If you’re questioning the value of marriage, let this wedding at the Elysium Hotel change your mind. Far from being a dying tradition, marriage is keeping love alive in our hectic modern world.
In this day and age, we’re inundated with cynical statistics and opinions regarding marriage; it’s expensive, claim the naysayers. It’s stressful to plan. Sometimes, marriages end. “Why then,” ask so many young people, “Do we still get married at all?”
Lost in this jaded rhetoric, too many of us lose sight of the meaning of marriage. Marriage is so much more than just a ceremony and a legal contract between you and your partner. It’s about more than a dress, a suit, and a church; it’s even about more than the many beautiful memories you will preserve with your wedding photographs.
Take, for example, this wedding at the Elysium Hotel here in Paphos, Cyprus. Even though I didn’t know a great deal about Barbora and Omar when I met them—only that he is from Morocco, she is from Slovakia, and they both now live in Dubai—as I photographed their wedding, I knew I was watching the true magic of marriage in action. As Omar strode through the door of the reception hall holding Barbora in his arms, as is the tradition in Slovakia, I was reminded that marriage is not just about binding two people, it’s about binding together cultural traditions in a way that has united whole civilizations.
When, together with their friends from around the world, the happy couple toasted with slivovika (a traditional European drink that has been imbibed at celebrations since the Middle Ages), I saw that marriage is a moment when the past is linked with the present, creating a thread of blessed continuity within the human spirit.
As everyone celebrated merrily together despite the pouring rain that broke out, I was reminded that marriage is an act of triumph over adversity.
Above all, I was reminded that marriage is about commitment: To one other, and to God. It forms a concrete bond, represented by solid golden rings that mark you and your partner as belonging to one another, and this symbolism cannot be underestimated. It is a reminder that, no matter how tough your lives get, there is something immutable, reliable, and brilliant between you—something that is always worth keeping.
It’s easier than ever to end an unmarried relationship; in our modern world, it’s often done with a simple text message, or a social media post. In this digital age, the ways we communicate with one another have grown more rushed and more ephemeral than at any other time in history. Making deep connections has become incredibly challenging, and ending a friendship or relationship can be done without uttering so much as a spoken word. This is why we need marriage, today more than ever before: It’s one of the last bastions of genuine, heartfelt, and lasting human love.
As author Timothy Keller so aptly put it, “When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him-or-herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Marriage is, at its very essence, a reminder that there is something “more” out there: A higher truth to strive for and an anchor in the hectic chaos around us. No matter how much things change, love remains everlasting.