I’ve been playing some weddings recently, Christian ones. Depending on who you are and what the service is like, Christian weddings can either be intensely beautiful or oppressive. The wedding I played yesterday was beautiful. A sister of a friend of mine was the bride, and the service was more of a worship service than anything else. I played with a cellist, pianist, and percussionist on a cajón, all very talented musicians and very fun to play with. The music was featured fairly prominently throughout the wedding, but the focus wasn’t on us as it sometimes is. We played hymns and newer worship songs that were important to the bride and groom. I felt freer as a musician because technical perfection was not the goal. At the heart of the service was two people and their families and friends saying “thank you” for the gift of love in their lives.
The part that can be oppressive for some people is the language of submission. You are probably familiar with the passage from Ephesians 5: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Paul continues to challenge husbands to love their wives as Christ sacrificially loves the church. I’m not an expert by any means, but it seems both charges are very difficult. The overall theme of the passage is the profound love at the center of marriage. It demands self-sacrifice of husband and wife, which appears to me to be submission in itself.