Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Two People, Two Decades, Two Kids

Twenty years ago, I became a walking cliché. I was surrounded by my friends on the night before my wedding, and we drank too much. We showed up at the rehearsal dinner, ill-behaved, and my fiancé was upset.

The next day, all was well and we celebrated outside the church following an all-too-elaborate wedding. My father-in-law proved to be a prophet. He told us well ahead of time that we wouldn’t remember much about the wedding. He was right. The priest in charge of the church at the time, doing his best caveman impersonation, did not allow video cameras. So, all we have is some photos and fuzzy memories.
Fortunately, many of the people involved that day are coming back to the cathedral for the 20th anniversary. We hope to reminisce and maybe refresh a few recollections. Our renewal of vows is intended to be low-key and we are honored that some friends are coming in from out of town in the middle of a work week to be with us. Certainly, things will be less stressful and less eventful than they were back on Memorial Day weekend ’87.

My father-in-law’s prescience proved instead to be wisdom. I have repeated his advice many times as younger people contemplating marriage have asked me about the keys to a successful marriage. He said, “The wedding’s not important, it’s the marriage that counts.” It’s a simple, obvious thing to say but its sentiment runs infinitely deep. He advised us to pay attention to the vows we were making that day and to take them seriously. We did and we do. We will reaffirm them tomorrow.
We promised to love and honor one another with all that we are and with all that we have. I believe, more deeply than I have believed anything that we have spent twenty years doing that. We vowed from that moment forward to be united in sickness and in health; to stand by one another. We made a private promise always to be nice to one another. My wife has honored me with her love and support for twenty years. I pray before God, our family and friends that our love and commitment and our unfailing support of one another will continue to grow until we are parted by death. I promise to continue to love and to cherish her, because my love for her grows every day.
On our twentieth anniversary, we will do it all over again and there’s nothing in the world that will make me happier. To have our friends, our children and our parents there to witness what we will pledge will be a good and joyful thing.

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