It was a wonderful wedding.
For my husband and me, it was a milestone, as we watched the first of our friends’ children to be married, a young woman we have known since she was 9 years old. Now twenty-four, she was as beautiful and confident as a bride could be, crazy about her groom, both of them giddy with the happiness that comes from being in love and being loved in a way they never have before. The Reverend, with a voice that could be on the radio, said this: “God has been preparing you for each other.” I thought that was such a profound way to describe the path that leads each of us to our partners in life, and whether you believe in God, or fate, or something else, there is that moment when you realize that THIS is the person you’ve been waiting for.
The next Sunday, as I settled in with the Sunday New York Times, I was struck by the perfectly timed coincidence of an article in the Opinionator section by Diane Ackerman, titled “The Brain On Love.” Ackerman has the unique ability to translate scientific data into readable, fascinating prose for the general population – as in her book “A Natural History of Love.” In this article, Ackerman talks about how the brain is literally transformed by loving relationships of all kinds, especially with a spouse or other life partner. I especially like this point:
“When two people become a couple, the brain extends its idea of self to include the other; instead of the slender pronoun “I,” a plural self emerges who can borrow some of the other’s assets and strengths.”
Is there any relationship more powerful, more important, than a lifelong commitment that works? The depth of the connection between two people in a long-term relationship is something no one can explain – it is unique for each couple. Ackerman compares the love between a happily married couple to the contentment felt by an adored baby, the ultimate sense of security and peace. How can one top imagery like that?
The newly married couple’s first dance was to the classic Ray Charles song “Come Rain or Come Shine,” which is such a perfect example of the feelings of love and commitment one hopes to find in life. No matter what, I’m there for you. Through the good and the bad, I’m there for you. You are my other half. Come rain or come shine.
I was honored to be asked to write a few words to be read during the ceremony explaining women to the groom. After talking with the bride, I came up with this:
She’s complicated. Women are mysterious, a mix of moods and emotions that men grow to understand as the marriage bond deepens. Her love for you is constant, her commitment to you unwavering. What she needs most of all is to know that you are always going to be there for her: to make her laugh, to look at the world with the same eyes. You are the strength to her softness, a hand to hold in the middle of the night, a shoulder to lean her head on when she grows tired. Your love should be as easy as a gentle touch. She will be your partner in life, your safe haven. Perhaps she’s not so complicated after all.
My hope for these two is that their love will deepen and strengthen as they make their way together in the world, that they will look at each other and see a mirror of themselves, a face looking back at them that says “I know you.” This is the best thing that could happen.
Come rain or come shine.