Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"You May Now HUG the Bride"

I attended a wedding this weekend where it was evident that the wedding was truly an event to celebrate life, love and family. It was one of those weddings that I walked away from feeling the love and not just wondering "geez, that was a pretty pricey wedding to celebrate a sham of a relationship...well at least the food was good"(and don't judge me, you have been to those weddings too). I suppose the beauty in the wedding that I attended was the fact that the brides' parents are still madly in love with each other and have an amazing relationship with their adult children. I was in awe of the way that the mother of the bride lit up when she was looking at her daughter walk down the aisle and the way the father of the bride was overwhelmed with joy to gain a son-in-law. When most fathers only see their responsibility as footing the bill for a wedding, this father actually officiated the wedding so that he could play a larger part in the ceremony.

These types of relationships are completely nonexistent for some young people; they never get to see what it is like for the adults in their life to have a healthy, loving and supportive relationship with anyone. Since most of my childhood was in a single-parent home, I often wondered what it was like to have both parents at home or even both parents in the same room without some sort of disagreement or evil-eye stare. One of our responsibilities is to teach young people about healthy relationships but shouldn’t we also be modeling those healthy relationships? All too often I see an adult in a completely unhealthy relationship, and they just can’t understand why their children are in the same kind of relationship. Young people not only need to know the factors related to a healthy relationship, they need to see them in real life. As adults we have a responsibility to practice what we preach to our young people. We can’t be engaged in unhealthy behaviors with our own partners such as cheating, lying, controlling behavior or abuse, and then lecture to young people about how they should avoid these behaviors in their own relationships.

After attending this wedding, it gave me hope – hope that all young people will have adults in their life that have loving, supportive and healthy relationships that they can aspire to have with their own partners. When young people have the opportunity to see what a healthy relationship looks like, they will be more likely to emulate these behaviors with their own partners. The bride and groom at this wedding are lucky enough to have these relationships in their life and they know how much they are loved and supported by their parents. Of course, the bride will always be her daddy’s little girl so at the end of the ceremony the father of the bride couldn’t help to revise the traditional script by saying “you may now HUG the bride.”

by:  Sarah Kershner, Project Coordinator for SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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