I had a rather busy weekend. One of the things I had going on was a friend’s wedding at which I took on the role of the master of ceremonies. So that you do not misunderstand, let me clarify that there was a pastor to give a short sermon and to carry out the solemnisation of the marriage. My role was merely to make the announcements, guide the congregation through the service programme and to help lead in the singing. I think the wedding went well and I discharged my duties adequately apart from forgetting to ask the congregation to sit down at one point and on another occasion referring to the flower girls as “page girls”.
I think there was a collective sigh of relief from all assembled when the bride and groom finally exchanged vows. The reason is that the couple are both in their late 40’s after having an on again – off again relationship for over 15 years. 15 years! Can you imagine?
The reason? I suppose they would tell us that there were many reasons for the long journey but I think at the root of it was the fact that they were to some extent both “commitment phobes”. Well, at least they finally took the plunge. Better late than never. We are all happy for the couple.
The next day some of us were discussing “commitment phobia” over lunch and I learned that someone else I knew also has had an on again – off again relationship with this girl who has been his best friend since school, for also over 15 years. In this case, though, there has been no happy conclusion yet. In fact, during this time, the guy has gone out with at least three other girls. Each time, the girl had graciously stepped aside and waited and then returned to his side when that episode was over. It seems clear that he is happy with being best friends while she is hoping for more.
I remember a episode from the comic strip Bloom County or Outland (not sure which) where Opus the penguin is on a bridge all kitted out for bungee jumping by Ronald-Ann who runs the bungee jumping enterprise. Opus keeps running up to the edge of the bridge but stops, peers over the edge and then backs off. Each time he makes reference to how it is a metaphor for a guy excited at the thought of intimacy in marriage but getting cold feet as he peers into the chasm of commitment. After doing this a couple of times, Ronald-Ann finally takes matters into her own hands and shoves Opus off the bridge while giving the advice “You have to give them a push, girls”.
So what do you think? What can we do as friends to people like this? Should we give them a push?