Saturday, March 08, 2014

So Today I Performed a Wedding

Every now and then I'm asked to be a minister who marries people. Maybe three or four or five times so far, not often. And each time I'm asked I try to think of something different, something cool to say to the people getting married. It leaves me a wreak.
    Today I was marrying my cuñada, my sister-in-law, to a guy she's crazy about but whom I've never met. I haven't been with my wife/ex-wife's side of the family much in the last 18 months, not since Chepa's boyfriend moved into her house. He's okay, I guess, probably very nice, but I just don't feel like partying much with him.
    So I tried to cop out of doing the Universalist Life Church Minister thing today but no one would hear it. Amelia wanted me to do the ceremony, period.
    So I got back from Peru last week. And in the last week I wrote the Forward to a friend's book, went to truancy court with Madeleina, scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors, scrubbed the tub, took the garbage to the dump, vacuumed like a wildman, cooked like crazy, scrubbed the fridge, dealt with the company building the road out front of the house about the watermain--mine--that they broke, started a feature story for the Fort Worth Weekly that's due on Friday and did a zillion other things.
    But yesterday was the day I had to sit down and write what I was going to say at the wedding. And I did and it came out nicely. At the risk of boring you all to tears, this was a part of me that came from my heart--not because I've ever been a good husband. I was rotten to Clare and lousy to Chepa; but I have learned. I've learned what not to do if I ever get another chance with either of those or someone else. So I think my preamble was nice. Here it is. I improvised off this script but this is the gist of it.

Dear friends and family, we are gathered here today to witness the the marriage of my cuñada, sister-in-law, and friend, Amelia Aguliar to David Leiter, a man she tells me she loves very much.
And I’ve been asked to say a few words about marriage and love and I’m happy to do that, though god knows why someone would ask me!
I think love is a great spark with which to light the fire of marriage.
But I think that marriage itself takes more than love.
It takes work,
It takes confidence,
It takes trust,
It takes respect,
It takes generosity of spirit.
If your partner, for instance, comes up with a cockamamie idea for a color to paint a room, do you  say that’s a rotten idea and call them stupid, knowing you’ll hurt your partner’s feelings? Or would you rather encourage your partner with love, have confidence that your partner has an idea, trust that his or her idea seems a good one to them and then, with a generosity of spirit, allow them, help them even, find that color and paint that room.
You can always repaint it if it comes out as badly as you thought it would. But you can’t always take back the erosion of love that can be caused by stomping your feet and telling your partner that their idea was stupid to begin with.

The thing is this: Love and marriage both require constant care—picture your love like a garden: You need to weed it; to water it, to fertilize it, to care for it, to nuture it. You can’t just plant a seed or a million seeds and walk away: if you do, when you come back you might find that the birds ate all your seeds and your garden is fallow; or it might be overgrown with weeds. Or the neighborhood kids used it for a party and left beer bottles and other garbage all over it. Whatever the case, what I can promise you is that it won’t be a garden anymore.
Same with love and marriage. So take the seeds of love and make your marriage something you’re proud to be part of. Something you like tending. Something you love to nuture. Make it beautiful—and when hard times come, and they come to all of us, remember to work gladly, to have confidence, to trust your partner, to respect their needs and wishes, and to never stop giving joyfully the generosity of your spirit. If you can do that, you have a chance to make a marriage work. If you don't, you don't have any chance at all.

More directly, if I can give you three short but vital tips:
Try never to go to bed angry with one another, even if it means staying up all night.
Try to have two good laughs for every tear that falls.
And try to do one new thing every day to keep your marriage fresh—just one little thing that will let your partner know how much you love them. how much you value their partnership.

And now, its time for the ceremony.
Does anyone here know of any reason why this marriage should not go forward? If you do, please speak up now—or forever hold your peace.

Now, Amelia Aguilar, cuñada, do you take David Leiter  to be your lawfully wedded husband, for better or worse, in times of richer or poorer, sickness or health till death to you part?
And, David Leiter, do you take Amelia Aguilar to be your lawfully wedded wife, for better or worse, in times of richer or poorer, sickness or health, till death do you part?

May I have the rings please?
David, can you please place this ring, the representation of the wholeness of your love, on Amelia’s finger…
Amelia, take this ring, the representation of the circle of life and love, a circle with no beginning or end, and place it on David’s finger.
I now pronounce you, in front of all your friends and family, husband and wife.

And yes, you may kiss the bride.

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