Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire…Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.
— Lord Bishop of London Richard Chatrres
From thousands of miles away, I cried as Kate Middleton’s father clutched her hand as he let her go into the world as Prince William’s royal bride and soon-to-be wife.
Michael Middleton was shaking. It could have been due to nervousness. Yet I couldn’t stop staring at their grasped hands throughout the service. It kept me in tears.
Those two intertwined hands, father and daughter, was the tenderest display of love I witnessed in the entire telecast – even beating the double kiss from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
What is it that elicits such emotion from the masses?
We watch in millions, gasping like schoolgirls swooning over Justin Timberlake at the television from thousands and thousands of miles away. We’re teary-eyed on the edge of our seats because we believe in love. We collectively believe in the power of fairy tales.
But the reality of it all, as I’m sure we’ve learned, is that fairy tales are myths. They don’t exist.
Even for Kate and William, the wedding was a celebration of their already decade-long courtship, which was full of ups and downs (including a breakup in 2007), compromises and resistance (especially on the part of Middleton who seemed to always keep her eye on the prize).
It takes hard work and compromise and commitment to turn love into matrimony and ultimately into a lasting, thriving partnership. The pomp and circumstance, the gowns and carriages, the guests and hymns, are a beautiful beginning and the relationship is where the real happily-ever-after lives.
“In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation,” Lord Bishop of London Richard Chatrres preached during his sermon at the royal wedding, “making a new life together so that life can flow through them to the future.”
A wedding, for the royal and commoner alike, no matter how extravagant or intimate, is merely a party. A marriage, on the other hand, is what comes after the gown is stored away and the guests depart.
We attend and watch these weddings to celebrate marriage, to celebrate two people embarking on that great leap into matrimony and building a life together. We’re captivated because we believe.