Friday, July 24, 2009

one more thing...

I wanted to read the closing story from The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce last week, but simply ran out of time. The authors recount the true story of a wedding reception of thirty-somethings. Both bride and groom and the best man all came from broken homes. Therefore, an honest skepticism of marriage is understandable…and deep. But then came this poignant toast given by the best man, which I found so revealing:

“To many here today it feels strange to find that one of us is getting married. It’s strange because we’re a generation of cynical children when it comes to marriage. We came of age during a time when divorce became an acceptable alternative. Ultimately this is good. But the effect on us is one of caution, of skepticism. Who needs marriage? It’s an outdated institution. Why be burdened? But while we were uttering these cynicisms, we were privately nurturing the hope that we could rediscover and experience the romantic and very profound magic that we had heard existed in a far-off time—to see marriage through innocent eyes. But we didn’t realize it’s not about innocence. It’s about realism, about seeing what’s really there and not deluding ourselves with false expectations. Ironically, the wonderful thing about growing up in the Age of Divorce is that we have learned so much. It’s been very painful but we learned. So we look for signals. When one of our friends tells us he’s getting married, we look for signals to assess his chances. Well, I got a signal this morning. As the bride stepped out of the door, I caught my breath. I felt a lump in my throat and I leaned against the car for support. I was stunned. She was so beautiful. But it wasn’t just physical beauty. As Elizabeth walked behind Michael, he turned slowly and took her hand. I felt that calm electricity that happens when it’s right—the thing, whatever it is, that doesn’t happen unless it’s basically right. And I paused to appreciate the knowledge that our cynical generation has gained. And I choked back a tear. We’re okay, Michael and Elizabeth. Speak the truth to each other and be happy.”

There are three things that will endure—faith, hope and love—and the greatest of these is love. ~Paul the apostle


  1. That is very touching. I so appreciate the view that out Catholic friends have of marriage. It is viewed as a calling, a "vocation", the context for a couple's growth in holiness. I'd love to see that view emphasized more in the Protestant traditions- I believe it's Truth.

  2. Sadly, even Catholics divorce at a staggering rate. I agree, though, that marriage as a vocation is a wonderful thing to keep in mind. It goes hand-in-hand with being a parental unit to your child(ren). I will always cherish the Catholic ideals with which I was raised.

  3. I don't know about the Catholic vocation of marriage since our Baptist minister 45 years ago sat my future wife and me down and talked for hours about our future commitment. We took 3 years to get to know each other before marriage. We knew each other pretty well.

    There was no other way to go in our relationship except to live together. Neither of us wanted that as we both felt it was immoral.

    Just as the government is trying to take God out of America, we are headed for clamity or worse. Take God out of the Marriage and you have divorce.

    As that Baptist minister said so many years ago to two young kids (20 & 19). "You must always be open to each other and honest. You must have faith and trust in your marriage and to each other. Both must share equally in the decisions of your lives. Above all you must have deep spiritual love for God and each other and a commitment for marriage for eternity. If you can't find it in your heart to make that commitment then do not marry".

    The young bride and I both looked at each other and said we do with all our heart.

    I asked him to draw up a note to that effect and we still have it till this day 45 years later signed by both of us( How do you think I can still remember).

  4. Love and forgiveness thats what we need in marriage. Because if I ever get married again thats what I need.

    Probably more forgiveness.