"Betrothal," quotes St. Thomas Aquinas, "is annexed to wedding vows as exorcism is to Baptism."
This pretty much captures it. Seating charts and catering contracts aside, the most profoundly unsettling aspect of wedding planning and preparation has been the incredible purgation which has taken place - and continues to function - in my grimy, single soul.
I'm no saint, but I didn't think I was quite the sinner I've turned out to be. What I mean by that, all self-deprecation aside, is that I've become more aware of my brokenness ... of my profound need for ongoing conversion, and of my utter inability to save myself - or my future spouse.
And I'm grateful.
I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, really, and I know our wedding day will be sweeter for the tears shed and the trials withstood, but it's really something to have the past come crashing into the present, suddenly actualizing that prophetic verse from Proverbs 31: "She does him good and not harm all the days of her life."
That's a lot of days. And the overwhelming majority of them were spent in solitude, vocationally speaking. And largely spent in selfishness, even in small ways.
What has become most surprising in these past few months have been the moments where I don't insist upon my own way, where I'm willing to flex, where I haven't established a lifelong pattern of sin - or at least laziness. These times, the moments I'm willing to "give," are actually not moments of unselfishness, but are rather just things that are easier for me to relinquish control of. It isn't authentic altruism that allows me to abdicate the choice of restaurant or the
song list for the reception or the brand of kitchen appliances for which we register... it's apathy. If it doesn't matter too much to me, I'm willing to go with the flow.
But if it does... watch out.
I'm beginning to see that willpower - or lack thereof - had a lot to do with what went wrong in the Garden and is going to have a whole lot to do with those areas of marital union most challenging to the independent-minded, strongly-opinionated single lifestyle I've spent the past 26 years perfecting.
Thank God for sacramental graces, right? I'm looking forward to receiving a double portion of them at the altar, and I'm doing my best to avail myself of those ways in which He is seeking to conform my will to His... to ours. It's transformative. And it's the best workout plan I've ever followed. Can't wait for the bit game.