The Wedding Dance
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

Of Marriage
Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
- Kahlil Gibran. The Prophet

This Lebanese poet (1883-1931) describes the tension of individuality and togetherness in marriage. There are instances in a dance when the partners are seen in their uniqueness and their individuality. There are also moments when they express themselves as one, no longer individual dancers but partners in the dance. If the dancers perform excellently, we don’t even see the dancers anymore. Rather we see the dance.

Action starter: Successful marriages do not just happen. They are made to happen.

In most Filipino wedding parties, the newly married couple is asked to dance. It is the time when friends, relatives, and wedding sponsors pin money on either of the couple. A good emcee encourages wedding guests to make their contributions. At the end of the dance the money is collected and given to the couple to start them off in their married life. A beautiful custom. I see this wedding dance as an image of the couple’s wedded relationship.

Marriage is when two different people decide to become partners in the dance of life. There may be awkward steps at the start but if the couple perseveres they begin to master the blending of uniqueness and partnership. Then we see not just individual persons or partners, we see love. Love in marriage is an ideal that is achievable. We only have to look around us. There are no lack of witnesses to the beauty of married love.

Whenever I conduct a wedding ceremony. I ask the bride and groom if they have some models of people who are happily married. Are they aspiring to join the ranks of many of our high profile movie actors and actresses who change partners every so often? Or are they aspiring to become like many couples around them who stay faithful to their covenant.

Whatever is our craft, hobby, or artistic preoccupation, we aspire towards an ideal. So it is with the art of loving in marriage. The couple does not aspire to separate. The couple aspires for the ideal union as expressed in this Sunday’s Gospel, “ They are no longer two therefore but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide. (Mk 10, 8-9)” Two different people become one.

Even as we aspire towards the ideal, we are also confronted with the reality of the human condition. Sin may be so embedded in a cultural setting so that one who works at loving faithfully meets strong resistance. Certainly in cultures where divorce is granted so easily, fidelity in marriage is an uphill climb. Given these situations, the teachings of Jesus about marriage should be upheld rather than watered down.

There are skilled dancers and poor dancers. The skilled ones may have talents and are working hard at perfecting their skills. Some may not be too talented but still they persevere at dancing. Sometimes dancers may stumble -- but the dance continues.