Over Labor Day weekend, we attended my cousin’s wedding in Kansas. In a rather surprising and wonderful turn, my cousin asked Mom to conduct the ceremony. I know Mom was caught off guard by this honor, but ultimately flattered and inspired. In the days before the wedding, Mom wrote the words she’d deliver that night. And I’ve included some of them here. I asked her if I could do this, if I could share what she had to say for many reasons, but for two in particular: Because her words are beautiful, and because they ring, and deeply, with truth. I reckon you’ll agree.
Mom’s Words. September 1, 2012.
As you embark today officially on life together, let me assure you that what you are truly doing is joining two lives that are and will remain separate, under the aegis of one marriage that, if prioritized, will keep your two lives moving along side by side.
Instead of one body you will remain two, but those bodies will come together in celebration and pleasure, to give comfort, to render solace and support. Unions, innumerable unions of body and spirit, will inevitably revert to two individual people side by side in a bed, in a car, at a dining room table, on a hiking trail, someday perhaps in a delivery room welcoming a child.
In preparing for this night, I, somewhat surprisingly, found a lovely and apt quote from Khalil Gibran that I would like you to hear:
Love one another but make not a bond of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls
Fill each other up,
but drink not from one cup.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
Tho they quiver with the same music.
You are two people who like each other, who love each other, whose job in that service is to be 100% yourselves, that you may enjoy and partake fully in your own lives and bring that gift to each other.
A bit of advice. Be responsible for your own health and your mental well being. Own your inner aspirations, your doubts and your triumphs. Share what you can but realize that we belong to ourselves and that what makes us uniquely us may be shared with but not shifted to the other.
I wish you tolerance and the ability to compromise. My great hope is that you find a fascination in each other that is never sated, that you carry on a wooing of each other that is never won.
A wooing of each other that is never won… Gorgeous, no? Told you so. Thanks, Mom, for these words. For making me think about marriage – your marriage to Dad, my marriage to my man, marriage as a concept, a paradigm.
And thanks for letting me publish your words here.
Any reactions to Mom’s words? Do you agree that it is important to retain our sense of individuality once we marry? Is there still an aspect of wooing in your own union?