I am marrying a Mennonite.
Forget what you think you may know about them. It’s different. Old Order Mennonites were too liberal in their lifestyles and the Amish broke away. But that was years and years ago. These days it’s hard to distinguish a Mennonite from any other run-of-the-mill Protestant Christian denomination, though they do have Ten Thousand Villages and they do loads of service missions all over the world. Alcohol isn’t really their thing either.
And he’s only mildly Mennonite. I’m not sure he would self-indentify as a Mennonite but he surely identifies with them. His family’s church is a Christian fellowship that had absorbed a Mennonite congregation and he went to Mennonite schools. It’s even a famous Mennonite school. Don’t tell him I told you, he’s a bit embarrassed. It’s kind of like telling atheists that you really really like that you went to BYU.
We’re very well-suited for each other. It’s so surprising, I’m astonished by it sometimes. We have similar opinions on how we want to live life religiously, financially, academically, philosophically, healthfully, family, travelly. We both think the other is smart and funny and respectable and we get along really well with each other’s families. I’d hate to say we’re perfect because I could be the starry-eyed bride-to-be, but we’re good together and waiting til you’re 30 to get married means that you’ve dated a lot of people. And met even more that you didn’t need to date to know they’re all wrong for you.
It’s strange to find the person best suited for you outside of your imagination. I have always imagined a temple wedding. I would be a 4th or 5th generation temple wedding on both sides of my family and even when I began to have theological issues with the temple, it remained the future place of my marriage. Who knows what happened? I must have aged out of my dreams or else I was dreaming the dream of some other girl. I believe it is more than falling in love with a Mennonite, though he has figured himself prominently in my current dreams.
My family quietly prays (and maybe most of you) that I would get married in the temple, even though they are perfect supporters. His family vocally threatens death if they could not attend our wedding. My family may question my faith by my choice, his family questions the fun of not choosing alcohol to do a celebratory toast, even though you remember that Mennonites are not into alcohol. Mormons put photographs in their wedding announcements, the rest of the world leaves them out. In the back of my mind, it was always okay to to have a reception in a church gym and serve punch and cake. The rest of the world serves dinner and rents a hall. Before I had no say in the words of my ceremony, now I have to write the whole damn thing. You see, it’s all very conflicting. You could go so far as to say complicated.
As it turns out, mildly Mennonite-Mormonism is complicated and it suits me. Like he does. And I’ve just called in a favor to have two very smart people write my wedding ceremony. I just have to decide whether or not I should put photographs in with the invitations.