” That’s right, love meant acting for the good of the other person, for the rest of your lives. Now compare that to, “Let’s not make a commitment to each other in case we get sick of each other,” and you tell me which is more romantic!
Japanese women may not understand the theology behind it, but they sense the romance in a Church wedding. In fact, many of them choose to get married in fake churches wearing Western-style wedding dresses with the vows read by a foreign man.
Literally, any foreign man will do.
I can’t say I blame them for trying to copy Church weddings–they sound pretty awesome. Only, I’m not quite sure they’ve identified the secret ingredient.