In the past few weeks I have attended two lovely weddings – one on Saturday just gone where H and S wed then celebrated with a cream tea – and one three weeks before that when J and C wed in a local church and enjoyed a reception in the hall where our church meets. I have known H and J for many years and it was lovely to see them so happy with their new grooms.
For H this was first time around, but J has been married once before. I wonder how many weddings you have said vows at? I have been married only once (so far…. lets see how this house renovation goes!!), but I have said vows at many weddings. How, you might ask? Well, a lot of weddings ask the congregation to join in the couple’s vows by asking something like “…and will you, their family and friends, support and uphold them in their marriage, now and in the years to come?”. And the congregation says “We will”. I have taken this vow at many weddings now, and I intend to keep it.
Recently I have noticed a series of TV adverts for “Cheeky Bingo” which are annoying me a great deal. Their premise is that a girl is being a bit cheeky as she has lied about something… for example “are you sure you didn’t eat the last biscuit”. This is mildly annoying in itself as I don’t think its cute, I associate being cheeky with being perhaps a little over familiar with people rather than lying, whether that is a “little white lie” or a great big serious one.
One particular advert annoys me more than the others. The phrase is “are you SURE he was single?” It annoys me because it belittles lying, because it makes light of adultery, and because having a relationship with a married (or attached) man has absolutely nothing to do with bingo.
As I was mulling over how angry the advert makes me, I realised the link with the wedding vows. I trust my husband, and he trusts me. We have vowed to keep ourselves only for each other, for as long as we are both alive. I don’t think affairs are a serious threat right now, although couples can grow apart and opportunities present themselves and I hope I’m never complacent about that sort of temptation. But should I, or Darren, want to have an affair there is something else to help us avoid that threat. Our friends and family joined us in our wedding vows, and will help us to honour our marriage as the years go on. I know marriage isn’t highly regarded in today’s society, but amongst my Christian friends (and many non Christians ones too) it is held as something sacred, to be treasured and nurtured.
That means I can trust our friends not to start an affair with either one of us. It means I can trust our friends to call me sharply to account if I started chasing another man, or be open with me if Darren was seeing someone else. It’s not being nosy, it’s not trampling on our private relationship, it is doing what they vowed to do at our wedding, what we asked them to do for us. It’s a safety net so that if we start to fail and stray off the path we have chosen for ourselves, they will help us get back on the road. It’s one way that living in community and with mutual accountability helps us. It’s a key part of the Christian way of life as we submit to one another, not because one forces rules onto another but because one asks another to rule over them as an act of kindness and friendship. We all have weak moments and are all idiots from time to time. A good friend is not someone who turns a blind eye to your faults, but one who knows what you’ll regret and does what they can to prevent you getting yourself into trouble.
So, Cheeky Bingo, no one will be saying “are you SURE he was single?” about Darren. Firstly because he is proud of being married and would not get himself into that situation. And also because he is surrounded by a crowd of friends who would tell her, should his mind be temporarily forgetful. So you can take your adulterous lying tax evading “cheeky” bingo and stick it.
Phew, that feels better!