The concept of marriage is incredibly simple. It can be described as a “culturally recognized union between people”. I like the more poetic description when “two become one”. Marriage has been around for over 4,000 years. During good times and bad times, in war and in peace, people have and will continue to marry. While the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly postponed thousands of weddings, many have adjusted and married anyways. With the help of technology, digitally broadcasted weddings are becoming more and more common.
What is it though about marriage that drives us to seek out a partner for life? Once upon a time it was perhaps more of a business agreement. In the modern era, it most certainly is about companionship, friendship, commitment, but above all else, love. As humans, we want to be loved; to feel the love in our hearts that another human being has for us. To crave the butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling of love we have for someone else. Love is a two way highway and we want a constant flow of traffic. Millions of years of evolution has wired us this way. To celebrate marriage, love, and one of life’s greatest celebrations, I wanted to share four wedding stories dear to my heart.
On April 28th, 2013 I married the love of my life. Lindsay and I were married in front of our family and friends in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. We were (and still are) incredibly fortunate to have loving, generous, and supportive parents give us such a memorable wedding experience. We were also very blessed to have Lindsay’s grandfather, Kal, attend the wedding. He was the last remaining grandparent on either side and seeing the joy in his eyes as his granddaughter married was something I will never forget. Our wedding was filled with love, laughter, and celebration during a time of peace and prosperity. That was not the case just a couple generations ago.
My grandparents (Julia & Abe Ellis and Eva & Sylvan Dubin) had wedding stories worthy of full length feature films. As romantic as one would think their stories are, by today's standards they may seem hurried. Back in the early 1940s America was in the midst of World War II. Nearly every American man enlisted in the armed forces (Abe was in the Army and Sylvan was in the Navy). There was quite a bit of relocation, training, and of course uncertainty. These men (and women) took whatever time they could get together and made the most of it. After dating for several months, many of which were spent apart and included handwritten letters arriving weekly, Julia & Abe married on April 30, 1945 in Hamilton, Texas. Similarly, Eva & Sylvan during a small window of time together in between tours, met in New Orleans, Louisiana and married on June 12, 1943. Both of my grandparents’ weddings had a small group of family in attendance. Celebrations were brief, the honeymoon was non-existent, and the men were shipped back out to war shortly thereafter. To think how different the times were then and look at all we have now, one easily can see the gratitude of modern day times; pandemic or not. To all the men and women who served, are currently serving, or will one day serve, I thank you.
My parents, Lenny and Sherry married on January 14, 1979 in front of a modest crowd of family and friends. Having met while traveling Europe, my Dad had split up from his friend whom he was backpacking with in order visit Florence, Italy. Unbeknownst to him this was going to be a life altering event. My Mom was traveling Europe with a friend of hers, Charlene, who was actually my Dad’s cousin. The two knew they were both in Europe but had not made specific plans to meet. Phone calls were expensive and kept to a minimum so planning was more like guessing. The stars aligned and my mom and Charlene, ran into my Dad on the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy. Call it meant to be, these two people were destined to become one. Several years of dating, they married and celebrated 41 years of marriage earlier this year.
Marriage is the vehicle we use to show love. And love, like water, will shift and change forms when pressed. Love and marriage may look different today than they did 4000 years ago and will most certainly look different in another 4000 years. However, love is to the human psyche as water is to life.