Nick and Janna’s Wedding

Blog Post at Luke Laurie’s Teacher Blog:

My friends Nick and Janna were married on March 27, 2010. Their wedding was one of the most personal weddings I’d ever been to. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to say a few words during the ceremony.

We have all gathered here today, family and friends of Nick and Janna, to witness, to affirm, and to support them, as they cross the threshold into marriage, that blessed event, that dream within a dream. They have asked us all to be here to support them in this ritual of tradition, to surround them in love, and we do.

We are thankful to be here in this moment and grateful that we will witness the union that will make the two of you wife and husband. So say we all.

There are 189 keys to a successful marriage. For the sake of brevity, I will discuss only three. You have the rest of your lives to figure out the rest.

The first, is to approach your marriage realistically.

In movies, the marriage of two principal characters is often the end. We see the bride and groom, more beautiful and handsome than ever, embrace and kiss and say “I do,” and the camera pans out over the lake as the reception begins. That’s it. The game is over. Bliss follows forever after.

But we all know that these Hallmark-card, Lifetime Channel fantasies aren’t real. In fact, many people fear what married life might be like, so much that they avoid marriage like the plague. Others put it off until they’re 30 years old, or 40. But just because marriage isn’t as simple as some musical montage of walks on the beach holding hands and cuddling by the fireplace, doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful, rewarding, and permanent.

I’ve learned a few things about marriage since Nick was my best man 14 years ago. Some of these I learned early on, and they helped my marriage with my wife Yvonne thrive. Others took a long time to sink in. Some, I learned only recently. And still others I haven’t actually learned yet.

Marriage is real. And you have to treat it realistically. It doesn’t glow like a halo, and it doesn’t make everything look slow motion and soft-filtered. It might be like a film, but if it is, its an indy film, with an indy soundtrack.

Marriage isn’t about perfection. Mistakes will be made. Erich Segal wrote in “Love Story” that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” That’s a load of bull. Being sorry, and forgiving, are keys to a successful marriage. The only mistake is to not make amends, and not work to make things better.

Many have vowed to remain committed to their spouse “in sickness and in health,” “ in joy and in sorrow”, and “through richer and poorer,” or something along those lines. Nonetheless, too many couples have fair-weather marriages. They love and adore their spouse in good times, but when things become less comfortable, less fun, or more difficult, they abandon ship.

A strong marriage will survive mistakes. It will survive illness. It will survive pain. It will survive hardship.

Nick must accept that one day Janna will begin to type her evening’s menu into Facebook: “Fresh garden-grown White Arugula salad tossed with Italian pomegranate seeds and lemon curd wasabi pineapple dressing. Freshwater sashimi with truffle-oil and stone-ground wheat germ paste— ah screw it. we’re going to Mc Donald’s. Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…”

Likewise, Janna must accept that one day the Department of Energy may someday replace Nick with a nuclear-powered fighting robot, that costs 700 times his salary but is far more difficult to lay off.

There will be hard times such as these, but your love and commitment will help you through them.

You are real people. Your marriage will be your real interactions, your real words, your real touch. It will be stronger because you acknowledge the truth of your love and life, and let go of some of the storybook fantasies, and embrace the beauty of imperfect reality. This marriage will be real. So say we all.

The second key to a successful marriage is to keep learning from each other.

You know each other well. Your likes, your dislikes, your quirks, your faults, and your fetishes. And if you don’t, you should. You know things about each other that no one else knows. You keep no secrets from each other (except that one thing). You know these things about each other now, and you love them.

Time will change you, and time must change your relationship as well. Interests you have today may fade, and new interests will take their place. Your moods, your preferences, and your habits will change with time. As much as you can, discover these things together.

Look to your spouse’s vocations, hobbies, and interests, as part of who they are. You love your spouse, and you owe it to them to appreciate what they are interested in. If you can, join them in these pursuits. If not, learn to appreciate what your spouse appreciates. Let these discoveries bring you together, rather than letting these individual interests divide you.

After all, Janna may decide one day that she really wants to join a band, and Nick may abandon two wheeled vehicles, to get an old Dodge Dart.

You must learn from each other and love not just the people you are today, or who you were in the past, but the people you will become. So say we all.

The third key is to say yes to your spouse.

This sounds easy, and for some people it is. To say yes, to your spouse, as often as possible, can be a great source of joy for you both. Say yes to ideas for how to spend the weekend, or the evening. Say yes to a vacation. Say yes to learning something new together. Say yes to things your spouse hasn’t even asked for.

It’s like in the Princess Bride when Westley answers Buttercup’s every whim with “As you wish.” In the movie, it’s very romantic, and seems somewhat unrealistic, how can someone be so selfless and still so happy? But something similar can work in real life. Buttercup has to Say “yes” too.

Look at how many marital spats would be completely eliminated by this concept. It doesn’t have to be conditional, and it doesn’t have to be equitable. Drop the bartering, drop the revenge, and give. Say yes. Sometimes, by saying yes to your spouse, you may be saying no to work, no to your friends, and no to personal hobbies. It may even bring you great happiness, just to say, “as you wish” to the one you love. You’ll be saying yes to each other and reaffirming your marriage every time. You will say yes to each other, and we will be OK with that. So say we all.

One Response

  1. have copied wedding remarks and will study them carefully – good to see you and regards to the lovely Yvonne – Larry

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