Sunday, December 9, 2018

Love Language

On Saturday evening, I officiated Arielle and TJ’s wedding ceremony, at the Howell and Dragon, in Dallas, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Nice guys finish last. That doesn’t sound right or proper or just, does it? However, based on the world around us today you could be forgiven for taking this cynical view of the world to heart. 

That’s why Arielle and TJ, and their love story gives me hope. I love their shared philosophy of living. Arielle tells us: “We each need to contribute, be kind to one another, and do our small part to make the world a better place. When you are good to the world, the world is good to you. And not just because (of) karma... I believe that when you are a good person and in a good mindset, you attract and welcome other positive things into your life... Helping others and doing good deeds... being grateful and appreciative of life.” 


It helps to have been raised with a positive outlook regarding people, the world and your place in it, like Arielle and TJ were. As TJ says, “My childhood was surrounded by educated, liberal and kind people who were very spiritual... I... have fond memories growing up... and making lifelong friends.” My most spiritual place is in the wild outside in nature. It always has been.”

One thing that can really enhance this philosophy of life is being lucky enough to find the right partner, who loves you, challenges you, and with whom you can experience mutual growth. As TJ tells us, this is them: “We’ve grown as people, partners, pet parents, and have brought a unique perspective to one another's life. We have learned one another's love language and that partnership and love is much more than a honeymoon romance novel...” 

And part of that is recognizing how lucky you are to have found such a person, and how you need to value that good fortune, since in TJ’s words, “That’s not something that is easily learned or achieved in most relationships.” That’s why he emphasizes how much he, “cherish(es),” their, “relationship and love,” and how much it “has evolved and continues to get better.”

Arielle agrees: “I’ve always wanted to find... my other half, someone who gets me and loves my quirks but also pushes me and makes me be the best version of myself and I do the same for them... I sought a deeper connection, one that will last a lifetime...”

That’s the kind of relationship that is worth waiting for. That’s why Arielle says, “Because it was so important for me to find the right person... I wasn’t in a rush... I wanted to wait until the right person came into my life... It took a while to find him but I did...”

Finally, when you have this outlook, waiting doesn’t even feel like waiting. As TJ says, “We didn’t decide to get married now... it felt natural to get married now.”

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Only Thing I’ve Never Questioned

This last Saturday afternoon, I officiated Viviana and Pablo’s English-Spanish-Hebrew wedding ceremony, at The Vineyards at Chappel Lodge, in Austin, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Clearly, Pablo’s initial impression on Viviana is the stuff rom-coms are made of. My kids usually tell me not to be too corny, but I don’t care. I have to quote Viviana’s description of first meeting Pablo. I just hope I can get through this, without tearing up: “To be honest, I don’t actually remember when I met Pablo.” Oh, boy. Hmmm... Maybe Pablo’s description is a little more emotional: “(I was) hanging out with friends from high school and making (new) friends along the way... Among those new friends Vivi came along. She was about fifteen... We... called them the kindergarten group.” Oops...

Seriously, though, not that any of us can control how we meet our soulmates, the way Viviana and Pablo’s relationship developed is quite ideal. Pablo says, “After a couple of years Vivi... started going out with me and my group of friends, the older ones. Little by little we just started going out on our own...” And Viviana says, “The more I got to know him, the more I liked him and how he thought (about) and saw the world.”


Gradually, methodically, imperceptibly almost, they continued to slowly build on that solid foundation of friendship, and soon they were in love. You just can’t find a better way to construct your love story than that. I love how Viviana describes this: “What makes us the couple we are is that we have really grown up together, and are really truly great friends before anything else... I think we’ve both known we would get married eventually but, like everything else we’ve done together, we took our time until it felt right. We’ve really built a whole life together...”

This type of love can be so solid, that it warps your sense of time. As Viviana says, “All of a sudden, it’s been ten years...” And, as a fellow neurotic, I can think of no better description of Pablo’s certitude about this moment, “I always second guess everything I do, in school, at the work place, (and) with my friends. I always question everything that I do... the only thing I’ve never questioned is the love I have for Viviana.”

This is why Viviana says, “Marriage is this next natural step,” and why she says they are excited now, “to be able to share our life and future with all our loved ones in one place and make it official.”

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Existentialism


Saturday evening, I officiated Rachel and Tom’s wedding ceremony, at Hotel ICON, in Houston, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

There is an interesting thing we do as humans: We often assume that the way things were in “the good old days” was the right way, and that for all of history things were done that very way. To top that off, we usually “remember” the past not as it really happened, but some idealized version of it.


Take, for example, the much-maligned generation Rachel and Tom belong to, the Millennials. You would think that every generation prior to this generation was hard working, responsible, and serious, but these kids today! Of course, if you read anything like a newspaper or magazine from 30-40 years ago, they were saying the exact same thing about that generation. There are even instances of this in archaeological records, because apparently even thousands of years ago, all the young people wanted to do was munch on avocado toast. Who knew?!

One of the things we hear is going to hell in a handbasket is marriage. Apparently, Rachel and Tom’s generation are destroying that institution too. (Not really.) And, yet, when you look just at the anecdotal record from this one couple, it seems like we may be headed in a better direction, than any other previous generation has.

Not that you would know that from the first thing Rachel says about how they met, which is (I am not making this up), “This is my version… He tends to fabricate the story of how we met; FYI.” She does concede that, “I was captivated by his blue eyes,” (Tom claims it was his muscles too), but she still says, “He seemed entirely too young for me.”

Still Kim, her roommate, was determined to set them up, and Tom was patient. Rachel eventually gave him a chance, and they became a couple. Rachel tells us that from, “the beginning of our relationship, I knew this was something special… organic and natural,” and Tom says, “It was effortless... She gave me that feeling, and it hasn’t gone away.”

Now, I don’t just quote them saying those things to be corny, though corny is almost a requirement in wedding ceremonies. What is hiding in these quotes, what this generation takes so much for granted, is that sense of equality between the partners, and the recognition that the ideal marriage, one that actually only fully came into being with this generation, is a partnership of equals.

I’m not sure even Rachel and Tom realize the enormity of this. They just take this as a given. When speaking of the fact that they spent two of their four years in a long-distance relationship, Rachel says, “We made long distance work, simply because we respected each other’s desire to succeed and become great.” And, she adds, “He continues to motivate me to accomplish my goals.”

This would be unfathomable in previous generations, and I often think about what how much potential was wasted in previous generations, because marriage was not such a partnership of equals. This is true for both women and men. It is this type of true and equal partnership, after all, that enables Tom to say, “She has been by my side, during the most challenging times in my life, and (has) simply been my rock.”

This is why Rachel says, “I am incredibly blessed to have him in my life, and I couldn’t be… proud(er) to call him my husband.” And, this is why Tom says, “She is my ride or die, and (is) the only person I could say, ‘I do’ to.”  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Incredibly Blessed


Friday morning, I officiated Jasmine and Colin’s wedding ceremony, at Event 1013, in Plano, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I’m an existentialist. No, I’m not a philosophy major. I can’t say that I’ve read enough philosophical works to write an academic paper on the subject. All the same, that’s what I am. So, whenever I run into a fellow existentialist, I pay attention. And Colin told me he is existentialist. Jasmine didn’t tell me, at least not as explicitly, but I think she is too.

The essence of existentialism is that if you have a why, you can deal with any what. No, really; that’s it. Oh, and nobody tells you what the why is. Not because they don’t want to; because they can’t. Only you can figure out what it is. It is not external to you; it is internal.


Existentialists are nihilists, but not in the colloquial sense. Nihilists believe that nothing has inherent meaning. Negative nihilists, which is the colloquial meaning of the word, believe that, therefore, nothing matters. Positive nihilists, which is what existentialists are, believe the opposite. Things matter, because you have infused them with meaning. Your what now has a why. That is why finding the why, finding meaning, is so important. And, it’s why it’s so sad that most people don’t take the time to do this, at an early enough age. I know I didn’t.

Jasmine and Colin did. When you really pay attention to how they have lived their lives, as individuals, you can see this. Each of them had an independent streak that showed up, while they were still in high school. They had been offered different answers to the question of why. There was nothing inherently wrong with those answers. They just weren’t theirs.

Each of them took their time, studying and working, working and studying. They explored their identities, and built their relationships with the world. They took their time, they didn’t hurry, they lived a little. They thought, and they read.

And then they met each other. They were a little older than their friends had been when they met that special person. Then again, they were a little older than their friends had been, reaching most adult milestones. They were better for it. They truly knew themselves.

That, I believe, explains what you are about to hear. Listen to Jasmine: “It was the best first date I had ever had. We talked and joked for hours! After dinner we didn’t really want the night to end so we hopped on over to the pub. It was the night of a world series game so it wasn’t the quietest place for a date but it didn’t matter, we still had an amazing time.”

That amazing time continues to this very day, and effortlessly. Just listen to Colin: “Life with Jasmine feels very natural and easy. From my perspective we didn’t have a honeymoon period, things have always been very even keeled and smooth... Interacting with her is as simple as breathing, which for an introvert like me is incredible.”

And, why again was this? Because they had taken the time to get to know themselves; they had taken the time to figure out their why, and so a shared why came more naturally. As Jasmine says, “Colin really let me open up, and be who I truly am. I had no reservations around him, and I always felt so good. That’s when I knew I couldn’t let him go.”

When two existentialists find that someone who mutually answers their shared why, an incredible thing can happen. It can help them deepen and enrich their individual whys too. That is why Colin says, “In our short time together we have contributed to the other’s personal growth by quite a bit, but mine especially. I can’t imagine life without her beside me and I’m often sad I hadn’t found her sooner.”

Jasmine sums up this idea and this journey of discovery and meaning beautifully: “He is everything I’ve ever wanted and needed in a man... I slowed down and thought it through... I waited for my partner and soulmate... I have found him!”

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A True Origin Story


This last Saturday, I officiated Rachel and CJ’s wedding ceremony, at the Bryan Museum, on Galveston Island, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I love origin stories. Every relationship has one. It’s just not always obvious when it is an origin story, and when it isn’t. You might assume that an origin story is when you met. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t.

Take, Rachel and CJ. Here is how CJ describes the time they first met: “I technically met my future wife, Rachel Pink, freshman year at a frat part. I wish it was more poetic then that, but it is what it is. We were just passing ships at that point though. She was being introduced around the fraternity by a friend of mine. This friend had talked about Rachel... before... about how cool she was, how they were both from Texas, how she had a long-distance boyfriend.... A quick hello, and she was off. A vague memory for both of us.”


Well, so much for first impressions... Seriously, though, she does remember their meeting, and confirms the reason it didn’t go farther then: “I was actually not available at the time. Meeting single guys wasn’t really a focus of mine since I was in a long-distance relationship.”

Looking back, though, Rachel makes a profound statement: “I truly believe the universe had a plan for CJ and me, and that we were destined to meet.” Wow. Indeed, their next interaction happened just one week after the boyfriend was out of the picture.

Rachel picks up the story: “I went to a day party where I was briefly reintroduced to CJ... Then later that night, I was at my apartment cooking some dinner in my kitchen… when three guys walked in to meet my roommate before going to another party. One of those guys was CJ. He walked over into the kitchen where I was cooking and started talking to me. I... remember being a little thrown off but delighted that this guy walked away from where he was with the others to come talk to me. He stayed there with me in the kitchen talking to me and sampling my food until the others wanted to leave to head to their party.”

A little different from that first interaction, huh? Now, ladies, try to contain your excitement as I tell you the next thing CJ did, incorrigible romantic that he is. That’s right, he asked her to join him and his friends on a hike, so challenging that it has a name, the Devil’s Punchbowl. And, no, I am not making any of this up.

Seriously, though, Rachel says that, “on the way back from the hike (that I somehow survived), CJ... was asking me a lot of questions... He seemed to truly want to get to know me; not just... on the surface. After that, CJ pursued me... and I was ecstatic, nervous and blissful all at once... I could tell from the beginning that this was going to be something big... I knew he was really special, and I knew that I was about to start something with him, that was going to change my life.”

You know this is the true origin story of their relationship, because CJ confirms it and being a story teller, adds color to it: “Rachel was brought to another party by the same friend, but this time she was single. We were re-introduced... Later that night some friends and I went over to Rachel’s friend, and at the time, roommate’s apartment... I walked in to Rachel standing over a hot oven, or maybe it was a skillet... Here was this woman of mystery, someone I had been hearing off-hand about for over a year now but never got to really know; dark hair, dark eyes, beautiful and natural... I don’t remember what my friends were doing, what Rachel’s friend was doing, but I remember talking to Rachel in that kitchen. I wanted to get to know her... The hike was great fun for me (I learned later in life that Rachel hates hiking), but it was the car ride back that proved fateful. I don’t remember how I pulled it off but I remember deliberately sitting in the backseat of the car so I could talk to Rachel. It was my chance to really get to know her. It was also the day I got her number. From that day on, my sights were set... She was something different, she was special, and whatever I had planned for the rest that semester, year, college, life, had changed.”

That’s what a true origin story is all about, in my opinion. It is a moment, often realized only later, that diverts you from a previous course, and looked back upon sows the seed for something different, something great, something life-changing.

Importantly, and contrary to what you might think, this does not happen automatically. You have to choose to make what happened to you your very own origin story. In 2017, CJ made that choice. Here is what he says: “I visited a friend of mine... We started discussing the move and marriage. I knew I was going to marry Rachel, eventually. But it still at the time didn’t seem like something that would happen in the present; it would happen in the future. But that night, through the conversation with my friend, I decided that it was time to flip that switch in my mind... I was going to make it happen in the present... Within two weeks of that conversation I was putting in place plans for the proposal... And therefore, here we are…”

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Conquer Anything, Together

Saturday evening, Reverend David Harry and I co-officiated Natalie and Dave’s wedding ceremony, at the Brik Venue, in Fort Worth Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Doing what I do, I hear many different stories about how people met. Usually, I do not need an elaborate explanation of the mode of transportation they were using at the time. I usually understand what you mean, if you tell me you met on a train, a plane, or a cruise ship. Though I may be not as well versed in the intricacies of how these machines work, as my grandfather, the airline mechanic, was, I understand them well enough, that I can concentrate on the story. But a Pedal Hopper? Seriously?! What on earth is a Pedal Hopper?


Dave, in describing how he and Natalie first met, helpfully clarifies what this is: “Natalie and I met on a Pedal Hopper bar crawl in Denver, CO. It is essentially a street car that you can rent for a group of 10-12 friends, and it is powered by the group’s ability to pedal across town from bar to bar.”

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Recently, I did marry a couple of serious bike riders, who found in each other kindred spirits, and fell in love through biking. That is even how they met the – I am not making this up – Disciples of Christ pastor, who co-officiated their wedding with me. Natalie and Dave, are, um, different… 

Listen to Natalie: “The physical element of the bike crawl turned out to be a real pain… so I made sure to find the broken seat on the contraption and pretend to pedal in an effort to not get called out…” Dave shared her lack of enthusiasm: “Natalie and I both found each other through a mutual distaste for pedaling, and struck up a conversation while the rest of the group picked up our slack.” 

You might think that shared slacking off wouldn’t be strong enough a spark to light a relationship. You would be wrong, because Natalie says, “I’ve never felt so connected to another person so quickly on our first date. From that point forward, we were never apart.”

Now, you may be thinking that I shared that story, just for humor’s sake. To that I would say, shame on you. It wasn’t JUST for humor’s sake. I really believe that this activity, or inactivity, as the case may be, has some really important lessons for marriage. 

Some people like to speak of “traditional marriage,” as if marriage has been static through the generations. In actuality, marriage has changed with every generation. 

Fortunately, like most things we take for granted in modern life, and contrary to the naysayers, marriage today is better than it was in the past. Marriage today has the potential to be a true partnership, like a riding a tandem bike, at first, and eventually, when you have a family, like driving a pedal hopper, where the couple needs to all the pedaling. (Sorry, Natalie and Dave.)

However, we should not misconstrue what the word partnership means. It does not, and I would even say, almost never is, a 50/50 proposition. Sometimes one person does more of the pedaling, sometimes the other does. Sometimes, both individuals might be pedaling, but one of them directs where the vehicle is going, say to Texas, and the other obligingly follows. And, sometimes, the couple needs to take their feet off the pedals, and let their family and friends pedal for them. That is why Pastor David just asked all of you to commit to uphold and support the couple in their marriage. 

The most important thing, friends, is to continue to be there for each other, like these two have throughout their relationship, whether you can pedal or not. If you play your cards right, the moments when one or both of you cannot pedal, will strengthen, not weaken your relationship. As Natalie says, “I thought I loved Dave as much as I possibly could; the way he unequivocally cared for me without hesitation or pause, made my love for him grow deeper.” And, as Dave says, “With Natalie, it never felt like it was too much. Every challenge felt achievable, and every problem felt solvable… We have worked so incredibly well together… I feel no fear looking into our future together, because we have already proven our ability to conquer anything, together.”  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Listening is Where Love Begins


Thursday afternoon, I officiated Lacy and Jeff’s wedding ceremony, at the Murphy Community Center, in Murphy, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Lacy and Jeff have each lived such interesting lives, and have accomplished so much. They are both great conversationalists. You really can learn a lot just from talking to them. They each have fascinating stories to tell. 


I believe, though, that that might throw you off in discovering the secret of their relationship. I wanted, therefore, to steer you back in that direction. 

You see, there is a danger in having lived an interesting life, and having the gift of telling a good story. You might begin to think, that it’s all about you. That can be lethal, not only to a romantic relationship, but to any relationship, period. 

Two Jewish comedians, twins who refer to themselves as the “Sklar Brothers” touch on this in their comedy. They claim that many celebrities’ downfall stems from this problem. The remedy they suggest is that each celebrity have a designated “No Man”. This person’s task would be, when everyone else tells the celebrity that because he is the greatest, there is nothing he should not do, is to say, “Dumb idea; not everything is about you.”

This is, actually, an ancient Roman idea. When a victorious general would parade down the streets of Rome, in triumph, there would be one slave, whose job it was to stand with him in his chariot, and whisper that this is all fleeting. 

The common element to these ideas is listening. It is through the act of listening that one realizes and remembers that it’s really not all about you. And, you have to listen even when the other person is not speaking. 

That last part might sound odd. How can you listen when the other person isn’t speaking? Jeff recounts a simple act on Lacy’s part, that clarifies what I mean. They were about to meet for the first time. “We agreed to meet at a Starbucks in Wylie. Shortly before the time selected, she texted me saying she would be late. That showed me that this was an intelligent person with feelings for the other (unmet) person - me”. 

Lacy tells us about this first meeting too: “In our first meeting, I was drawn to his interesting life, knowledge and travels, and he listened to me.” There it is, again. 

They went on a great first date, and when he called a few days later, here’s what happened: “Lacy told me she was sick and feeling terrible. I thought that she needed some Jewish penicillin (chicken soup), and I made her a pot (from scratch) and brought it over to her. She was just amazed...” Again, Jeff listened, and listened deeply, focusing on Lacy’s needs, because he had inculcated himself to realize, that in life, in general, it’s not all about you. No wonder Lacy says about Jeff, “He cares for me like I have never been cared for. 

The Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, once said that “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” And, perhaps the most famous Presbyterian minister ever, Mr. Fred Rogers, wrote once, “Listening is where love begins...” 

Lacy and Jeff, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep listening, keep caring, keep loving, and you’ll go the distance, as you embark on your next shared adventure.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

More than Worth It


Saturday evening, I officiated Nicole and Harlan’s wedding ceremony, at Latrobe's on Royal, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Friends, our shared traditions embrace lifelong learning, and learning from everyone. So, whenever I officiate a wedding, I ask myself, this couple being unique individuals, what can I learn from them, what are they, consciously or maybe even unconsciously, teaching me, and indeed us? So, I ask each person I marry to write an autobiographical essay to help me answer just that question.


Nicole and Harlan’s essays were strikingly different, not in content, so much as in form. Harlan’s essay is very orderly and sequential. It’s divided into five short paragraphs, corresponding to the five points I ask each couple to address. It’s almost like this physician used to write code for a living... Nicole’s essay is more free form, stream-of-consciousness-like.

However, taken together, I found their essays to be a fascinating meditation on marriage as a vehicle to a life of greater meaning. In that sense, Nicole’s description of Harlan’s future plans at one point can be deceptive: “Harlan had been telling me that he never wanted to get married - to anyone - and he wanted to live alone in a trailer on the beach and surf and read books.” Lest you think I she is making this up, allow me to quote Harlan: “I assumed I would be a bachelor, probably a reclusive one, reading and living near a beach.”

Now, though there is some humor in this, Harlan touches upon a great truth. There IS a tension in marriage, as there is in any relationship, but more so. Marriage does mean sacrificing a little bit of yourself, your autonomy, your independence. Ignoring this is not a great recipe for a successful marriage. However, there is a reason that every hero myth, every origin story of religions and of nations contains sacrifice at its heart. It is good for the soul.

And so, when Harlan adds, after discussing his original plans for hermitage, four words, “Then I met Nicole,” you can sense that this origin story will be heading in a very different direction. Not surprisingly, here’s what Harlan says next: “The more I learned about her, the more I cared about her, and I eventually fell in love... Trading my independence for a real relationship and commitment... was more than worth it, because she loved me so much.”

Nicole picks up the story, with words prominently featured in every romance novel and every bodice ripper, “So, I moved to North Dakota.” Wait, what?! Seriously, though, with their plans for marriage set, and with their medical careers still developing, Nicole and Harlan were set for a long engagement. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the beautiful thing about marriage: You get to do you. There are many different ways to get it right.

However, as Nicole spent that year on the frozen tundra of the Dakotas, with Harlan back in sunny California, they reflected on an important truth. Nicole says, they, “decided that it was better not to wait.” Glib as it may sound, sometimes you just realize that life is too short and too precious. This is not true of every marriage, but when you have committed to marriage as a vehicle for a deeply meaningful life, as Nicole and Harlan did, this becomes evident pretty quickly.

When that happens, it makes sense to get to it. As Harlan says, “I cannot imagine my life without Nicole. I want to share my life with her, and I know it is more meaningful because of her. Marrying her is my way of confirming my commitment to her. It... is a symbolic gesture to her to show how much I love her and that no matter what happens I want us to be together for the rest of our lives.”

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Play Ball!


Saturday evening, I officiated Kaylea and Jack’s wedding ceremony, at the Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas, in Irving, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Baseball has not only played a large part in Jack’s family’s life, it was key to Kaylea and Jack coming together, in the first place. Listen to Jack: “I was at a party where some of my baseball teammates lived, standing in the doorway when I looked up and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever laid my eyes on. Her smile was something I would never forget. We ended up talking for just a few minutes before she had to leave, but I knew I wanted to get to know this girl.”


Wow. Now, I didn’t grow up in a baseball playing country, but I think that one might say that Kaylea hit a home run.

Kaylea seemed no less smitten: “I remember that first time I laid eyes on him. My girlfriend invited me to a party at ‘the baseball house’ and there was this extremely good-looking man, with the most amazing dimples and smile, in the doorway, just standing there by himself. My friend had left me at this point and so Jack and I started talking and really HIT it off.”

Baseball and marriage have more to do with each other, than you might think. In fact, one sociologist has posited that more baseball in a region correlates with higher chances of staying married! The region with the most baseball teams and lowest level of divorce? The Northeast, where Kaylea and Jack live!

BTW, how long have Kaylea and Jack been together, now that they are going up to the relationship major leagues? Jack tells us, “We have now been together for 9 exciting years.” That’s right, 9. You just can’t make this up!

Now, you may think that my allusion to minors and majors is just a turn of phrase. Not so. In baseball, perhaps more than in any other sport, you need to learn and grow, regardless of how much talent or innate giftedness you think you may have. Kaylea and Jack know that. Kaylea pointedly says that they didn’t just mark time in their relationship, rather, “9 years we have also just been able to grow with one another.”

Jack elaborates on this: “We've had so many great experiences we have shared together. We have also shared difficult times together. It's the tough times, I feel, that made our relationship that much stronger.”

This is such an important truth. Sure, everyone wants to win every day. No one sets out in spring training not wanting to make it to the World Series. But, even the best team, which at this wedding is the Pirates, doesn’t win every game, and arguably you learn and grow from the games you lose, as much you do from the games you win.

This is why I feel the advice of Rick Gabrielly, in Why Marriage is Just Like Baseball, resonates, “In reality maybe we should look at each game (each day of marriage) as an opportunity. An opportunity to play on a team. To be in the game. To enjoy the experience for just that. A chance to play the game we love... To be a part of something bigger than ourselves... Some days you win, some days you lose, but you always want to play again.”
           
With due respect to Rick, Kaylea makes it sound more romantic, “Words cannot express how excited I am to marry Jack. He is my best friend, my soulmate, and the love of my life. I can't wait to see what the future holds. I know it will be great, because I will have Jack by my side.” And Jack is no slouch either when he says: “I can't wait to see what the world brings us, but I know having my beautiful bride next to me will make me the happiest man alive.”

Well, Kaylea and Jack, all that’s left for me to say, before you do some of the talking, is that immortal phrase, usually obscured by a protective face mask, “Play ball...”

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Heart and Soul


Saturday evening, I officiated Angeline and Justin’s wedding ceremony at the Emerald at Queensridge, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Clark County government officials were recently confronted with a true problem, the kind that bedevils local governments, and keeps county executives awake at night. You might think it was a lack of affordable housing or the plight of low income workers, or gambling addictions due to Las Vegas’ major industry. Of course, if you thought that, you would be a fool.

No; the problem the wrestled with was much more serious. Sure, they said to themselves, we have a number of marriage license offices, even one on the Strip that is open seven days a week. That means, though, and I don’t mean to bring up such an upsetting issue at such a joyous occasion, that couples flying in to Las Vegas who want to get married, have to leave the airport!

So, Clark County’s government officials opened a new pop up marriage license office at McCarran International Airport, and of course, they put it at baggage claim. USA Today did caution, “Keep in mind that getting a marriage license doesn’t mean you’ll be legally married. You’ll still need to find Elvis or another legally authorized person to perform a proper marriage ceremony.” Still, I would not entirely dismiss the rumors that Lynn Goya, the Clark County Clerk, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, you might be asking yourself, did he think of using that story because it inherently has something to do with Angeline and Justin, or did he just have that one chambered for his next Las Vegas wedding? To that I would say, shame on you. I will show you how it is all connected.


See, you need to remember that Vegas, in the eyes of most of us, is the Strip, weddings in the backseat of the pink Cadillac, and the first and what should have been the only Hangover movie. To the real people of Las Vegas, though, there is actually a real city that they live in, work in, play in, and fall in love in, just like Angeline and Justin did.

In fact, they met in what might seem to outsiders the very antithesis of the Strip, the university lecture hall. That’s right, they came to UNLV to study, or at least that is what they told their very skeptical families…

As Angeline tells us, “I sat behind him in class because I thought he was pretty cute!” That was a key time in Angeline’s life; it was anything but the kind of carefree existence we associate with this city. “The semester I met him was my first semester back… I had an unfortunate medical issue where I was in and out of the hospital… for… months… I was quite possibly the most depressed I had ever been in my life. I felt like I wasn’t living… like I wasn’t myself anymore.”

Enter Justin. “I felt a sense of happiness that I had not felt for a very long time. He was funny and smart, and knew what to say to make me laugh. As the semester went on, we grew closer and began to date. It was on those dates that I felt like I finally got back a part of me that I thought I had lost for good. Justin made me feel alive again, and it ultimately felt like he truly saved my life.”

Wow.

Justin describes the genesis and the evolution of their relationship, um, well, differently, shall we say, “We started dating and somewhere along the way, before we even dated, my exact thought was: ‘Oh [expletive deleted], I’m going to end up marrying this girl. Oh, well, it's about damn time.’” This kind of statement, as well as the next, is music to any County Clerk’s ears, here in the Great State of Nevada: “I decided I would like to keep her around permanently, as she was awesome.”

Seriously, though, listen to what he says about why he wants to spend the rest of his life with her: “When I am with her, I can do anything. She helps me be the person I want to be… I know I never want her to go away… I know that she is the best thing that ever happened to me. I know that I love her.” 

And, Angeline adds her two cents, “It’s his dedication to not only my happiness, but to my family as well, that makes me confident that he is the one I want to spend my life with… I know deep down in my heart that he is the man I am meant to be with, and I can only hope that I can bring him the same happiness he has brought me.” And, she too says something that would make our friend, Lynn Goya, Clark County Clerk, very excited, “I don’t want to spend another moment where I am not fully committed to him, heart and soul, as his wife.”

Friday, August 24, 2018

Live the Life of Love


Thursday evening, I officiated Sue and Raphael’s wedding ceremony, at the Munro Boutique Hotel, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:


I was born and live in the United States, but I grew up in Israel. Last month, on American Independence Day, I posted this observation on Facebook: The great thing about being a dual citizen of both countries is that, unlike my fellow Americans, I have personally met many people who resisted British tyranny, and fought in the War of Independence

One of the most interesting characters of early Israel was Golda Meir, who became Israel’s prime minister. My favorite thing about Golda was her acid tongue. That’s characteristic of us American Israelis. Her best one-liner, in my opinion was something she once said to Israeli bad boy and much feared general, Moshe Dayan. Reportedly, since she had ice in her veins, she kept it together during the dark hours of the beginning of the Yom Kippur War, while he lost it. And, so on another occasion, exasperated with his pompous behavior, she said, “Don’t act so humble; you’re not that great.” I know it took a while to tell that one, but you have to admit, it was worth the payoff!

Why do I bring this up? Well, because I have had the privilege of interacting with Sue and Raphael over these past few months, and the first thing that comes to mind about them is their humility; not the fake kind exhibited by Dayan, the real kind. What’s the difference? Well, the Talmud, the foundational book of Judaism, tells us. It quotes a source that says that, “When Rabbi [Judah, the Patriarch] died, humility and fear of sin ceased.” Then it says that “Rabbi Joseph said… Do not include the word 'humility', because there is I.” Did you get that? Humility is still alive and well, he says; just look at how wonderfully humble I am!

Now, though the Talmud does include jokes, this is not one of them. Rabbi Joseph is being serious. A later sage clarifies what he means. Humility does not mean thinking you are dirt. True humility means knowing your worth exactly, not more and not less. So, Rabbi Joseph was not bragging; he just felt like he knew his true worth. And that quality of Rabbi Joseph is the quality that I saw in both these people, Sue and Raphael.

In fact, one of the first things Raphael said about Sue is how humble she was. Like every brash American, one of my first questions was, “What do you do for a living?” Sue explained what she did, nothing more, nothing less. Raphael made sure to point that out, that she was kind of a big deal at her company. You know what he then did, though? Described what he did, nothing more. Since, I have every person I marry write an autobiographical essay, I discovered later, that a less humble man would have made a very big deal of the success he has had, with his careers, plural. Raphael is very level-headed about it. He truly realizes his good fortune in having had two great mentors, who helped him get to where he was.

Now, you might wonder why I am harping on their professional success? Isn’t this supposed to be about their love story? Well, it is. At the core of their love story lies the same humility, in the sense of truly and accurately understanding your worth and who you are. It is the secret of their relationship. The ideal love story is one where you fully know yourself, and this realization helps you understand how lucky you are to have that special someone in your life.

Listen to what Sue says, and you’ll see what I mean: “I love Raphael with my entire being and I want to continue to grow with him emotionally… He brings out the best in me and makes me very happy. I know that he loves and cares for me… Marriage takes two individuals to spiritual depths that can't be achieved by any other means. I believe that to make a commitment in the eyes of God is the ultimate union between a man and a woman and I want to do this with Raphael as I want to share the rest of my life on earth with him.”

What can you say to that, but wow.

Now, listen to Raphael, “I now know the meaning of love, how it feels to love and be loved. Words do not express the emotion of our love for each other… Sue and I revel in the intense spiritual depth of our togetherness… I… want to share everything that life has to offer with her. We enrich each other’s life so much and bring out the very best in each other… We have both waited all our live to find each other, now is the time to live the life of love, passion and romance that eluded us both for so long.”

I can’t top that; there is no use even trying.

Sue and Raphael, what we wish for you is that you continue to exhibit and practice this true humility that has made you what you are, as individuals and as a couple. With that, your bond will truly be unbreakable.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Overwhelmingly Grateful


Saturday evening, I officiated Rachel and Mark’s wedding ceremony, at the Renaissance Dallas Addison, in Addison, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

In fact, in Rachel and Mark’s relationship they continuously emphasize not only how they try to learn from every circumstance they find themselves in, as individuals and as a couple. They emphasize how much they learn from each other.


The Ancient Rabbis said, “Who is wise? He who learns from every person.” True enough; but I found the use of the word “person”, specifically, interesting. Why? Because of something Rachel relates about their first anniversary of being a couple: “He took me to his parents’ house where he made me dinner and we ate outside a secluded area in the background surrounded by string lights and yard lanterns. I knew from that moment that I couldn’t lose him. He was, and will always be, my person.”

(Gentlemen, could you hear the barely perceptible groan from the ladies here, about this guy being formally taken off the market in just a few minutes? We better step up our game!)

Seriously, though, it’s the use of this term “my person”, on Rachel’s part that caught my eye. Faith Fishkin writes, “The term ‘my person’ originated from the show ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ My own personal definition is the person you go to for everything, the person you can’t live without, the person you can’t stay mad at, and the person that supports you in everything that you do. Being someone’s ‘person’ is a commitment. There is a very big difference between being someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend and being someone’s person. When someone is your person, you have such a deep connection and understanding of one another -- you pretty much know each other like the back of your hand.”

Now, again, true enough, your “person” need not necessarily be the same as your romantic partner. However, what Rachel is telling us is that sometimes like in her case, you hit the jackpot, and you get both in one tidy package.

Now, conceivably, you could be someone’s “person” without a whole lot of mutual learning occurring. So, what do you need to do to take it to that next level, where you mutually learn from your “person”? You need a specific ingredient. Which one? Well, the quality Mark exhibited when he first met Rachel, “We met at a fraternity party a couple times and whenever I talked to her while I was a freshman I always thought that she was a senior, so I kind of thought she was out of my league.” What Mark is telling us is that you need humility.

Humility, a quality that both Rachel and Mark exhibit, is a prerequisite not just for recognizing how pivotal relationships can be in our lives, but a prerequisite for any learning. After all, if you think you are perfect and know everything already, why try to learn?

So, Rachel and Mark, what we wish for you is that you continue to be each other’s “person”, and continue to learn from each other. Continue to think about each other the way Erin Parker writes about her “person”:

“I feel completely and utterly indebted to you for the part you’ve played in my life, but what’s even greater is that I know you’d say the same. What you do for me is exactly what I’d do for you, and that’s what sets us apart... We do for each other because we want to, never for something in return. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t feel overwhelmingly grateful that you’re on my side.”

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Nothing in Life That Feels More Right to Me


Saturday evening, Lorca Smetana and I co-officiated Sara and Pete’s wedding ceremony, at the Yellowstone Club, in Big Sky, Montana. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Some of you have been to Montana before, and a few of you, like Lorca, live here. So, this magnificent view might be something you are used to. Having spent the last 14 years of my life in Dallas, the Big D, and having never been here, in Big Sky, before, allow me to just say, wow! Northeast Texas is fairly flat, and we have pretty much covered as much of it as we could in concrete, and we have a lot more of that stuff available to us. Y’all here in Montana seem to be differently inclined.


This view being what it is, if someone asked you why this couple chose this location, a verbal response might not even be necessary. You could just snap a picture with your phone and text it to them. Asked and answered. However, if you know anything about these two and their relationship, you know there is a deeper answer. This type of setting is really symbolic of Sara and Peter’s relationship, from the very start. Listen to what Sara says:

“From the beginning it felt easy and it felt right. I was completely myself and it felt great... After our first dinner, we randomly went clubbing (which I never do), and just had the best night together. I realized quickly that we had so much in common and that we both could just go with the flow and were always up for an adventure.”

It sounds so, what’s the word I am looking for? It’s on the tip of my tongue... Hmmm... Ah, well, it’ll come back to me... Listen to Peter’s description of that very beginning of their relationship: “So we met for dinner, I don't remember exactly what we talked about, but we had a great conversation, and everything seemed to just be natural.” That’s the word I was looking for, natural. Kind of like this setting Sara and Peter brought us all to today!

The beauty of nature is that unlike the concrete kingdoms many of us live in, it is here not because of anything we have done. It preceded not only us as individuals, but our very species. We can admire it, we can protect it, we can affirm it, but we are not its cause. This wedding celebration is much the same. We are here not as a cause of this union, one or two Facebook friends 4.5 years ago notwithstanding. We are here to admire, protect and affirm what these two lovers choose to do today.

Finally, this setting is so apt because the natural nature, if you will, of Sara and Peter’s relationship has pervaded their relationship to this very day, and it characterizes the reason for this next step in that relationship.

I always ask every couple not only why they want to get married, but why now. Sara’s answer is, “I want to marry him now because there’s nothing in life that feels more right to me.” And Peter further clarifies, “It is a large milestone, but I see it more as a progression then a start or an end of something. Getting married just affirms what Sara and I already have going together.”

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Maybe All We Need is Just a Little Faith


Saturday afternoon, I officiated a celebration of McKenna and Michael’s marriage, at the Southridge Lakes Clubhouse, in Southlake, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

One of the things that most fascinated me about McKenna and Michael’s relationship is their different paths in life, that eventually brought them together. Roll back the tape, and it’s not at all obvious that we stand with them here today. What are the odds of this girl from Fresno and this boy from Southlake, meeting in Italy, becoming friends, and eventually, back stateside, becoming a lot more than friends, leading them to this very celebration?


Interestingly, when I was writing this ceremony, I just happened to be listening to “Destiny” by Jim Brickman, which I had not heard for years. He asks the same question:

What if I never knew
What if I never found you
I'd never have this feeling in my heart
How did this come to be
I don't know how you found me…

Being the nice Jewish boy that he is, Jim actually answers this, unwittingly, with an answer from the Talmud, the foundational book of Judaism. (That’s right, it’s not the Bible, actually; the foundational book of Judaism is the Talmud!)

The Talmud tells us that 40 days prior to the formation of an embryo, a heavenly voice proclaims, “The daughter of so and so, shall marry so and so.” Or as Jim puts it:

… You’re my destiny
You and I were meant to be
With all my heart and soul
I give my love to have and hold
And as far as I can see
You were always meant to be my destiny

Essentially, Jewish tradition tells us that, yes, McKenna and Michael were destined, from before they were even born, to stand with us here today. There is actually a word for this in Yiddish, bashert, which means “meant to be”, or match made in heaven.” Is that incredible or what?

Incidentally, if you continue to listen to the song, Jim, I am sure unwittingly, reflects something that we find not in the Jewish tradition, but in Mormon theology, where marriage is, “for time and all eternity”:

I wanted someone like you
Someone that I could hold on to
And give my love until the end of time
But forever was just a word
Something I'd only heard about
But now you’re always there for me
When you say forever I'll believe

Pretty wild, huh?

So, what was it that did the trick for McKenna and Michael? We need not guess. McKenna tells us: “Since I was little, I knew exactly what I wanted to find in my future husband… I knew I wanted someone who was always kind and gentle, and that I could depend on for anything. I knew I wanted someone who loved God more than he loved me.”

This fascinated me, because it reminded me of a story from the Midrash. The Midrash is not a book, but a genre of Jewish literature. The Ancient Rabbis in the Midrash fill in gaps in the Biblical narrative. One of the most dramatic moments in the soap opera that makes up the latter part of Genesis, is when Jacob, who thought his favorite son, Joseph, was dead, gets to see him, again. The teenager he thought long lost, twenty-two years prior, is now the sagely viceroy of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, the god-king of the mightiest country on earth.

It is a very emotional moment. The Rabbis tell us the strangest thing, though. They say that right before they embrace, Jacob recites the Shema, the proclamation that is first and last on the lips of devout Jews every day; the same words that are supposed to be the final words uttered by every Jew, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” Through this legend, the Rabbis wish to express the idea that McKenna expresses, that the love of God must precede everything.

Even if you are not a Mormon, not a Jew, and yes, not even a theist, this is an important idea. It is paramount that your values, your beliefs, your convictions precede everything. And, guess what, THAT makes you even more lovable! That makes you even more ready, in Michael’s words, to “take on all of life’s adventures together.”

And in the final words of Jim Brickman’s song, he speaks of embracing his beloved and loving her, “with all my heart and soul,” the exact phrase used in the second verse of the Shema. However, once again, he precedes that with these words, “Maybe all we need is just a little faith…”

And, then Jim unites the two complementary ideas we started with, one from the Jewish faith and one from the Mormon faith, which come together in McKenna and Michael’s union:

I believe that love will find a way
Baby you’re my destiny
You and I were meant to be
With all my heart and soul
I give my love to have and hold
And as far as I can see
From now until eternity
You were always meant to be
My destiny

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Do Justice, Love Goodness, Walk Modestly


Saturday night, I officiated Paige and Zach’s wedding ceremony at the Balcony Ballroom, in Metairie, Louisiana. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I began by introducing myself as a rabbi, and hopefully by this point in the ceremony, I have backed up this claim. What if I told, though, that one of the other people standing here could have ended up in my place? No joke; listen to what Zach says: “As a boy, my Judaism was a large part of my life. I went to Hebrew school on Saturdays, Judaica [classes] on Wednesdays and I sang Hebrew around the house for fun... My family… thought that I was going to be a Rabbi!” Now, many kids barely last through their Bar Mitzvah, but Zach continued through Confirmation, and attended weekly Hebrew High School classes for his entire time in high school.


Paige was no slouch either. She says: “Both my sisters and I went to catholic school from kindergarten until senior year of high school. During this time, I was taught all about the Catholic religion… in school and during my daily life. I received the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, and Confirmation.”

Now, you might wonder why I am emphasizing these parts of Paige and Zach’s biographies. I’ll tell you why. Because for Paige and Zach it didn’t stop there. They understood the message of their upbringing, that the ritual aspects of their faiths were a starting point, not an end point. They absorbed the underlying imperative of our faiths, so beautifully stated by Pope Francis, “Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: We are all children of God, we believe in love.”

Paige and Zach understand that this is not just a statement of faith; it is a call to action. What action? The prophet Micah told us 2,700 years ago. The people ask him: “With what shall I approach the Lord, do homage to God on high? Shall I approach Him with burnt offerings… Shall I give my first-born?” And Micah simply answers, “He has told you… what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice, and to love goodness, and to walk modestly with your God.”

The values of justice and goodness and modesty are what Paige and Zach absorbed, as they grew and matured spiritually, and this is what they brought to each other and to their relationship. This is why Zach says, “I feel she makes me a genuinely better person… I am so happy when I am with her.” This is what causes Paige to say, “I love this man and I count myself lucky to have him… He is everything I… ever wanted… I look forward to the coming years together.”

Monday, June 11, 2018

It Was Love


Saturday evening, I got to witness Ariela and Gerardo’s fascinating shamanic wedding ceremony, conducted by Mary Coba. I then officiated their Jewish wedding ceremony. Both ceremonies took place on the beach of Villa Chenera on Isla Mujeres outside Cancun, Mexico. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:


I ask couples to review about a list readings, and see if they want to incorporate any of them into their ceremony. I always recommend that they NOT incorporate a reading, just to have a reading. Rather, I encourage them to see if they connect with any reading, if they feel like it describes their love story. In Ariela and Gerardo’s case, not only did they find such a reading; they so “hit the nail on its head”, in describing their love, that I felt like I had to incorporate it into my remarks, something I rarely do.

First, though, what is Ariela and Gerardo’s love story all about?

Listen to Ariela describe it, “It’s all about seeing things in a mindful way, understanding others and having compassion. It’s about unconditional love for yourself and others.”

Now, you might be scratching your head right now. That’s not about THEIR love story, you might be thinking; that’s about how they feel about the world. THAT my friends, is entirely the point. If this unique ceremony is telling you anything, it is that THAT is Ariela and Gerardo’s approach to spirituality. It is about mindfulness, but not a mindfulness that just looks inward. It is about a mindfulness that takes in and cares for the world. Their mindfulness is about one word, love, in its broadest sense.

So, now, listen to this reading from The Alchemist. Not to belabor the pun, this is pure gold:

“When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”

Wow. Is that powerful or what?

OK, so you may again be wondering: Wait a minute, sure the reading starts with a universality of love, but doesn’t it then veer towards a uniqueness of the love between two lovers? Well, yes it does, and once again, THAT is the point.

The ideal love is one that bears within it that contradiction. It comes from, “an unconditional love for yourself and others,” as Ariela described it, in a language that everyone can understand, as the Alchemist author puts it. Yet, at the same time, such love causes one to feel like one is in the presence of the only other person in the world. Everything and everyone else melt away.

Finally, this is the same message expressed through the Seven Marriage Blessings, which come a little later in this ceremony. The first five don’t even talk about marriage! They talk about love for the world, humanity, and redemption. The final two talk about marriage, and invoke the Adam and Eve story, the only love story where two lovers really are the only persons in the entire world.

Monday, June 4, 2018

I Am So Lucky That This Person Has Chosen Me


Sunday evening, I officiated Megan and Rozen’s wedding ceremony, at the Cotton Mill, in McKinney, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:


When I sat down to write these remarks I thought of this verse: “A woman of valor who can find, her worth is greater than pearls.” I thought of this not only because Friday night it is customary for Jewish husbands to sing this verse to their wives, but also because of something that Megan taught me about two months ago. She shared with me that her Hebrew name was Pnina. I asked why. She told me that Megan means pearl, which is Pnina in Hebrew. Simple, beautiful, and simply beautiful.

Now, this idea of worth or something being “above worth of” is actually a theme in Megan and Rozen’s relationship. Rozen’s first reaction to seeing Megan was, “Wow that girl is way out of my league.” Megan’s description of her smitten first interaction with Rozen is similar to his first impression of her, “He was this confident, handsome, intelligent boy with the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen.”

Now, the word translated as “worth” could be translated as “price”. I find that interesting in light of the backstory of Megan and Rozen’s first seemingly random interaction in Sociology class. Rozen says, “At the beginning of the semester, our teacher placed everyone into groups. His method of deciding the groups was by handing out little toy frogs of different color. She was given a purple frog, and I had been given a green frog. I was not okay with that, so I took out all the money I had in my wallet at the time (it was like 20 bucks) and asked the guy sitting next to me (who had gotten a purple frog as well) to trade me frogs for 20 dollars, no questions asked. We were now placed in the same group; my plan had worked!” We agree, Rozen, it definitely did!

And, Megan thinks that investment paid off for her too. She says, “Rozen has always pushed me to pursue my dreams no matter what they may be. He has been a constant support through all of the ups and downs that life has brought, and I am truly grateful for someone as understanding, patient, and loyal as him.” That is why she says, “I knew many years ago that Rozen would be the man that I was going to marry.”

Rozen knew too. He says, and gentlemen, be forewarned, you are about to wince when you hear what he did, “I knew that I wanted to marry Megan about 2 years into our relationship. But I was broke and didn’t think it was the right time to propose. Fast forward to November 2014, I felt like the timing was right, so I sold my motorcycle and used that money to purchase an engagement ring.” Wow. The man sold his motorcycle. Now, THAT’S true love.

Humor aside, the formula that Megan and Rozen have adopted is the formula for a lasting marriage. When two people wake up every morning, and say, “Wow, I can’t believe this; I am so lucky that this person has chosen me,” that relationship’s worth, truly cannot be measured. We should all be so lucky.