Have you ever heard people debating the “unity candle” part of a wedding?
The debate seems to hinge on the question of whether to blow out the two individual candle (implying, I think, the extinguishing of self in the creation of the new “us”), or leaving them lit (letting the individual continue to exist along with the new entity of “us”).
~ ~ ~
At my wedding I received so many admonitions, cards, and printed sentiments warning me not to “lose my individuality” in this marriage, that I was rather shocked. Did people really think I could stop being who I am?
Last fall I thought of these as I wrote the card that was to go with a wedding present. I didn’t keep the words for me, but it went something like this:
Dear [Bride and Groom],
I am so delighted for you and your new life together. Marriage is so wonderful, and I hope you love it.
You may be getting all sorts of warnings and advice about “guarding your individuality” as you transition into this life-sharing that is marriage.
I would urge you to ignore it. You both have had more than 25 years experience doing that. It is your default, instinctual response to any situation. I truly believe your relationship and future will be better served by cultivating and guarding your “oneness.”…
I don’t know about you other wives out there, but in nearly seven years together I’ve become more like my husband, and that is a good thing.
For our first dance, Jay and I danced a very fast four-count swing (I don’t know anybody normal who’s heard of this outside of AK) to the song, We Rejoice in the Grace of God. Jay was very good, and even surprised me by posturing for the applause.
We learned this type of swing dancing before we were engaged, with one of my (eventual) bridesmaids. Apparently his family didn’t know he could dance. One uncle went to my mom and said, “She does good things for him!” Mom said, I imagine very seriously, “It goes both ways.”
God makes each soul unique. If he had no use for all these differences I do not see why he should have created more souls than one.
The Bible reminds us we were created in the image of God. That’s my theory as to why there are so many of us– to show more facets of our creator than any of us could display individually.
For this reason I don’t believe God is calling us to disappear into a blob of non-identity. But neither do I feel that is so much a possibility that it needs to be specifically guarded against.
Our tendency is so much more to jealously guard our rights, when we are told that true love is laying down our lives for one another.
We didn’t do a unity candle at my wedding, since we didn’t want to deal with the many guests’ interpretations of an unexplained symbolic act. If we were to do it now, I think we would both blow out our candles.