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To have and to hold

Making a commitment is worth it, writes Sarah Olowofoyeku

We don't take time to tell people how much we love them

WEDDING bells are ringing. Today (Saturday 19 May), Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

In the weeks leading up to the royal wedding, the Royal Mint created a five-pound coin bearing the couple’s faces, Legoland’s Miniland built a brick version of the wedding and Madame Tussauds unveiled a wax model of Meghan, complete with engagement ring. Local councils received hundreds of street party applications, and the BBC waived the TV licence fee for those showing the wedding on a large screen.

Royal or not, weddings are often a big deal. The preparations usually take months. Thousands of pounds are spent on a venue, food, flowers, dresses and tuxedos. On the day itself, family members gather from far and wide, and the bride may be up at the crack of dawn to start getting ready.

The wedding is a significant moment in a couple’s relationship, and for their families and friends, it is a cause for celebration.

Wedding photographer Malachi Ajose gets to observe many marriage celebrations close up. It has given him a perspective on weddings. He tells The War Cry: ‘Family is one of the most important things in life, but we also take our loved ones for granted. Day-to-day we don’t take time to tell people how much we love them. So weddings are significant. They are one of the highest forms of expression couples can use to show how much they mean to one another.’

As a wedding is an important occasion, attention is paid to all the major and minor details. It’s a day that people never want to forget. But as life goes on, the emotions and excitement of the day can come to seem a distant memory.

Malachi says: ‘Recently the bride from a wedding I’d shot last year contacted me. She told me that she had been going through a really hard time, but then she looked at the wedding pictures and it reminded her why she said “yes” in the first place. Sometimes  I think the photos serve as a reminder of the commitment you made and why you made it.’

Saying ‘I do’ is no guarantee of a smooth journey after the wedding is over, but what it symbolises is the promise never to give up on each other.

To make such a promise to anyone can be nerve-racking, but taking the step of faith to commit ourselves to God can seem just as daunting.

The good news is that if we make a vow to give our life to God, we can rest assured that he will help us stick to it. When we make a commitment to him, he is already fully committed to us. He doesn’t necessarily promise us a happy-ever-after in this life but does pledge that he will always be with us, for the better or worse times. In the Bible he declares: ‘I will never leave you; I will always be by your side’ (Hebrews 13:5 The Voice).

Will we say yes to him? 

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