Sometimes the smallest words, like ‘yes’ and ‘love’, have the biggest, most life-changing meanings.
Yes is an open door. It says “I’m going through”, unlike no which says “Go no further. No exit. Stop. No entry. THE END.”
Such different energies. Such different life paths.
Every day our lives are based on yes and no. Every single day.
Are you aware of how many times you’ve said yes today? How about no? Do you even hear yourself saying them? Every single time we say them, we are moving in one direction or another.
As a wedding celebrant, I meet couples because someone has said “yes!” Someone has said “I want to walk through that door with you.”
Weddings are joyous occasions, and are such a delight to be part of. And for me, always an honour.
When my couples and I agree to work together, one of the things that happens is that I take the time to get to know them so that I can tell their love story. After all, I want their ceremony to be unique to them.
This working relationship begins by asking them a series of questions. They have plenty of time (usually) to answer these, but I ask that they send me their answers independently without sharing them with their partner (though obviously they’ll see what their beloved has written when I send the script back).
It is quite a process. I’m not, by any means, a marriage counsellor. I’m a celebrant. However, I do take my role seriously. Some of my clients really revel in answering the questions and truly ‘get’ the process. Others get quite stuck. Why? Because one of the first questions I ask is “Why are you getting married?”
You’d be amazed how difficult that question is for some people to answer.
The question and answer process makes couples think. And, from my perspective, I learn a huge amount by how much thought and care goes into the answers.
I’ve been officiating weddings since 1995. One of my first weddings was for a young couple with a baby daughter. When I asked my question/s, his reply was that he was marrying her because “she had great legs!” Maybe I’m just a bit too serious for my own good, but even then (in my mid twenties), I’d have hoped for a more solid answer. To my incredible sadness, not long after their wedding, he committed suicide. The relationship wasn’t as he had hoped. It still haunts me.
My job isn’t, at any level, to say whether a couple should or shouldn’t get married. My job is to celebrate their love, their love story, and wish them all the best for a wonderful future. To honour their YES.
I hope, when couples go through the process of answering my questions, that they truly understand what the journey of marriage is about (you know, other than asking each other what you want for dinner every day for years on end!).
Marriage is a dance. What happens if we have two left feet? What happens if each person hears a different tune? What if one person loves to dance, and the other is a wallflower? Could it be that you love bellydancing and he loves rock ‘n’ roll?
What if one person has a free spirit and the other needs routine? Can an introvert and extrovert co-exist? So many questions!
Marriage is a constant course in personal growth. We are invited, daily, to learn more about ourselves. It is about give and take. It is about we and us. Me and you. Indeed, it is a balancing act that no one can ever tutor you in. Looking into the mirror of relationship means we are always receiving feedback about who we are, and what we expect. What do we project onto our partner? How much do we expect them to fill certain needs?
Sometimes people start out on the same page (like my parents), and then as the years roll on, one of them changes. And they keep changing until eventually there is too much distance to keep them under the same roof.
But this is a ‘yes’, too. When we say ‘no’ to another, we are saying ‘yes’ to ourselves. The door to self awareness is the first door we should walk through.
Yes. It’s a beautiful word. Life affirming. Encouraging. It’s an invitation to something better. Maybe it’s someone holding your hand inviting you to somewhere you’ve never been before.
Perhaps, when crafting vows for couples to answer, we, as celebrants, would serve them best if we asked questions in such a way as to see if the answer is ‘yes’ rather than “I will” or “I do”.
Yes, for as long as love shall last.
Yes, for better or worse.
Yes, in sickness and health.
Yes, because in that moment, when we’re wrapped in the power of love, we truly believe we can step through the door into a future together.
Three simple letters.
It says “I want to walk through the door…”
More importantly, it speaks of hope. And in this life, hope is something we all need.