This last weekend my good friend, Father Milt Raybould, and I officiated Erika and Roman’s wedding at Chateau Cocomar in Houston, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:
It's interesting; some couples can't remember when or how they met, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there are couples, whose first meeting proves, that while love at first sight might be more Hollywood than reality, love at first meeting can be very real. Erika and Roman are one of those special couples.
It seems like Erika had a premonition that that night was to be pivotal in her life. "I was nervous. I was excited," she says, "I was stepping outside my standard expectations and just allowing myself to be, well, myself."
There was definitely magic in the air. Roman writes, "She was beautiful, smart, inspiring, fun, open, (OK, we know that already, but listen to the rest...) and we seemed to share topic after topic and interest after interest in an experience I never imagined possible before that fateful evening. Our conversations wandered from life, to travel, to photography, to history, to music and all around. It was the most comfortable, simple, honest and fulfilling conversation I ever experienced."
But how do you really know that that love at first meeting is true love? Is that not the question that countless people have asked? Is this not the question pondered by poets, and pored upon by authors of prose? It is difficult to answer, and some might say that you just know it when you see it, but I think that Erika and Roman do offer us an answer. You might have picked up on it in what I read of their words already, but allow me to clarify.
You see, in almost all areas in life, if we realize it or not, we have to put up some type of facade. This is natural, normal, and allows us to function in and as a society. True love means, however, that with that person, we can take down those facades, and truly, deeply be ourselves. This is what Erika and Roman have.
As Roman says, "With her, I feel and appreciate life in a different way. After years of growing accustomed to never being able to truly be myself with anyone, never being able to truly be understood, never being able to truly be as silly as I would like to be sometimes – I can do it all with Erika."
Letting down these facades, allowing oneself to not only love, but also be loved is so vital. In a sense when we have that in our lives, we can truly come alive with that person. This is what an ideal marriage is really all about. As Erika says, "To me, marriage is a covenant, a bond that protects and nurtures two people, who love one another... willing to lay down their guards, to show their scars and to uplift each other in times of weakness and in times of joy."
Erika and Roman, we all pray that you continue to enjoy such a wonderful love, one that enables you to be your true selves, and fully come alive. Through this, may you experience nothing but true mutual, unmitigated and boundless happiness.