A Wedding…Dialogue III

Spring Flowers

And they lived happily ever after….well, that is until the end of the story which is,

Till death (or divorce) us do part…”

There is an end to a marriage. The statistics, no matter how you interpret them, confirm that divorce is a reality.  And then there is death.  The statistics are quite firm on that point.  We are left with the unpleasant, if somewhat intimidating thought that, one way or another, there is an ending to the wedding story.

This dialogue is not a post about the pros and cons of divorce.  That is the easy debate.  Rather, it is about a more profound and complex discussion on beginnings and endings. We love beginnings, but we have difficulties with endings.  Fairy tales have a unique way of tidying up endings with “and they lived happily ever after…” where everyone exists in a world without suffering.

Weddings promise the happy ending by offering a fresh beginning with countless possibilities and vast opportunities.  There is an implied guarantee that the romantic scene of hope and renewal, of springtime bliss, complete with blooming flowers and chirping birds, will continue to mark a couple’s life together.  We believe because we want to believe.  When the wedding cake is shared and the music and toasts seem to go on forever, no thought is given to the possibility of divorce.  As for death – well that is decades away…

Summer Flowers

Symbolism for ending scenes are dry leaves scattered across concrete sidewalks, an autumn wind and a setting sun against a darkening sky.  Not quite the poster image to hold up at a wedding reception.  Even so, we cannot mourn for the ending, because we have had the beginning, plus the bonus of the years given to a combined journey.

Autumn Leaves

Perhaps if we understood our fear of endings, we would be more generous with living the promise of togetherness. We lead finite lives that must be lived within a limited timeline.  All those countless possibilities and vast opportunities offered in the beginning must be realized – now, in the present, in every breath we take.  We must capture the wonder of time before it moves into the past.

When the end comes, whatever form it takes, there will be grieving and emotional distress that comes with unwelcome, even acrimonious partings. Even so, the sting will be diminished by the respectful acceptance of the end of a relationship that has grown apart and memories of a life well lived.

And perhaps… maybe, possibly, absolutely…. we have arrived at a new beginning.

Sunset Glow

14 thoughts on “A Wedding…Dialogue III

  1. Thank you for such a wise post. It chimes beautifully with the messages about being present in the here and now in the book I am currently re-reading – Jon Kabat-Zin’s Wherever You Go, There You Are. He quotes extensively from Thoreau, and I love one tiny snippet – ‘the bloom of the present moment’ 🙂

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  2. I don’t know whether I can add anything to what has been said, but here goes.
    “With this ring I thee wed”. A ring-an unending circle often used to describe eternity–a beautiful picture of unending love, For a couple truly in love –a picture of unbroken affection and companionship. But then comes: “In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer.” Life’s daily challenges test our commitment. But, it is the testings of life that enriches the relationship and gives value to the vows we made. Many wedding ceremonies quote “The Love Chapter”–“these three remain, Faith, Hope and Love–and the greatest of these is Love. Therein is the answer. A friend of ours whose wife passed away had been married over sixty years. Someone said to him; “You had a long happy married life.” He said: “It wasn’t long enough”. I was married to a gentleman for over 60 years and I also know that “It wasn’t long enough”.

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    • You have been blessed! The quote that comes to mind is by George Eliot: “What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”
      ― George Eliot

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