In preparation for the wedding they filled out an on-line survey designed by psychologists to help an engaged couple reflect upon various aspects of their life together: personality and communication style, finances, spiritual values, how they relate to family and friends etc.
Once the survey is completed I receive a summary which serves as a take off point for conversation. In the past 15 years I’ve used this tool with approx. 150 couples.
The summary includes a category called ‘idealistic distortion’. This measures how realistic the couple are in recognizing the challenges that come with married life. With 50% of marriages in the USA ending in divorce, the idea is to help couples manage the inevitable challenges that come.
Most young couples tend to have a relatively high rate of idealistic distortion, in other words a sense that their love will never fade. Older couples that I meet with, often married previously, bring in a higher level of awareness that life gets complicated.
This evening I will stand with Chris and Laura on a peninsula looking out to sea. We will gather as family and friends as we offer our blessing and ask God’s grace to uphold and accompany them throughout their life together.
As we do so, our ‘idealistic distortion’ as family and friends will be high. We will choose to be idealistic, choose to be hopeful, even as we know (from our own life and marriages), how complicated and challenging life can and be.
We will have great hope for Laura and Chris, because we know (and they know), that they are not setting on their life alone. Their marriage will be accompanied by the love, support and prayers of many.
One thing I say to each couple before I pronounce them married, is this: “Today you have made a life-long commitment to one another. But this is more than a two-way partnership. You are acknowledging your openness to the accompaniment of God, who is the source of all that is good, lasting and true…that which we call love.’
This evening our idealism level will be high. Because we know that Chris and Laura won’t journey alone. This is very good news.