My thoughts….

“You can be knowledgeable with other men’s knowledge, but you can’t become wise with other men’s wisdom.” (Michel de Montaigne, 1592)

Here’s my knowledge to share and my personal wisdom. I hope it helps.

Weddings are intended to be a Rite of Passage. A change of life-style. We go from living as singles to living as a couple. We choose then to focus our energy, our patience, our support to the #1 Most Important Person in our lives…our spouse.

Last Sunday, when I ushered at my church, that has a seating capacity of 1,200, and handed out bulletins to the 200 who attended…we wore latex gloves. That’s when I started to think, “Toto, I have a feeling this isn’t just China anymore.”

This Sunday there will be no Masses…all our churches are closed. CLOSED! Funerals and Weddings…two of the most important Life Chapter Moments…still happen…but with participation limited to 50 people.

Those of you who have witnessed one of my Rehearsals, know I end them all the same exhortation: “For the next 24 hours, let’s redefine the meaning of the word ‘crisis.’ A crisis is only when someone is in danger of losing their life. Beyond that, it’s a ‘Challenge,’ a ‘Frustration,’ a ‘Disappointment.” BUT, if two people end up married at the end of the day…we as a team, have just hit a home run!”

That knowledge is in my book, “Wonder-filled Weddings” and I’ve heard it re-quoted for 40 years. I never dreamed it would be so spot-on as it is right now in Spring 2020.

I was on television yesterday morning and answered unanticipated questions, before my regular segment started. The words that fell out of my mouth were a shock, even to me: “Always remember, a wedding is about your partNER, not the par-TEE.” The in-studio tech crew started applauding.

Our world has seen weddings happen in less than ideal circumstances many times before. Anybody watch “Gone with the Wind?” (My daughters watch it annually.)  When the Civil War started…. Scarlett was one of many brides who were wed with only two days’ notice, before their gentleman reported for duty. During World War II, men corresponded through basic training with their high school sweetheart, proposed through the mail, came home before “shipping out” and had a wedding in her best wool suit with an orchid corsage…and those marriages lasted 50 years!

During the SARS virus, AIDS, Swine flu…weddings still happened. I have coordinated weddings where the parents were in a wreck on Monday and the wedding still happened. I’ve had Grandparents die the week of the wedding and the ceremony still happened. Most vividly was 9-11, on a Tuesday. I had nine brides wearing Nolte’s gowns…and all those weddings still happened. I was directing one of these (only four days later) weddings and flights were grounded. Attendants were substituted and the groom’s mother couldn’t arrive in KC until the reception, at Hallbrook Country Club.  But the weddings still happened.

Facing “less than ideal circumstances” is the tapestry of marriages. These next few weeks will be intimately important to the couple, as to how they handle this first “less than ideal circumstance.” It will be the bedrock of their next 50 years.  Down the road will be job loss, house fires, financial setbacks, children terminally ill, car wrecks, in-law interference….and the list goes on.

These next few weeks you will show each other new sides to your strength and the reasons you are in love with each other. It will remind you, of the 7.5 billion people in the world…why you chose each other. NONE of these reasons were: “I get to walk down the aisle of a full church and have a great big party afterwards.” Pinterest be damned.

This is the time for authenticity and living in the moment. Truly. Your wedding to this man/woman is waaaaay more than a photo-op to be posted.

I encourage you to drill down to what really matters and if the big party is something you can’t imagine going without to feel “We are newlyweds!”…then reschedule. If you can’t wait to wake up every morning to this man/woman, FINALLY your husband/wife as soon as possible…then keep your wedding date and re-calibrate your expectations.
Either way, you’re creating a bedrock upon which you will rely for many years to come.

Photo: Clayton Jenkins

There’s a reason why God invented Anniversary Celebrations for 5, 10, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50-year commitments. I’ve done most of the above and our “biggie” (#40) is happening at the end of May (church ceremony, dinner, cocktails and dancing). With my personal wisdom and knowledge it’s “Stay calm and live on!”  MJN