I can’t say the words “love and marriage” without thinking of the Bundys.
This isn’t a post about my marriage. God no. I wouldn’t be silly enough to dive deep into my own marriage. No, this is just a post on marriage, in general.
Why? Well – a little background
Okay, it’s a long background…I don’t do short stories.
Last year, my brother got engaged. His fiance is great, and she’s become such a loved member of our family and I couldn’t be happier for them. Soon after they got engaged, they came to ask each of us sisters (three of us) to each have our families partake in the wedding in some special way. One of my sisters was asked if her son would be the ring bearer. My other sister was asked if her daughter would be the flower girl. So what was left for the LeRoy clan? A very interesting proposition – that I would be the officiant of the wedding.
I’m not going to lie. I flat out laughed in their face at the idea…I seriously thought they were joking. Who would want ME…the worst public speaker EVER to officiate a wedding? I’m so awkward in person! My sister echoed my thoughts, “You seriously want JAMIE to officiate your wedding?” And I wasn’t even insulted because I felt the same way! They nodded their heads. After I finally got over the moment, I accepted the role and made sure they were setting their expectations appropriately.
“You know I’m going to be terrible at this, right? I write…but I’m not a speaker.”
“You’ll do great! We know you can do this!” they said.
…That was just over a year ago that I’d accepted the role as officiant.
A couple months later I got ordained through “The Ministry of Life.” For $35 I would be able to legally perform weddings in California or any other state that allowed me to do so without having any prior knowledge.
Then in February, I started to really think about my sermon. I mean, there was definitely pressure to make this good, and I would need as much time as possible to get it right so I started doing my research months ahead of the wedding that was set for mid September.
Then, as all of you know (or most of you know), things in my life took a turn for the worst and over the next couple months all thoughts of the wedding got put on hold so that I could deal with my own health issues.
Finally, once I got my diagnosis, got my treatment plan (chemotherapy every two weeks), and found out that I would be neutropenic for the next six months (very susceptible to infections), I made the call to my brother to let him know that we would not be able to attend his wedding and that, obviously, this meant they would need to find another officiant for the wedding. He had hoped for the best – that I would still be able to make it, but completely understood given the situation I was in. He knew some friends who had officiated other weddings so it wasn’t like I was throwing the whole wedding out of whack, but of course it would have been nice to have done this for my brother. And obviously nice to even attend the wedding.
So that’s kind of where this story ends. Sort of. About a week ago, I got a note from my brother’s friend who is now going to officiate the wedding. I won’t share any details from that exchange because I don’t know what he’s planning for the sermon, and the wedding hasn’t happened yet so I don’t want to spoil anything, but it did get me thinking about some of the things I had researched and jotted down when I was still thinking I would be the officiant. So the below is basically that. Some thoughts on love and marriage and kind of where my head was at when I was thinking of my brother and his fiance…but also a little bit about how I’ve experienced love and marriage to date.
From the notes section of my phone.
So these are some of the things I jotted down when the moment struck me and I’d think “That’s it! That’s something I want to say!” And instead of editing them for you and making them perfect, I thought I’d just leave them in their raw form because some of it is pretty bad and makes me chuckle.
So the bold italics is what I originally wrote. The brackets are my thoughts on what I wrote…all these months later. Enjoy!
We’ve all been to weddings. And at each wedding we look for that splash of something we know about the couple, and whether or not we’ll laugh or cry or be bored to tears…just waiting to get over to the bar.
[Hey that’s not…that terrible. Kind of cements the audience as to where they are…makes it more “real” for them, ya know? Could use some softening, though.]
But I’m here to tell you that this isn’t that kind of a wedding ceremony. I don’t see my job as providing material for you to react to. My job is to connect these to the life they’re about to join together forever. So I apologize in advance if you don’t get a joke or something doesn’t make sense…but to be honest…it’s because I don’t care what you think. I care what they think. And if this is going to be one of the most memorable days of their lives, it should, quite honestly, only be about them.
[Oh holy hell. I wrote that, didn’t I? Just need to go and piss off everyone at the wedding in one tidy paragraph. I mean, there will be mothers and grandmothers listening to this, Jamie. You couldn’t just not write this? Ugh. I remember describing this to Jake and saying, “Well I wouldn’t ACTUALLY say that…but like…something like that…ya know?” And he nodded like, “Yeah, okay, psycho.”]
So let’s get started.
First, a quote about love. A wise fictional boxer once said…
“I got gaps. You got gaps; we fill each other’s gaps.”
[First off – is it clear that I’m talking about Rocky? Second off – is that a super hickish, midwestern way to start a wedding? With a quote from Rocky Balboa? Ugh. At first I thought it was awesome because my brother loves that movie! But seriously, maybe that line should be scrapped.]
The reason I love this is because one’s definition of love changes many times throughout a relationship, and throughout a lifetime of constant changes.
[Ummm. What? That’s not what that means at all. Where did this come from? I think I was trying to bridge the quote with where I’m going next. It’s awful. This is so awful. Sorry guys!]
In the beginning you experience “gushy love.” The kind that creates butterflies in your stomach. The kind that makes you watch the clock at the end of the day in anticipation of seeing your love’s smiling face. The kind that makes your heart swoon and ache when you have to be apart for too long. It’s a thrilling kind of love.
[Good. GOOD. Build on this.]
But then you experience a comfortable kind of love. The kind where you’re comfortable in the knowledge of your love for each other. The kind that knows it doesn’t have to be thrills and adventures, that it can be more demure. It can be drinks on the patio and telling each other about your favorite childhood cartoons. Or it can be taking pictures of French Bulldogs you see on the street because you know it will make her happy.
[Not terrible, at least. Also, FACTOID ALERT. I created that last snippet for the fiance. RELEVANT!]
But then, one day out of the blue, you’ll experience love in the face of tragedy. You get side swiped by something awful that happens to you or someone you love. Or it could be that one of you is forever changed by something and you think to yourself, “is this the “for worse” part?” And you’ll wonder how you’ll fair. In those moments, you will find a deeper love you never knew existed. You’ll find someone that can love you in the face of adversity, with all your pox and boils and scars. Someone that can see through all of that and love you even more than before.
[Yes, hindsight is 20/20. This is a bit heavy handed given my current situation. Maybe don’t make them think about cancer on their wedding day? But also, I love that line about pox and boils and scars. Still not appropriate…but when do you get to talk about pox and boils and scars all that often?]
And then eventually, you’ll have rediscovered love. The kind that makes you forget petty fights. The kind that makes you remember how you’ve always been stronger together than you ever were apart. The kind that makes you deeply appreciate the life you’ve built with this person whose ridges fit yours perfectly like two puzzle pieces. Or two power arms conquering the trampoline dodgeball as if you were operating with one symbiotic brain.
[Where am I going with this? Oh that’s right, I’m taking my own experiences and trying to push them onto others. Because of course. But maybe not? I think others experience this. Also, the last bit is CLEARLY their experiences. But maybe too specific? Obviously too technical. Who uses the word “symbiotic brain” in a sermon? Needs work.]
And you’ll just keep opening more doors and keep experiencing love in a new and deeper way. You’ll have gaps. He’ll have gaps. But together, you won’t see the gaps. All you’ll see reflected back are smooth edges.
[God DAMN that’s good. Okay maybe not that good. But at least I was going somewhere with that line. It’s maybe just out of order…or something. Still needs work. That “He’ll have gaps/she’ll have gaps” makes it weird because it’s more of an either/or situation…but I had to choose one. But I like that smooth edges line. If Jake and I ever renew our vows I might steal that back.]
And that’s it. That’s all I had. It’s not ALL of the research I did. But it’s the parts that I started to draft. Some of the research I can’t share because it may end up still getting used by the other officiant. But there’s still a bit more.
Quotes about love and marriage.
This is just the icing on the cake. I scanned through hundreds of quotes on love and marriage and for me, these were the ones that stuck. These were the ones that were inspiring and relevant and like something I could build off of. So I thought I’d share them here.
- A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers (Robert Quillan)
- The best time to love with your whole heart is always now, in this moment, because no breath beyond the current is promised. (Fawn Weaver)
- People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked. (Paul Newman)
- The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest. (Unknown)
- You don’t marry one person; you marry three: the person you think they are, the person they are, and the person they are going to become as a result of being married to you. (Richard Needham)
- If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you. (Winnie the Pooh)
- Marriage is getting to have a sleepover with your best friend every night of the week. (Christie Cook)
- Marriage provides the solace of worked-on friendship and the joy of being known profoundly. (Imogene stubbs)
- The greatest favour we can do our children is to give visible example of love and esteem to our spouse. As they grow up, they may then look forward to maturity so they too can find such love.” (Eucharista Ward)
- I got gaps; you got gaps; we fill each other’s gaps. (Rocky Balboa – Rocky)
- Happily married people know that keeping score is what unhappily married people do. (Alisa Bowman)
A good ending.
I’m gonna end this post here…thinking good thoughts about love and marriage and thinking about the homework I still have yet to do for the officiant (I’ll say no more!). But if you ever need an officiant…in like six months to a year…you know where to look.