Lifting the veil on June brides

June is traditionally thought of as being the month for weddings.

When my husband and I got married so many years ago, the pastor said that some brides wear the veil over their face and then the husband lifts the veil from their face after the vows.  Only 18 years old, and not at all wise to the ways of the world, I thought it was the thing to do.  So we did.

It has just been in the past few years that I know the significance of it, and I would never advise a bride to wear any kind of veil at her wedding.  She is not a commodity.  She is not her father’s possession to be given over to her husband.  We have softened the words today and say “her mother and I do” but the origination of that can’t be changed. 

Look at what a pastor wrote me about marriages.

Because a child is to submit to parents a girl is to submit to the authority of her father until she is given to her husband in marriage.   This is the picture given in the traditional wedding ceremony where the father of the bride walks the girl down the isle and says in answer to the question “who gives this woman to be married to this man”  “her mother and I do.”   They are simply playing out the role of authority over the child being transferred to the husband.   

My response to him was that Jesus did not teach that.  He replied:   While Jesus may not have ever said so specifically in the scriptures, Paul certainly did teach this. I have no reason to believe that Paul’s teachings are contrary to Jesus’ teachings as both were equally inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.   Of course ultimately, if a husband or father were to demand that a child or wife do something that goes against the scripture or God’s will, the Headship of Christ would certainly prevail over the headship of a parent or husband. 

Did you notice that he said the “child” is being transferred to the husband?  She is not even called a woman, and is getting married, and in this marriage she is to remain a child – now a child of her husband. What if she is 30 years old?

He says a child is to submit to the parents, but as we know, that only applies to girl children.

But it gets stupider and stupider.  He says that if a husband or father demands a child, or his wife, to do something that goes against scripture or God’s will, in that one case, he is superseded by the headship of Christ.

So now the child, or the wife, is to sit in judgment of the father/husband, and determine if he has the authority or if Christ does!

Doesn’t the Male Headship husband or father know if he is asking her to sin? Can’t he figure that out himself?

Here we have a woman that is treated as if she is still a child, and she must be the one to decide if her husband or father is asking her to commit a sin.  Wouldn’t that be giving her “authority” over a man?

Are you ready to make a change? 

Are you ready to speak out for yourself and for women?


About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Equality for women in Southern Baptist churches, Male Headship fallacy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Lifting the veil on June brides

  1. So many of our marriage traditions came out paganism, and yet are followed as if they are holy writ


  2. Post some of them for us (leaving out the names of course)


  3. Paula Fether says:

    I hear ya: Vows and Wows

    This is all so sick. It’s basically incest, when you think about it. Or child rape. And these proud men still claim they believe women are fully equal to men as human beings. Hogwash.


  4. Kristen says:

    I was taught that the veil was a representation of Christ and the Church– that the lifting of the veil represented the removal of the last barrier between Christ and His Bride. By analogy, it also means the removal of all barriers between the new husband and wife, that they may enjoy unashamed, true intimacy of body and soul.

    I abhore the “bride as property” stance of some churches, but when I got married, to me the veil no more meant a transfer of my person from my father to my husband, than the evergreen tree I bring into my home at Christmas signifies to me an offering to the gods of Yule.

    A symbol means what we believe it means. Most people no longer associate the veil with any particular symbolism at all. My opinion is that if the use of the veil would cause other Christians at the wedding to stumble, by all means abandon it; but if this is not an issue, the bride and groom should feel free to either use the veil, or abstain.


  5. Kristen says:

    Another thought with regards to “giving away the bride”:

    I was at a lovely Christian wedding where the question asked was, “Who gives these young people to be married to one another?” And both sets of parents rose and said, “We do.”

    The tradition was thus turned into a beautiful picture of “leaving father and mother” and “cleaving” to one another.


  6. Kristen says:

    On the other hand, I’m not sure how the custom of the father walking the bride down the aisle to her husband can be interpreted in any way other than that the bride is being passed (like property) from the father to the husband. I have read that in Sweden the bride and groom walk down the aisle together to be married, and walk back up it afterwards. I like that idea.

    I would also favor both the mother AND the father walking the bride down the aisle, to where the groom and HIS parents were waiting. All the parents would then sit down. This would look much less like a woman being passed as property, and more like parents letting go of the children to “leave and cleave” to one another as a new family.


  7. She is being passed like property from one kyrios (lord) to another. The tradition comes from ancient Athens. I write about some of the marriage traditions and where they came from in Woman this is WAR!


  8. Waneta Dawn says:

    I find this discussion fascinating, especially since at very conservative Mennonite weddings, the bride and groom either walk in together, or are seated at the front of the church at the beginning before all the people come in.

    At Amish weddings I believe it is the custom for all the preachers to be in consultation in another room, and the bride and groom come in together either before or after all the preachers file in. I think they file in before, because once the preachers file in, that is the signal the service is to start. In other words, at Amish weddings, the preachers are still the most important people there. Also, when the bride and groom walk in, they walk normally, as they would for any other service. Both Amish and Very conservative Mennonite brides wear dresses that are styled like all their others. Amish brides don’t even wear white dresses, but often conservative Mennonite brides do wear white.

    However, the less conservative Mennonites have copied the popular custom of the groom waiting up front and the bride walking down the isle either alone or with her dad. (No one gave me away! But when my brother married, that was the first wedding where I ever witnessed the bride being given to the groom, who was waiting up front.)

    speaking of Christmas, the Amish and very conservative Mennonites also refuse to have Christmas trees and decorations. If they have any decorations, they would be a nativity scene.

    My own family did put up a tree when they had foster children, but it was for the sake of the foster children who were used to having a tree at Christmas. When we didn’t have foster children, instead of having a tree we strung colored lights across the frame of a double doorway and played Christmas music. Some nights we’d sit in the living room with the lights out and just enjoy the colored lights and the music. My folks thought a tree is worldly, making Christmas commercialized, and honoring the tree instead of honoring Christ.

    My parents waited until right before they were going to distribute Christmas gifts to wrap them. We’d wait impatiently for them to finish wrapping gifts on Christmas day. When we found out friends of ours wrapped gifts in advance and put them on display, some of us started doing the same. We put them on top of the 8 foot long record cabinet.

    I never put all this together before. My own parents refused to follow any traditions they felt did not honor Christ. In so doing, they taught me to seek creative ways to celebrate, to avoid following the crowd, and to do things because they are biblical and right, rather than because they are the custom. Yet, because my folks came from Amish parents, they were following the custom they had learned. Well, the colored lights were a concession in our home. They did NOT have colored lights in electricity-less Amish houses.


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