The idea of marrying yourself sounds ridiculous, but as I read on through this story, it became clear that Grace Gelder was attempting to address issues that we all deal with.
The self-wedding wasn’t about narcissism but about someone who doesn’t want to drift through life. Someone who wants to make decisions and stick with them. It’s not about cutting off the chance of a relationship with anyone else but about making promises to herself about how she is going to live and then living consistently with that. Indeed, Gelder says that since the wedding she feels more clarity when evaluating decisions. We would all like that, but why bother with the “marriage” then? Because, she says, “a self-marriage ceremony witnessed by other people would potentially be this massively powerful means of making those agreements stick.”
And that’s the problem.
She wants the ceremony as a way of adding more weight to her decisions and goals, more motivation to keep them. But problems with making promises “stick” isn’t a motivation issue, it’s a heart issue.
“what the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies” Thomas Cramner
We make decisions, resolutions or promises to ourselves or anybody else and then end up breaking them because our heart’s desire was for something else. Gelder wants to take more risks in love, but when it comes to it, if her heart craves safety, that will win the battle overall.
Isn’t this what we often do as Christians? Make big promises to God. Get worked up, feel really serious about it this time. Do it public, at the front, multiple times, to make it stick?
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.(2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)
Enter Jesus. The answer to all of God’s promises. God made a promise of love to his people and kept it, despite all our actions deserving the opposite. He has promised never to forsake us. How is that possible? Because Jesus was forsaken. He has promised that we will be with him for eternity. How is that possible? Because Jesus conquered the grave and came back to life.
Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we become more like him, more able to keep promises, not because we are better people but because our hearts are being transformed to be more like him. Our desires become his desires. We are united with him. We don’t need more pressure (because it’s public) to keep our promises, we need to know that he loves us despite all our broken promises. We need to know that we are accepted, not on our ability to follow through on our good intentions, but because Jesus has kept all his promises to us and will never ever break them.
In Jesus, they all stick.