The wedding I officiated a few weeks ago goes to show what a little thought and time can do for a ceremony. There weren’t even any guests – but the mood was reverent and meaningful, perfect, in fact. Mai Mai and Ken are good and truly in love and that shined through all. I opened with a blessing, which is the first stanza of a poem by e.e. cummings. The other three stanzas can be read here.
I thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes
Dear Mai Mai and Ken,
You have honored me today by asking me to solemnize your marriage ceremony. The word “solemn” is appropriate for this occasion, because today we are creating one of the most powerful units of community in this world: the FAMILY.
Yes, we are creating a new family.
As children we looked to our parents and siblings and grandparents, and it may have seemed that the family always existed, and that the condition of “family” was somehow outside of choice. But here’s the truth: Every family is CREATED. Your mother and father were once strangers to each other, just as you, Mai Mai, and you, Ken, were once strangers to each other.
But with your vows today, you will be intentionally welding your lives together and you will be family, not just to yourselves, but to all the world, and to all future generations.
And here is another truth: In the way you live your lives together, you will be creating your own definition of family. Let this family be filled with love and tenderness for each other.
They said some short heartfelt vows by a lone pine tree where the rings were tied with ribbon. Ken, who’s Irish, had made both rings; his was hammered from an American coin, and hers from an Irish one. Did I mention that the engagement ring was made with a stone they’d found together on a geologic mining trip?
I added The Ten Commandments for Married Life, written by my parents’ pastor, that my father had sent me. I altered the tenth commandment, because Mai Mai and Ken are not religious (it referred to God as the ultimate matchmaker).
Ten Commandments for Married Life
By Reverend Hyo Sup Choi
- Do not get angry at the same time. Whenever there is a pitcher, there must be a catcher. In case you strongly feel the need to get angry, please take turns.
- Unless a fire breaks out in the home, do not scream. If both of you begin to scream, the voices will get louder and louder. If the wife screams in soprano, let the husband answer in bass. If the husband screams in tenor, let the wife answer in alto. In this way, there will be harmony.
- Even though you have eyes, do not stare at your spouse’s faults, and even though you have a mouth, do not talk about your spouse’s mistakes. If you see these faults and mistakes through the glasses of love, a fault can be an attraction, and a mistake can be amazing.
- Do not compare your spouse with other persons. If you compare your wife with your sister or mother or if you compare your husband with your brother or father, then you have not fully matured as an adult. It is especially destructive to compare your spouse with someone whom you formerly had a romantic interest in.
- Do not scratch your spouse’s hurt. If you are going to scratch, give comfort by scratching an itchy spot. Wounds should not be scratched. They should be treated and bandaged.
- Do not go to bed angry. If you keep your anger for one day, it may remain for two days; if you keep it for two days, it may continue for four days – that is the character of anger. The way to stop this progression is to solve the problem before going to sleep.
- Do not forget your early romantic feelings. Occasionally repeating some of the acts of your courtship and honeymoon may prove to be a secret potion for revitalizing your marriage.
- Do not give up easily. Remember the Korean proverb that fighting between husband and wife is like cutting water with a sword – it runs back together. If you take the initiative at reconciliation and offer your hand first, the solution will be found easily. Waiting is a bad idea.
- Do not keep secrets from one another. Hiding something can become a habit and can be explosive later. Be open and honest.
- Do remember what has brought you together. You have chosen one another to forge a new family. As family, take measures to love, support, and protect each other – take tangible measures.
And then I pronounced them husband and wife while choking back tears. There were lots and lots of gorgeous photos taken by the professional photographer present. Her name is Vera and you can see her work here. (If you grew up in Joshua Tree, you’ll see portraits of locals you know.) Her photographs will be far superior to mine, but I don’t have access to those (yet). And of course, there was cake. Mind you, not any old wedding cake, but one designed by a specialty designer in Irvine who has won Food Network awards and normally charges a minimum of $2000. She happened to a be a sister of a good friend of the bride’s. The cake was spectacular and elegant. All those succulents on the cake that look freshly clipped? They’re all made of sugar. The electrical circuit board design was very contemporary and creative. It was delicious to boot! (Can’t go much wrong with chocolate and hazelnut, as far as I am concerned.) It was a lovely experience.
Anybody else need marrying? I had so much FUN!