Beyond "traditional" marriage ... to traditional values

I’ve known Steven Crowder for a few years now, and he’s a regular on my daily Internet show — providing laughs, a sharp perspective, and no small measure of controversial statements, just as he does in his videos and Fox News appearances.  Steven’s an outspoken Christian, and argues for living life by those values for the purpose of being authentically Christian, as well as being an example to the world.  Needless to say, Steven gets a lot of criticism for his perspective and his arguments, but he has not yet been deflected from his principles.

A few years ago at CPAC, I met Steven’s then-girlfriend and now wife, a lovely young woman who is (as all wives are, as my own wife will attest) far too good for her husband, but she married Steven anyway three weeks ago.  We wanted to attend the wedding, since we had the honor of knowing them and even taking them out for breakfast the day after their engagement — joined by Dana and Chris Loesch, actually — but my back surgery kept me grounded.  We missed one heck of a party, but as Steven writes, we missed a very special wedding, too.  Steven and his wife insisted on a courtship and wedding based on their Christian values, and on Friday Steven took a hilarious victory lap in his column for Fox News.

Be sure to read it all, but the most interesting part of the column came from this anecdote that puts their effort into serious perspective:

As my wife (again, still not used to that) and I ate breakfast at a local inn, we discussed how excited we were to start the rest of our lives together, how scary it was that everything was now so different. At the same time, we overheard the table next to us discussing their very own wedding from the night prior. What a coincidence!

“The thing is, nothing’s really changed,” the bride said.

Puzzled, my wife asked, “Did you get married last night too? So did we!”

“Congratulations!” the other dame said. “Yeah we did, just last night.”

“Where’s the groom?” my wife innocently… scratch that, naively asked.

“Oh, he’s sleeping. There was no way he was coming out with me this morning!” She paused and smirked. “Let’s just say that he’s got a lingering headache from a really good time last night.”

My heart sank. Firstly, that poor schmuck’s “good time” was simply getting snookered. Not enjoying the company of close family and long-lost friends with a clear head and clean conscience, not staring in awe at his beautiful new wife, wanting to soak in every glimmer of her eyes as she shot him heart-racing looks from across the dance floor, not taking all of the cheesy pictures as they cut the cake, not even carrying her across that suite threshold as they nervously anticipated their “nightcap.” He probably won’t remember any of it. Instead, he got smashed. He was “that guy”… at his own freaking wedding.

Then I realized something. Our wedding was truly a once in a lifetime event. It was a God’s-honest celebration of two completely separate lives now becoming one. Physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually, everything that made us who we were individually was becoming what bonded us together. Our family traveled from far and wide to celebrate the decision of two young people to truly commit themselves to each other, and selflessly give themselves to one another in a way that they never had before that very night.

The people next to us that morning? Well, theirs was just one big party.  And the morning after? Just another hangover.

Our “weddings” were the same event in name only. They know it, and we know it.

It’s not easy to always live your life according to your religious principles.  I’ve been tested many times, and I’ve failed more often than I’d like to admit outside of a confessional.  There are moments that count more than most others, though, where faith and resolve get severely tested, and eventually one discovers that prayer is absolutely essential for the strength needed to prevail.  I know Steven and his wife are a prayerful couple, and I know that gave them strength for their journey.

I find this an intriguing column, not just because Steven’s a good friend and the column was funny.  In some states, including my own, we’re debating the legal definition of marriage, which is a fair debate over a government policy that should be resolved by the people and not a judge in a courtroom.  But we should set aside the politics from time to time to reflect on the institution of matrimony and the path that leads us there.  Does giving in to the temptations of the world help or hinder us?  Should we not be cheering the Crowders for walking the narrow path and giving testimony to their values, or is it easier to cheer those who stumble because it lets us off the hook for our own shortcomings?  And what is lost to us in that transaction that the Crowders have found?  It’s easy to laugh at the virgins and the committed Christians for being hopelessly unhip and square, but perhaps not so easy to see how those kind of values clarify the other issues under debate.