As we are entering Wedding Season I thought I would reprise an old column that I submitted in this space five years ago. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been submitting these columns for five years and it’s even harder to believe that five years have gone by since our daughter Meghan’s wedding. I wrote the following article during the lead-up to that grand event. I think the advice is still applicable. See if you’ll agree.
With a success rate of somewhere between 45-55%, (the experts are all pretty vague), it’s good to know that there is still some faith in the institution of marriage. My wife and I have been invited to a number of weddings this summer and our eldest daughter is also getting married this year so marriage has been a running theme around our house for a while now.
So I thought that it would be apropos for me, a veteran of the institution of marriage for close to…what is it now?…hmm…twenty-nine years as of the 5th of September, to offer up some advice to the couples taking the plunge this year. Of course, it will be the males that will be best served with this advice but you ladies might also learn a thing or two from this veteran’s experiences.
My first piece of advice…always remember the number of years that you have been married. Do not hesitate like I just did. They will remember. For a long time. Oh, and by the way, kudos for picking a year that ends in a zero. Good thinking. The addition is so much easier. We were married in 1981; try doing the math with that one!
Second piece of advice…now listen close now…this is very important. Listen. That’s the advice. Listen to them. I know, I know, sometimes they might sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wha, wha, wha” and all, but they’ll ask for a playback and you had better be prepared. And most of the time you can get away with 20-30% accuracy but you have to have some knowledge of the subject. A lot of the time you don’t even have to answer, just nod and stuff but above all…LISTEN!
Here’s another very important piece of advice. Just when they are at their most UN-huggable…give them a hug. Yes, I know, but it’s just like going back to school after the summer break; you’re not going to WANT to do it…but you HAVE to! I’m serious! You should even be doing it now. Just for the practice. I am sure you’ve probably had a few tense moments during the wedding planning and everything; when she’s all crying and incoherent about dresses and flowers and food and such. Go ahead. You can do it. You HAVE to do it.
Now, here’s the big, big one and it’s for both of you and it’s the toughest one to do. It’s even harder than hugging the unhuggable. You have to know when you are wrong, and trust me, you will be wrong, both of you, sometime. And you’ll have to be able to say “I’m SORRY” with meaning. Not the old school yard “I’m sorry” when, really, you’re not, and it’ll probably be the hardest thing for you to do, but it’s the game-saver. You may even have a little experience with this one already, but if you are going to be committed, (to each other not into an institution), you will have to be very good at this one to make the marriage last long enough for you to have difficulty doing the math when asked how long the two of you have been married.
“The ritual of marriage is not simply a social event; it is a crossing of threads in the fabric of fate. Many strands bring the couple and their families together and spin their lives into a fabric that is woven on their children.-“Portuguese-Jewish Wedding Ceremony.