My nephew Matt married his beloved Jennifer last Saturday in St. Louis. While I had the opportunity to attend both the wedding and the reception, and was moved at the first and had a good time at the latter, there wasn’t an opportunity to offer my own thoughts on their marriage at either venue. So I’ve decided to put it here.
I think the most important things in life often relate to issues of context and choice.
Let’s start with context.
Both of you were a long time coming to this marriage. You’ve both lived the highs and lows of life; “some of it was magic, some of it was tragic, but I had a good life all the way”, as Jimmy Buffett sang at the end of “He Went to Paris”.
And through those years were the hopes for, as well as doubts and fears about, for finding that special person.
As you now stand together in the first moments of your marriage, one last look back at your individual lives is important.
The tempering of your lives made you each stronger and better individuals, and has given you the life experiences to understand that living is often about acceptance and finding the blessed in life – what Rumi, the Sufi poet, meant by “it is what it is”.
The fears and doubts have given you each wisdom to appreciate how truly precious it is to have found someone to love and be loved by.
Together, the acceptance of life and your earned wisdom allow you to enter marriage with a maturity that younger couples often lack. They provide the foundation for you to grow together in ways you have yet to learn. And speaking practically, they allow you to move quickly through the rough patches that every married couple face.
You both made outstanding choices in each other.
Matt, you are a good man. I’ve loved you and been proud of you since you were a little boy.
You had a very good role model in grandpa, who in spite of his often gruff manner, was at heart a kind decent man. And your own journey in life turned you into the good man that Jennifer fell in love with. I only got to know Jennifer a bit when you were visiting us last year, but I’m confident that with her love you’ll turn into an even better man than you ever thought possible.
Jennifer,of all the people I have ever encountered, Matt has the purest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. I know he will love you completely and unconditionally for the rest of his life. His sometimes silly ways – including his ongoing obsession with all things Star Wars 🙂 – masks a reserve of compassion and empathy that will support you through all that you seek in your life.
Best wishes for a long and happy life together.
I love you both.