When I officiate a wedding I usually start with a moment of silence.
I guide everyone to become present in the moment, to offer their presence as a gift to the couple. We acknowledge those who are not able to be there and those who have passed on.
Then, I tell the couple’s love story—how they met, when they knew they were in love, sweet and funny moments, and we laugh and we cry.
I also address the couple and offer some thoughts about their partnership from what I have come to know of them as a couple—their strengths and what I love about their way of relating to and caring for one another. I quote poets and romantics and read them something that I hope will remind them of their highest aspirations for their relationship. I encourage them to look at one another and remember the feeling of deep love they are holding in their hearts at that moment…
‘Cause they’re gonna forget it at some point!
But I don’t say that.
I say, “Look into the eyes of your beloved. Think of all that you love about them.”
I don’t say, “Many of those things are in your mind, a figment of your imagination and expectations.”
I don’t tell them,
“This person will disappoint you by not acting according to those expectations and just being themselves. It’s not personal against you. They are just being perfectly who they are. You’ll have to forgive yourself for having illusions of what was going to happen and how your spouse was going to behave. Forgive yourself especially for any thoughts that he or she would change, with your help.
You will want to thank your beloved at that point for guiding you back to the real purpose of the relationship—for you to discover the infinite well of love within you.
When he or she is unable or unwilling to give love or comfort, when he is exhausted and has only snide comments or silence for you, when she is in self-doubt and coming at you with neediness disguised as accusations, you will be nudged toward the realization that your partner is not the source of love in your life. They are not there to give you love.
When they have nothing emotionally to give, you will have the opportunity to be the one to bring love to the situation, to give love to yourself and to be loving to your partner. Then you will experience love…and the truth that, like Dorothy found, you had it all along.”
I never tell them,
“You might get divorced. You can love someone and not want to be married to them. Your growth in this relationship may come to an end. One of you might get lost and go down a road the other chooses not to travel on. Any of that is okay. It’s not a failure. It will not be for naught if someone learns something from it. That is success.”
And I think, but I don’t dare say,
“You may have been initially attracted to each other due to unconscious beliefs about yourself or unresolved issues with your parents. If the latter is so, you’ll be horrified in a few years when you realize how much your partner acts like your mother or father. Don’t fret. Part of you was hoping to recreate that dynamic and this time ‘win’ the person’s love or attention. Your task will be to let go of your need for that replay. And to realize, again, that you are love.”
If you believe (even unknowingly) that people leave you, or that you deserve to be mistreated or abused, your partner will play his or her part in fulfilling that prophecy for you—unless you bring those dark thoughts into the light where they can dissolve…into love.”
I would like to tell the sweethearts,
“You will have chances to practice being with annoyance, anger, sadness and worry. You can learn acceptance, surrender and how to remember your sense of humor. You can experience the heights of joy and passion if you are vulnerable enough to go to the depths of heartache.”
However, I just don’t feel it is the time and the place for such truths.
Most couples (and their parents) aren’t expecting to hear “divorce,” “heartache” and the messy reality tale of marriage at their perfectly designed affair.
Plus, I can be blunt—“abrupt” even, according to my (second) husband who gazed lovingly into my eyes on a beach during our own marriage ceremony just seven year ago. So I soften the edges, I give it to ‘em gently.
I say, “Remember the feeling in your heart in this moment. You may need to recall it down the road.”
Author: Reverend Lisa Sarick
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Dmitry Boyarin/Flickr