Wedding – Andy and Rachael 07/09/07

Yesterday, we went to a wedding which is always a delightful thing to do. Here is a photo of the happy couple.

Mr and Mrs West – 7th September 2007

You can see more photos of the wedding in my online photo album click here

Weddings are times for celebration but can also cause one to reflect. Mary and I have recently celebrated our 30th Anniversary which you can read about here. It is great to see a young couple making a commitment to each other in this way although this the norm these days compared to when we married all those years ago. Mary and I were recently asked why our marriage had lasted this long – we are still very happy together – I cannot imagine how life might be if we were not together. The following verse was printed on the order of service and I felt that this summed up very well what marriages is really about.

The Art of Marriage

…it is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” every day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is never taking the other for granted.
It is having a shared sense of values and a shared faith.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is cultivating to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each other can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependance is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right person, it is being the right person.

I found these words very thought provoking and in some ways also very challenging. Of course no marriage is perfect – it is a relationship that needs to grow as the years pass. Both partners will change as time passes, experiences both good and bad are the things that cause us to mature together. It would be unrealistic to assume that all of the qualities indicated in the verse above can be achieved over night. A marriage is a ‘work in progress’. In our case we can look back and see how circunstances and events have provided the basis for our relationship to grow and develop to become what it is today. We of course look forward to the future as this evolution continues for as long as we are together.

Of course even this happy occassion took place against the back drop of Andy and Rachael’s life to date which has made them the people they are today. How wonderful to hear Andy saying to Rachael how he feels about her in his wedding speech – clearly a man in love 😉

During the course of the day I was caused to reflect on our own time together and in particular the many happy time that Mary and I, with our family, have spent with the West family. We consider David and Lorna to be very close friends indeed. Our families grew up knowing each other, we went on holidays together and can recount many happy times together. There are too many of these to recount here! But suffice to say that our times together were peppered with fun and laughter and also more serious times when we might have supported each other through more serious and difficult times.

Sadly David passed away on Tuesday 4th March 2003 before either of his sons were married, this would make this occasion both happy and sad, particularly for Lorna and their two boys. I have to confess that there were a few moments during the day when I felt moments of emotion and sadness because of my own sense of loss of David’s companionship (we were close friends from early childhood) and I am not ashamed to admit that I also felt a tear in my eye at time. I am sure that this would apply to other people too who also knew David. It seems to me that although David was absent from his place at the top table on the day that he was certainly present in many peoples hearts. So I just want to end this post with this thought for the missing father of the groom.

The above picture of David at the top of Pulpit Rock in Norway – July 2002.