Last night I was clearing pictures off my desktop and ran across one that reminded me how inordinately enriched and blessed I am to have had the opportunity to share in the lives of others. Perhaps never more so than when I’m provided the opportunity and privilege to officiate at the beginning of what’s intended to be a life long pilgrimage as “husband and wife”. In April 2015, I received a picture from Blake and Allison that highlights my participation in their wedding. The thoughtful couple sent the picture in recognition of their tenth anniversary as husband and wife.
I remember when Blake and Allison first contacted me and asked if I’d officiate at their wedding. Unlike a lot of couples that simply want a ceremony, this couple wanted to ensure they dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. They actually asked for pre-marital counseling. In the course of the next several weeks, I was provided the opportunity to get to know them at something well beyond a surface level. They were amazing young people who had a good understanding of life. They both knew who they were and what they wanted out of marriage. They also had the maturity to know that those things don’t just happen. It takes commitment and durability to orchestrate that kind of harmony.
Initially, Allison brought Blake by to visit. After visiting for a few minutes, I turned to Allison (whom I had known for a number of years) and asked: “What do you value most about Blake?” She looked thoughtful for a moment and then replied.
I then turned to Blake and asked, “What do you value most about Allison?” After all, I’d already known him for all of five minutes. Why not ask personal probing questions? He didn’t even have to think about it. He responded immediately, “That is really a tough question because there are so many wonderful things about Allison that I value.” “Smart” wasn’t one of the things that Allison had included on her list concerning Blake, but it was clear this guy was brilliant.
They obviously discovered a love of substance and durability. The music they selected for their wedding expressed it well. They selected “This much I know is true, God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”
Across the years, I’ve officiated at many weddings. Sometimes I don’t have the luxury of knowing how things turned out. Thoughtfully, Blake and Allison send a Christmas card each year with a creative and detailed snapshot of their life together. The investment they both have made in giving priority to parenting their two daughters orchestrate another level of maturity and understanding on their part. They clearly recognize what matters most. Their lives are centered with activities that support their best interest as a family.
In reflecting back on their wedding, it was carefully orchestrated with attention to every detail. It was picture perfect in every sense of the word. That is not always true when it comes to weddings. I can’t count on one hand the number of weddings I’ve conducted across the years that didn’t start on time.
I remember once that the father of the groom did not endear himself to the bride’s family when he arrived two hours late for the ceremony. As it turned out, the wedding proved to be a marriage made in heaven, but the mother of the bride might have described it differently in shall we say, “the heat of the moment”.
Fortunately, I’ve never participated in a wedding where the event was a major debacle. Perhaps I need to redefine that statement and say, the wedding ceremony was not a major debacle. I’ve sometimes been surprised at the brevity of some marriages. Love intended to last a lifetime doesn’t always make it through that first tenth anniversary.
Always without fail, at least one of the marriage partners processes the dissolution of what was intended to be “the tie that binds” as a source of disappointment and heartache. Perhaps that is generally true of both parties.
I sometimes have the thought that life doesn’t have to be as difficult as we sometimes choose to make it. Unconditional love covers a multitude of wrong doings. It restores hope. It builds unity. It lasts a lifetime.
All My Best!