Book Review: Redeeming Weddings

Author: Joseph Okoth

Reviewer: Vera Omwocha – Dinda

Price: Ksh. 1,000/ to order: Redeeming Weddings/0788204861

    For some, a wedding mean lots of ‘free’ food. To others, it is a no-try because of the expenses associated with one. To others, it is a means of slimming their pockets. To others, it’s a business opportunity. To others, it’s an opportunity to showcase the latest fashion trends. Others won’t care.  But what really is a wedding? Is it important or necessary for the ‘success’ of a marriage? How can young ‘broke’ people navigate the expenses? What about bride price?

It is from this angle that this book approaches the subject of weddings, Biblically and culturally; challenging the social norms most subscribe to . It tears down  our ideas about weddings and analyses the excessive modern obsession with symbols rather than that the thing (wedding) being symbolised.  

Are weddings or white gowns only meant for virgins? “ A marriage will not be Holy because both spouses waked into it as virgins. It will be Holy because they continuously commit themselves to honouring the marriage bed.( though not any less important).

Borrowing from the Bible’s endorsement of the simplicity and motivations of weddings of the old; Rebekah and Isaac, Ruth and Boaz; it recommends only three essentials for a wedding! A partner’s consent, relatives consent and relevant witnesses. Although not dismissive of everything else – the rings, the priest, décor, the gown, food, MC; Joseph questions their essence against God’s word verses human customs. It points out that those who wed with only the essentials have “honoured God and their marriage is every bit blessed if they continue living in Him.

Speaking to all groups of people, including parents and service providers, this text risks going against the cultural and even some Christian practices regarding weddings in modern times. For young people seeking to wed, it guides that it’s not just a question of rebelling against culture or an issue of money but the heart. It gives wise counsel on how to navigate culture – picking the beautiful, compromising where necessary while staying true to God’s mission because there’s a beautiful corner where culture meets Christianity.

“Much of what highlighted my wedding didn’t even outlive it. I’ve never been a loving husband to my wife because I dressed sharply when I made the vows. …Every good and kind thing we’ve been to each other since saying ‘I do’ can solely be credited to our continual pursuit of faithfulness to God and to each other.”

 Lol

On fundraising for a wedding: “There is great peace in asking for things that are modest, reasonable and acceptable.” It emphasises not just on thrifty spending because of lack but for a higher calling. “The magnitude of help we could offer others in the world if we channelled even a tenth of what we spend on weddings to needs around is unimaginable.”

And: “We did not write an entire book to convince you to spend little on a wedding. We wrote to help you find a greater significance and joy in a wedding — and money is the last thing that has to do with.”

This is not a marriage but a wedding book. Christian or not, the insights herein will trigger you to think of the motivations surrounding weddings. You don’t need to be planning a wedding to benefit from it because we – as a society – collectively contribute and uphold the norms and if we’re armed with this information, we’ll not just be better for our own sake but hold each other’s hands along life’s way. 

My husband, Gabriel, and I agree that we would have done much better on the onset of our marriage if we had read this book before our wedding, but hey, it’s not too late. Not even if you’re 10 years’ old in marriage.

This book is written with so much kindness, graciousness, poise, intelligence and objectivity. It is inspiring, transformative and challenging. The convictions painted herein draw from Christ as the centre with the goal of making weddings more meaningful and joyful – in the Lord. And serve more than the goal of enjoying the day and taking pictures. But,

What does a wedding mean to you?

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