For much of my adult life, I was apprehensive towards marriage.
I suppose family and environment contributed. My parents are divorced, as were most parents of the other kids I knew growing up. Some were messy, some were violent, and some were cordial. All, however, were expensive and trying and heartbreaking for the families involved.
Then you have the statistics. When I was younger, it was almost half of all marriages that ended in divorce. It eventually became more than half. And if you get married a second or third time, the chances of it ending in divorce increases even more.
While I understood the meaning, sentiment, and importance it carries to so many people due to their own religious or cultural beliefs, it seemed like a risk that may not be worth taking. Aside from the financial benefits, why would you commit yourself to another person through a ceremony and official legal title? I mean, aren’t love, words, and intent enough?
Not for my friends Mark and Naomi.
I met Naomi a couple years back when I stumbled upon her “Simpler Living” blog. I was intrigued by the concept of decluttering, since for much of my life the metaphorical mess in my life had regularly transcended to the real world. Also, I like free things, so when I saw she was giving away a copy of Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing I jumped at the opportunity.
We got the opportunity to meet because of the book, and I also ended up taking some CDs off her hands as well. We bonded over our mutual tastes in music and fascination with people keeping chickens in Troy. Then I met her fiancee, Mark, and he and I bonded over our love of music and sang a stirring rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” True story. We were magic together.
Thus began a friendship with two of the sweetest, kindest, most laid-back and open-minded people I’ve ever met.
Last weekend I had the honor of being invited to, and attending, their wedding. True to form, it wasn’t a tacky, overbearing ceremony. They didn’t have all of the extravagance that weighs down so many weddings and gives you an insight into the bride and/or groom (I’m just saying, she ain’t messing with my “broke-broke” as they say on the radio cut of that Kanye West song).
Instead, it was simple and elegant and concise and heartfelt. It took place an hour away in an idyllic country setting on a gorgeous Fall day that felt more like Spring; cliche but appropriate for the a new beginning and journey for the prospective bride and groom.
Inside, with the presence of family and some close friends, we waited for the ceremony to begin. Mark came out first with a smile that never left his face that day or evening. Naomi arrived, looking elegant and elated, and they began the ceremony. They read their own vows; both of which were heartfelt, organic and nearly tear-inducing even for a cynical crank like myself.
When it was done, I paused and almost said out loud “wait, it’s over?” This was my first non-Catholic wedding, you see, and so I’m not accustomed to things not dragging out for two hours and everything being sung at me. It was a refreshing change of pace.
At the reception we chatted until the bride and groom arrived. They shared the first dance to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” Again, I nearly cried. Simply a wonderful moment, and my favorite song from one of my favorite albums.
Then I got it. It isn’t about cultural morays or expectations, or legal obligations, or titles or sharing of names. It was about this moment, two people sharing a love of so many things. It is appropriate for these two to be married and share their commitment with all around them. After all, I’m trying to come up with two better people that I know than those two, and I’m honestly unable to come up with anything. Those two deserve each other, and I’m not sure that anybody else would be deserving of the love, care, and lifetime commitment that either of them can offer.
As for myself? I’m not sure how I feel about this marriage thing, and I’m still not quite sure I get it. But I’m sure glad Mark and Naomi do. And it’s my hope that I, as well as those of you reading this, are granted the opportunity to experience that level of love and happiness.
- Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
- Listen to me LIVE as guest co-host of Alternative to Sleeping tonight at 10pm!
- Realtors: “WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH” George Hearst III: “NONONOO SSSSHHH IT’S OKAY, it’s okay…here. Here’s a pacifier.” Kristi: “#oops.”
- Open Mic web series premiere tonight @ Lark Tavern
- Trust Me, You’re Going to Want to See This