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Love and marriage

The War Cry comments on marriage

For any loving relationship to work, realistic expectations are needed

THE eyes of the nation, and millions more across the world, will be on the small Berkshire town of Windsor today (Saturday 19 May) as Prince Harry marries TV actress Meghan Markle.

Since the couple’s engagement was announced at the end of last year, the preparations have been in full swing to ensure that everything is ready for the big day. As reported in this week’s issue of The War Cry, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is officiating at the wedding vows, has been keeping calm during his preparation by listening to a song by the grime artist Stormzy – although this is not the first royal wedding at which he has officiated.

In 2011, the Most Rev Justin Welby conducted the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The sermon that day was given by the Right Rev Richard Chartres, who was the Bishop of London.

In that address he said: ‘Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art.’ However, he also warned about ‘expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life’, saying: ‘This is to load our partner with too great a burden.’

The bishop is right to point out the problems that can arise in couples’ relationships when too much is expected of one partner by the other. Because all human beings are flawed, no one can meet every need of a partner – even if they wanted to.

For any loving relationship to work, realistic expectations are needed, along with an acceptance that, at times, even the best of partners will let the other down. But that doesn’t mean that the future has to be dreaded or that it is wrong to celebrate the coming together of two lives in a marriage.

As the bishop also said in his wedding-day sermon seven years ago, a good future can be realised by ‘an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another’.

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