A beautiful story of a couple who donated their daughter’s wedding reception dinner to 200 homeless people at Atlanta’s “Hosea Feed the Hungry,” charity, has gotten lots of attention.  It was the kind of act that renews people’s faith in humanity and reminds us that no matter how bleak a circumstance is, some part can be salvaged to bless someone else.

That being said, the underlying question can’t be ignored. What happened to bring this family to this place?  You probably think I’m wondering whether the guy cheated or whether he found out his fiancé was still in love with her college boyfriend. But actually those specifics aren’t necessary at all.  My question is which one of them was brave enough to realize that it’s better to make a decision that could cost temporary embarrassment and lots of money than to go into a “permanent” situation that could lead to years of unhappiness?

We all know couples who had no business dating, let alone deciding to get married…we may even have been part of one ourselves.  Our misplaced commitment may have been toward  the “idea” of getting married, to our newly acquired ring, to our wedding party, our parents, pastor and that huge deposit we made to the caterer, and there was no turning back.

I think some parents are just as responsible for pushing a marriage through even if there are red flags early on.  It may be due to some pressure they’re getting from friends who are badgering them about their daughter’s or son’s marital status. Or maybe they’ve had a successful marriage and think the couple will be able to weather the storms of infidelity, financial struggles, kids, addiction, unemployment, illness or whatever they’ve been able to endure.

And then there’s the moral or religious factor that makes couples having sex or wanting to have it feel that the only way they can overcome the guilt is by getting married. And finally,  there’s the couple that’s doing it for the child they are having or the children they already have together and they want to become a “legitimate” family.

I think it’s smart and courageous for a woman or man to call off a wedding if they aren’t truly committed and I think more would if they actually understood how serious marriage is meant to be and if they had a cocoon of support around that would help them through the process.   A man or woman in love could truly go through a period of loss akin to mourning a death when a marriage engagement ends. Or they could feel a sense of relief they never would have imagined if they hadn’t made the decision to postpone or cancel.  Families may be torn apart, friendships severed and yes  a lot of money could go down the drain.

I applaud the Fowler family of Atlanta for not only making a difficult choice but making sure that the money they would have spent for a regal celebration worthy of their princess didn’t go in vain.  Donating it to the homeless was a wonderful gesture that must have helped in their healing process.

Whether a couple goes on about their business or gets back together a year from now these are things no one can predict.

What we do know is that either they or someone who loves them very much cared about not just their future but their emotional and spiritual here and now.  Someone made them see that material things would be forgotten and people who were offended or fascinated would move on just in time for the next wedding. When you weigh the cost of the dress, the tuxes, the ring, the cake, etc. against the cost of divorce, alimony and child support it’s wiser to make certain it’s something you and your fiance’ want and are willing to work for and that it makes sense. You know more about  it than anyone else and if you’re honest, you know whether it’s the right or wrong decision.

So I’m curious.  If you are or have been married, did you or your mate ignore obvious signs that should have led you down a different path? Did you forge ahead and are now happy that you worked through your problems? Have you broken off an engagement or encouraged a friend or loved one to do so because you knew it wasn’t right?  Make a commitment right now to sharing your stories of love or sacrifice…or both.


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