It was my privilege to conduct a wedding this afternoon. I am a fan of marriage and really believe in the whole two-becoming-one thing. It's borne out by folk referring to their spouse as "their other half" and, more poignantly, by the widow/widower who says (s)he feels as if (s)he has lost part of her/himself.
However, conducting a wedding's kind of scary too. Scarier than conducting a funeral. Funerals don't tend to be filmed. But with weddings there is the real and present danger that if things go a bit wonky, then you will end up being seen endlessly for all eternity on You've Been Framed or on Youtube.
Anyway, in amongst the serious stuff, and the beautiful poetry the bride had chosen, and the lovely vows they'd written themselves, and all the general loveliness, I thought it wise to inject a touch of humour and reality into the thing, because marriage is such an everyday practical thing, for all that it's also a mystical magical mysterious and miraculous union.
So I turned to one of my favourite poets, Ogden Nash (author of such delights as:
Parsley is gharsley;
Candy is dandy
but liquor is quicker;
Sure deck your lower limbs in pants; Yours are the limbs, my sweeting.
You look divine as you advance — Have you seen yourself retreating?
It was not these "poems" of course, that I chose, but the following:
"The glances over the cocktails
That at one time seemed so sweet
Don't seem quite so amorous
Over the shredded wheat".
and my favourite,
"To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup
Whenever you're wrong admit it
Whenever you're right shut up".
Many a true word has been spoken in jest, don't you think?
As I reminded them of the Biblical saying never to let the sun go down on your wrath, it struck me that in Scotland in the winter that must mean you can't argue after about 4pm. Hard! Maybe "don't go to bed angry" is a more realistic target!
In nearly sixteen years of marriage, we've never had a cross word. Huh? Course we have. We've had arguments, fights and differences of opinion too. But we have tried not to let the sun go down on our wrath. And we've tried not to remember the other's past mistakes and cast things up. I suppose the one bonus of getting older is that forgetting stuff seems to come more easily - in fact remembering is the tricky part...
I wish the pair well for their marriage, and am very grateful to have been part of it. Incidentally, lest there is anyone in the world who's never had the pleasure of watching "The Vicar of Dibley" on television, the picture above is her. Not me. I've never worn robes. Otherwise we're a bit alike though, I suppose.