Happy Marriage: Free Advice


On Saturday night, my niece Spencer got married at The Liberty Warehouse, the most spectacular location for a wedding on a beautiful summer night.

At this time in my life, weddings are a time for reflection on my marriage, as well as on the overall idea of marriage as I look to the future for my adult children. Marrying Tom was the single best thing I’ve ever done, and yet a happy marriage is a hard mission to accomplish. Saying “I Do” for the rest of your life is no easy task, especially today when we have the attention span of goldfish.

Spencer asked me to be a part of her ceremony. She wanted me to give her and her future husband advice for a happy marriage. I’m sure she thought that as a writer, and someone who was happily married, it would be an easy task, and to be honest, I thought it would be too. I usually have no problem sitting in front of an empty screen and banging out 1000 words. But, it was one of the more difficult pieces I’ve ever had to write.

  1. This wasn’t something I was writing inside a card. It was to be read in front of hundreds of people.
  2. I had to be brief – I limited myself to 90 seconds.
  3. It had to ring true and be “doable.”
  4. I wanted it to be about the bride and groom, and not me and Tom.
  5. Was I jinxing my marriage by daring to give others advice?

I started with an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin to set the overall theme of the message.

Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.

And then came my advice:

Laughter is your secret weapon. If you can laugh together, you can get through anything.

A successful marriage involves conscious effort. Don’t expect challenges to clear up on their own. And when all else fails, rock, paper, scissors is a good alternative.

Embrace change. I’ve had at least three marriages, all to the same person. Humans are works in progress. A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

I think it went well.

Have fun. Be bold.


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