July 18th, 2006

Thoughts on a wedding

This weekend I went to the wedding of the daughter of a good friend. It’s the first wedding I’ve attended of a contemporary of my own son, although probably not the last. The bride is someone I’ve known since she was two months old.

It’s a cliché at a wedding to ask where all that time went—in fact, there’s even a tearjerker of a popular song to that effect, “Sunrise, Sunset” (“Is this the little girl I carried…”). And I followed that cliche; for me, the wedding was pretty emotional. I teared up, although I managed not to cry.

It was a beautiful day—(although very hot!)—in a beautiful setting. Take a look—this is where the ceremony was actually held:

But the main source of emotion for me was that the bride and groom seemed so deeply in love. Knowing the bride’s family very well, and knowing at least the history of the groom’s, I’m aware that both have come from families where the parents had exceptionally bitter divorces that impacted heavily on both bride and groom, adding a burden of suffering that clouded their childhoods.

And yet, here they were, starry-eyed over each other. Is this merely the triumph of hope over experience, the naivete and beauty of youth, an example of denial? I don’t think so. I like to think—in fact I sense, and I certainly fervently hope—that these two young people
have learned through their travails what to value, hard lessons that will help them through the inevitable conflicts in their own marriage.

An extra poignancy was added by the fact that all the previously-warring parents attended the ceremony, and all seemed more or less civil to each other. That, in and of itself, probably could not have happened without the passage of a great deal of time since the divorces, as well as strong motivation to make the day pleasant for their children.

Looking at the bride’s parents—a couple I first knew about twenty-five years ago, right before their very necessary divorce, but have not seen together since—I couldn’t help but remember their former selves, hardly older than their own child is today. Now they’re the mother and father of the bride, united for this day by that commonality. Their marriage was a disaster, but their child most definitely is not.

13 Responses to “Thoughts on a wedding”

  1. chuck Says:

    I couldn’t help but remember their former selves, hardly older than their own child is today.

    It is well to be reminded that the parents we remember were just kids finding their way.

  2. stumbley Says:

    My wife’s parents divorced after 26 years, but it was apparently relatively amicable. Both have since remarried people much more suited to their respective temperaments. The interesting thing about this arrangement to me is that our family has now been augmented by two new people that we would not normally have known, and that my kids had *three* sets of grandparents. The two new couples are very cordial to each other, and attend all of our family gatherings and holidays. Whatever the circumstances were that drove my wife’s parents apart initially seem to have been forgotten; they and their new spouses genuinely like each other and, in fact, live just minutes apart and see each other socially with regularity.

    Proving, I guess, that love does conquer all, and with the right mate, everything in the world looks just fine.

  3. John Lynch Says:

    In these days of strife and seemingly, and probably, intractable differences it is good to be reminded through humanity that bad times can be overcome and that hope for the future brings happiness.

  4. gcotharn Says:

    Aren’t they thankful, though, to have participated in the disaster which produced such a lovely bride! Here is a pic of my parents, ages 70 and 79: http://thumbsnap.com/v/wDH1g4fM.jpg

  5. goesh Says:

    Those of us who have had some hen-pecking in our day are less inclined to weep profusely at weddings.

  6. Rufus T. Firefly Says:

    There’s a greeting card available these days (I see it at CVS all the time) that shows a bride and groom joyously walking from their wedding ceremony, but the faces have been altered so that they are the faces of two very young children. Inside the card it says, “How you look to your parents on your wedding day.” My own children are still in their early teens, but I bought the card and put it away for future use because I thought it was so good.

  7. sigmund, carl and alfred Says:

    Love, marriage, life.

    It all seems so simple, doesn’t it?

  8. Sissy Willis Says:

    The most beautiful wedding photograph I’ve ever seen . . . Can you reveal the location?

  9. Brad Says:

    I don’t get it; what does this have to do with war?

  10. stumbley Says:

    “I don’t get it; what does this have to do with war?”

    …as in “All’s fair in love and…”

  11. Peter Taylor Says:

    My (second) wife and I had a reading at our wedding, a poem by Rumi, “The Drunkards,” with a line, “Those with ribs showing, who have been grazing in the old pasture of love, are turning up fat and frisky.”

  12. knuckledragger Says:

    What does this have to do with war?

    Easy. This post shows that neo-neocon won’t be sliding around on the war any time soon because she’s actually a social conservative as well. And I mean that in the nicest possible way — I’m one of them, too. I became one after trying some other approaches to life and finding out they didn’t work.

    BTW, Sunrise, Sunset is a great song when performed by the right musicians. It’s got a wonderful bridge with a great key change.

  13. nan Says:

    Hmmm.. well thanks for making me cry. I knew I shouldn’t have read this today, but couldn’t resist. My son’s wedding is this weekend, and momma is having a wee bit of a hard time accepting the fact that her lil boy is going to have to answer to another female soon! HA!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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