It is amazing sometimes how television and fantasy distort our view of reality. Because we have seen it so many times acted out, most people think that there are things in the traditional wedding rite, that when you go to a wedding are not actually there.
For instance, the actual rite does not ask the congregation if there are any objections, nor is there an actual part where the bride and groom kiss. Some people may add these things into the service based on their visions of what they have saw Jesse and Becky do when they got married on Full House; or when Robert and Amy got married on Everybody Loves Raymond; but in reality, they just are not there.
But one other difference between television and reality is lesser known, and in many cases may even seem rather obscure. In our dreams and in sitcoms and soap operas, the bride and the groom always say ‘I do’.
And then you go to a wedding, and wonder what happened when the bride does not answer as to whether or not they will take this man to be her husband with an ‘I do’, but instead with ‘I will’; and the same with the groom when asked if he will take this woman to be his wife, he too answers ‘I will’.
You may be asking yourself what is the difference? Has the Church not seen the numerous weddings on soap operas and sitcoms and in the movies, where everyone says ‘I do’?
Now while either may in fact be a valid answer in the moment, and both would allow the wedding to continue, there is a difference between the two.
‘I do’ is a present tense answer; it is true in the moment, but it may not always be true tomorrow. To say ‘I do’ to the question of taking a spouse is to say, yes, I want this person to be my spouse today, but in the future, I may change my mind.
On the other hand, ‘I will’ is both present and future tense. It is true in the moment and it is true in the future. To say ‘I will’ is that you want to have and hold your beloved, and you will love them and care for them, not just today when all is well, but that you will also care for them and love them tomorrow, when life is hard.
We shudder to think of arranged marriages and how two people who have not thoroughly investigated the other can suddenly be married; but the reality is that marriage is not just about today when the photographer is recording the moment, marriage is also about how you live life tomorrow and each day going forward. ‘I do’ can be true at any moment, but not in every moment. ‘I will’ is true today, and it is true every day after that.
And when you say ‘I will’, it is all the more important that Christ is at the center of that marriage, for with love must also come forgiveness.