The internets were all atwitter today with the latest stunt pulled on…Twitter.

Yes, someone tweeted his nuptials.  Immediately after being pronounced man and wife, he pulled out his cell phone–and gave his now-wife hers–and they updated their status’ together.

The stunt was amusing, to be sure.  And  levity at a wedding is certainly fitting.  A good laugh, Chesterton argued, can be a sign of taking something seriously.  The seriousness of the moment provided the context that made the tweeting humorous.  It was a jarring contradiction.

Leaving aside the (horrifying!) possibility that the wife didn’t know about the stunt in advance, the move reveals our inability to experience and properly express joy.  The union of two people–a union sanctified by God–is a great good.  To be downright personal for a moment, the joy I felt in the moment that my wife said “yes” to me was so utterly transcendent that a joke would have been inconceivable–even if the sort of laughter that will not be repressed was not. 

The language falters at some point, but it strikes me that joy is tremendous.  It is overwhelming.  It is not to be trifled with.  And using the occasion for joy as an opportunity for a joke is incongrous with the powerful and sacred–even if not sacramental–good of marriage.  

Such moments are, I think, best left for the reception–which this couple rightfully and properly enjoyed.  

So we laugh at the stunt, but with the sort of shocked, uncomfortable reservation of people who are witnessing something we intuitively grasp as inappropriate–even if we can’t articulate how or why.  

(You must also read Rhett Smith’s post.  Rhett is a therapist, and he brings a very relational approach to the issue that I can’t hope to approximate, but can heartily recommend.)

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


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