What a difference a “date” makes

Published 7:30 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

Everything was in preparation for a Sunday afternoon wedding. The bride-to-be had been busy as bees around a beehive for weeks, taking care of business and waiting for the big event. The groom, a gentle, quiet man, might have been excited, but it did not show. He looked cool and collected.  The wedding was scheduled at their church shortly after the morning worship service.

At the parsonage, the preacher had changed clothes and was about to rush out the door when he stopped and handed his wife a document. “Hold on to this for me,” he said, and dashed toward the church. She glanced down at the document. ”Wait!” she said, but he was already out of sight. She realized she had an expired marriage license in her hand. Something popped in her mind. A friend had mentioned that marriage licenses were only valid for 30 days. The couple had bought their license too early in advance, probably never realizing the date.

As soon as the worship service was over, the preacher’s wife, with an ashen face, cornered him on his way to the parsonage. “Look,” she said, showing him the expired document. He was puzzled for a few minutes. Then he decided to call a county probate judge for advice.

It was also a new situation for the judge, but after thinking it over, he told the preacher to marry the couple. “They will be married in the eyes of God if the preacher performed the ceremony that day, but not in the eyes of the law. Tell them to come to the courthouse first thing in the morning and I will legally marry them.” When the preacher broke the news about the expired license to the couple, they seemed not flustered at all. They wanted to go ahead with the wedding.

The bride expected some out-of-state visitors and relatives to attend. A group of church women had decorated the fellowship hall and provided delicious refreshment at the reception. It was a wonderful, blessed occasion for everyone who came. The bride was radiant with joy.

The next day, the couple visited the courthouse, purchased a marriage license, and was married—legally.