Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Exciting Journey Just Waiting to Unfold

Recently I officiated Stephanie and Jeremy's wedding at the beautiful Mediterranean Villa in Arlington, Texas. This is the first time I officiated a wedding for two Mensa eligible people! Here are the remarks I shared with them:

I think that this couple is indeed one you can learn from, first and foremost, because both of them are really just so darn smart, just from the technical official IQ kind of perspective. We are talking, "scary smart!"

Really, though, it is more than that. I had the feeling when I was talking to Stephanie and Jeremy that they are, in a sense, while young and fun individuals, old souls, who possess wisdom beyond their chronological ages. The reason for that, I think, is that they have had to deal with challenges a little bit more than would seem fair. Now, none of us chooses to have the types of challenges that fate put in their paths, but dealing with those challenges successfully matured them, and gave them wisdom far beyond their years.

Now, in some instances, and with some people, even dealing successfully with those kinds of curveballs might leave one bitter and sour towards life. One could not even be blamed for such a reaction. But that is just not Stephanie and Jeremy. With them, it is if anything, quite the opposite. They just possess a zest for life, which is infectious. Therefore, they truly view their present and future as individuals and as a couple, as an exciting journey, just waiting to unfold.

In that spirit, let's wait no more, and with their vows in just a moment, let's begin the rest of that journey now. Because with these two, I have a feeling, that we ain't seen nothing yet!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Choose You!

Last Saturday I co-officiated Moriah and Max's wedding at the church Moriah grew up in, with her dad. It was a wonderful celebration. Here are the remarks I shared with them:

Officiating with the bride's father is one thing, but giving some meaningful personal remarks after the bride's father just did... Wow! That is super challenging.

So, anyway, when you are at such a disadvantage in comparison to your co-officiant, you need a system. I try to spend as much time as I can with every couple really trying to get to know them. I am always really curious about what their love is like, and why they want to get married.

What struck me about Moriah and Max is how deep their love runs, and how mature a relationship they have. They are not only lovers, they are soul mates and best friends. Every now and then, you know, we run into a couple who may be lovers, but we are not sure they are friends. We worry, what will happen when they face a challenge? Will they make it? No need to worry about Moriah and Max in that department! Listen to how Moriah describes the depth of their relationship. She writes, "We want to get married because it means that there will be good times, and there will be hard times, and we will be together, united to face or embrace, whatever comes our way..."

Moriah and Max understand that the fundamental fact about abiding and lasting love of any kind, and most importantly between a husband and wife is that it involves what some of our neighbors in Cajun Country call, "stickin'". You stick together and are there for each other no matter what, and that makes you stronger as a couple, while you grow as individuals too.

And Moriah and Max understand a great theme of both of their faiths, that true love is about sacrifice. (You can't really have the same name as the one of the holiest sites on Earth, and not know that, right, Moriah?) Moriah and Max understand that marriage is about vowing to each other in Moriah's words, "I choose you, and I choose to stand by you no matter what, forever, because I love you." How beautiful is that? That really says it all. Thank you guys! What a wonderful lesson for all of us.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Making Your Differences Work for You

This last weekend I officiated my 150th wedding! Vanessa and Andy married at the Westin at the Galleria in Dallas, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

One of the first things I ask every couple, when I first meet with them, is to tell me about themselves. I usually say something along these lines, actually, "Tell me about yourselves, Vanessa pre-Andy, Andy pre-Vanessa, how you met, and what happened since." This is probably the first time a couple said that the "pre" meeting each other phase was rather short, since they met, when they were 6 and 9 respectively. Talk about taking your time to get to know each other, before getting married!

Seriously, though, these two individuals have such a unique and special love that comes from a deep and intimate knowledge of each other. As Andy says about Vanessa, "Vanessa is one of the few people in this world that truly knows me (probably better than anyone at this point), and, better yet, one of fewer that truly knows me AND loves me still."

Now, the last part of what he says may be in jest, but really that is what true love is all about. Each of us has our strengths and our weaknesses. Each of us has our similarities and our differences. True love does not mean that we ignore that. It means we acknowledge it, and make it work in our favor, towards fulfilling our collective goals and dreams. As Vanessa says about her relationship with Andy, "We are both similar and different in so many ways, and our differences truly complement one another. We share many of the same values, have many of the same goals, and fully support one another in achieving our dreams!"

It is that perspective that causes Andy to say, "I cannot wait to continue growing and experiencing all that our relationship and life has to offer," and Vanessa to say, "He is my perfect partner in this journey we call life, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!" Well, friends, I am not one to argue with a bride and groom at their wedding, so if they both can't wait, I shouldn't either, so off we go to the vows!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Priorities in Order

Saturday evening I officiated the wedding of Lauren and David at the Safari Texas Ranch in Richmond, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with this cool couple:

You hear quite often about the millennial generation that they just do not have their priorities in order. Now, most people understand that these assumptions are far from true, as generalizations usually are, but these myths persist.

Now my experience amounts to anecdotal evidence, but I believe that when you get to know Lauren and David, it can further serve to debunk this myth about their cohort. These are two individuals who put their noses to the grindstone. These are two individuals who work hard and play hard. These are two individuals who don't just go with the flow, but analyze their situations, make changes when warranted, and get the job done.

This is true not only in their individual personal and professional lives. This is true in how they approach life as a couple. Here is what Lauren says about this day specifically, "I want a marriage not a wedding. I love to love." David says, "I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together through good times and bad. When you find someone so special, why wait to commit yourself to spend the rest of your life with them?"

What is their focus in these statements? Not the wedding, but the marriage. Not today, but tomorrow. Lauren and David understand that this day, the wedding and its festivities, can become quite meaningless, if IT is their focus as a couple. They understand that if on the other hand, they focus on their partnership in life, this day can and does become one wrought with meaning.

Lauren and David, what is it we wish for you? That you continue to keep your priority in order, and through this approach you create a life together, that will fulfill your dreams.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Will Wait For You, I Will Say I Do

This last Sunday I had the great privilege of officiating the wedding of Jacky and Luca in Toronto. Here are the remarks I shares with them. They say it all:

As medical professionals like Jacky and Luca will tell you, the only really worthwhile exercise regime is one you will actually be able to sustain for perpetuity. For me, that has meant mall walking. I take a daily walk of at least 90 minutes in a nice air-conditioned mall.

It's odd, but I do some of my best writing on my iPod during these walks. So the day I wrote these remarks, while walking the local mall, I heard the tail end of a song by Claudia Lee, called Hollywood Sunset. Her refrain, in which she addresses her lover is, "I will wait for you; I will say I do." That kind of stopped me in my tracks, in a way a syrupy pop song shouldn't perhaps. There is something really deep about that statement. It really made me think about some deep underlying and beautiful themes in Jacky and Luca's story.

You see, many of us have experiences or encounters, where we are not ready to embrace what is right in front of us. We know that if we are just given some time we will be ready, and we even implore the Universe to wait. And sometimes, if we are really lucky, we might even hope to hear a voice answering, "I will wait for you; I will say I do."

Then, one day we are ready, and we hope, we pray, that we have not missed out, that the opportunity is still there. And miraculously it is. We hear that voice, much clearer now, "I will wait for you; I will say I do." Oddly, or perhaps not, THESE experiences or encounters are many times much more meaningful, than ones we were ready for the first time.

The thing is that it is also about THESE types of experiences that Lance Armstrong's words, moments after winning his first Tour de France, might be applied too, "If you ever get a second chance in life, you've got to go all the way!"

Now, the fact is that many of us, perhaps all of us, get second chances in life. Circumstances do wait for us, ready to say, "I do." Too often, however, we fritter away those second chances. What is beautiful and inspiring about this couple standing before us, is that they remind us that it need not be that way. We need not let those second chances escape us. We can harness them to make our lives way more meaningful. We can and we should say, "I do."

I believe that when one develops this consciousness to these second chances, this approach can strengthen one beyond belief. And when a couple in love are able to live their lives this way, together they can weather any challenge, just like Jacky and Luca...