I live in a house full of women (almost), so it’s only natural that I’ve seen an episode or two of “The Bachelor” in my day.
Last Sunday, Bachelor Sean married “the love of his life,” Catherine, in a made-for-TV affair, complete with lots of flowers and bridesmaids (12 of them!) and famous guests. The wedding was sweet but simple (why, oh why, do people insist on writing their own vows?)—heartfelt and, did I mention sweet?
In the week prior to the wedding, Sean and Catherine did all the rounds of the television talk shows, most likely to fulfill their contract with ABC. I saw a few of these interviews and noticed that the one thing that everyone wanted to ask the couple about was their wedding night. Because Sean and Catherine did something so completely strange, so totally out of the ordinary, that the interviewers were baffled: they decided not to sleep together until the wedding night.
And, boy, were people curious about this.
To their credit, Sean and Catherine answered every question patiently and with great kindness and respect. They didn’t want to come across as being judgmental of others—they merely said that this was the right decision for them. (Whether ABC cut out all of the talk of their faith as a basis for this decision, I don’t know, but I sure didn’t hear much about that in their interviews.)
Anyway, Sunday night came, and ABC took the first hour of their wedding special to play up the fact that Sean and Catherine hadn’t slept together yet. They showed Sean awkwardly shopping for lingerie for his soon-to-be wife. They showed Catherine embarrassingly posing for Sean’s-eyes-only photos. And they showed the couple checking out their “first night” suite in the hotel, which Catherine coined the “consummation station.”
The funny thing was, Sean and Catherine were almost giddy as they talked about their first night together as husband and wife. They were as giggly as teenagers as they confessed that it was hard to wait, but that they knew it was right and would be worth it for them.
And I loved it.
I loved that they were giddy. I loved that they couldn’t wait to finally be husband and wife in the ultimate sense. I loved that they joked about getting out of the reception and heading to their room as fast as they could.
Because you know what? That’s how it should be.
Newlyweds should be thrilled about what’s next. Curious. And, yes, maybe even a little nervous. Because what’s next is great and fun and exciting.
And that’s what we’ve lost as a culture that encourages young people to jump into bed on the second date and cast aside mates as cavalierly as one would cast aside a yoga instructor who’s put on a few pounds.
We’ve lost the wonder of the wedding night.
I have three daughters, and you know what I hope? I hope my daughters giggle like teenagers as they anticipate their wedding nights, too. I hope they are filled with joy and delight as they dream of what that moment will hold for them.
And I hope they will look forward to it as much as Sean and Catherine did.
Thanks, ABC, for bringing us back to the wedding night and for reminding us that it can—and should!—be special.