There is a moment during our wedding video where it looks for all the world like I’m crying. Bryce and I are facing a little table, our officiants have stepped back, and it is just him and me — and my shoulders are shaking.
I was not crying. At all. I was laughing.
See, when Bryce and I were deciding on a unity symbol for our wedding ceremony, we looked up a couple of lists. I didn’t want to do a unity candle because a) everyone has done one (not that it’s not a beautiful symbol, but I wanted something that was a little bit more “us”) and b) to me, it didn’t symbolize to God’s role in our relationship.
After looking up lists on Pinterest and doing various Google searches, weeding through sand, water, cocktails, and dozens of others, we decided to go with our first idea, which was to braid a unity cord. I loved this idea because it represented Bryce, me, and God’s role in our relationship, coming together and being held strong. At this point you’ve probably already guessed that a key idea in our ceremony was this: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
I love braids. I love the way that by the time you’re finished, it’s a little bit difficult to trace back the individual pieces. Everything has become interwoven. And that is my most fervent desire for my marriage. I want to be braided together with my husband and with God. We have to have God as a sustaining factor in our relationship or it’s not going to work.
But let me tell you why I was laughing, because I’m sure you still want to know. When it came to that point in the ceremony, we turned to the table and Bryce and I picked up these three pieces of ribbon. Instantly I realized that Bryce had ZERO clue how to braid! This just cracked me up. Partially because instead of letting me take the lead, he started just twisting ribbons around in random places. Partially because though we had intentionally chosen this unity symbol, it had apparently slipped our minds to find out if both of us knew how to braid.
So I’m standing there, laughing and trying to show him how to do the braid without the ridiculous twists he put in it, and the few people (our officiants and I’m assuming a few of our attendants) who can see what is happening are getting a little bit of a kick out of it too.
But that braid-fail experience taught me something really important. Bryce started off just trying to twist two pieces of ribbon together (before I stepped in and actually taught him how a braid works). And they just looped around each other and were a bit of a mess. They wouldn’t stay together. They just unraveled.
We finally did succeed in making the braid, as I showed Bryce how to incorporate the third piece.
It’s the third piece that makes the braid strong. Without that third piece, it’s not a braid. It doesn’t stay together. And just like trying to braid with two pieces, approaching my marriage with the mentality that we are in it alone is a mistake. We have to keep God in the relationship to make it work. God sustains each of us, both individually and in our marriage.
And that’s why one of my life mottoes has become “braid it.” That unity braid wasn’t a one-time thing for our wedding to fulfill the tradition of a unity element. We selected the braid because it is such an important symbol to us in our day-to-day lives, reminding us that God is a constant part of our relationship. We engage in an ongoing, everyday process of braiding our lives together and keeping God in our lives. And he is making our marriage deeper, stronger, more beautiful, and more honest every day.
Go out and braid your relationship. Braid it into a beautiful and fulfilling relationship between you, your significant other, and God. It will be so much more of a joy and a blessing when you invite God in to deepen your love for each other and for Him.