Three days ago, I attended a Catholic wedding in Manhattan, Kansas. My boyfriend and I drove an hour and a half to support one of my dearest friends on the biggest day of her life. On this crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon, she stood on the altar in a sparkly white dress, recited a vow and exchanged rings with the man she loved. It was at that moment she became eternally united as one with her new husband in the eyes of God.
After receiving word of her engagement in March 2016, I spent the next 10 months hearing tidbits of wedding planning. I witnessed her excitement blossom into pure joy as she quickly started checking things off her wedding to-do list: participating in marriage prep, booking the church and reception venue, buying the dress, choosing the wedding party, sending out invitations, meeting the wedding photographer, creating the registry and so on. As the countdown neared zero, I could tell how ready she was to enter into this beautiful sacrament with her soulmate.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Mignon McLaughlin 💍
Their wedding day symbolized just one of the milestones they would experience as a couple, and it was a milestone that I was blessed to witness in person. I had watched their love story unfold for the past year and a half. I remember her telling me about their first few dates, when they met each other’s families and about his love for God. Knowing how their genuine love for each other had formed and deepened made sitting in that church pew all the more special. Even though I wasn’t the one getting married, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I watched them walk hand-in-hand down the aisle.
As wonderful as this occasion was, it is still difficult to fully grasp that one of my best friends is now married at the young age of 21. I, myself, just turned 23, and I can’t even fathom entering into that sacrament at this point in my life. I have enough self-awareness to know that I am not mentally, spiritually or emotionally prepared. But truthfully that’s the most astonishing thing about this woman – for a 21 year old she has more wisdom, love and strength than most. So if anyone is ready for all the hills and valleys that marriage encompasses, it’s her.