Two of my husband’s closest friends got married last month at a beautiful ceremony in a small chapel in Miami. The ceremony was nearly ninety minutes long, featuring elements of both their American and Columbian cultures. The bride wore a gorgeous dress with a long train and delicate lace sleeves. Flowers adorned her hair. The groom was stunning in his tuxedo and bow tie. Everyone and everything was perfect.
My husband was asked to give a speech during the reception, and he’d briefly mentioned this to me earlier in the week. My mind had long since filled with other things, and it wasn’t until he walked up to the mic that I remembered.
He talked of how he came to befriend both the bride and groom, how their friendship had grown through working out together at the gym, and how he had an up-close view of their blossoming relationship. He matter-of-factly told the wedding guests how he knew long before the bride and groom that they were meant for each other and how, when the groom first shared his interest in the bride, his response was, “Yeah, I know.” This was of course met with laughter from the room of joyful wedding guests.
Then he said something I will never forget. “As beautiful as your wedding was, it’s not the most important day of your marriage. The most important day of your marriage is the last.”
He talked about letting go of the smallish things, like dirty socks on the floor and differences in preference for how the dishwasher is loaded. He talked about marriage being hard, how I as his wife could testify that he doesn’t always get it right. He talked about the need for humility and forgiveness. He said he knew his friends were capable of the hard work because he’d seen them put in hours of hard work at the gym.
It was a lovely, sentimental speech. Exactly the kind you’d want a good friend to give at your wedding reception. Our newly married friends sat to his left, nodding and smiling at one another as he spoke.
Then he turned to us, the guests, with a call to action. “We are here to hold them together. When times get hard and they come to us for counsel, our job is to point them back to each other. We are not just here today as witnesses to a beautiful wedding, we are also here to encourage them for the long haul. We are here to point them toward the most important day of their marriage, the last one.”
We each raised a glass in honor of their beautiful wedding day and in response to the challenge to always point them back to each other and to the most important day of their marriage. I fought back tears as my glass clinked with those around me, honored and delighted to be married to the man holding the mic.