ebony1You, our firstborn are getting married in a little under two weeks. As is the tradition, my husband as father of the bride will get to give the wedding speech whilst I look on silently, as you know this isn’t a usual habit of mine. We never had speeches at our wedding so my experience is limited to the awfully funny ones penned by Richard Curtis in his better known films. But I am not good at being funny so here goes.

Falling in love is easy,  staying in love takes hard work; just like growing anything else that is worthwhile. To share your life with someone is a privilege not afforded to everyone. But to know that there is someone standing next to you who will still love you and hold your hand when you have made a complete and utter mess of everything; when the glow on your cheek has faded and you have hair growing in all the wrong places is a blessing. This is worth treasuring. And if you are supremely lucky as I am, your husband (or wife) won’t see you for what you are, the rounding, greying, wrinkling near-pensioner, but their rose tints will keep on magically working and they will think you are as beautiful as the day they fell for you.

Forgiveness is the hardest and best lesson, both forgive your partner, but also yourself. I can guarantee that at some point one or both of you may make a mistake that will shake your world. If that ever happens then one or both of you will have a big task, to forgive the other. If that happens, try to remember the times when they have carried you and most of all the investment of the years. Despite what the comedians say, long marriages are the envy of many. Commitment isn’t foolish or weak but a sign of character. Bear in mind too, it could be your turn next.

In sickness and in health is a biggy. I am fortunate enough to have seen some wonderful exemplars of this in my life. When you commit to someone you promise to care for them until death parts you. At some point one or other of you will become sick. Step up to the mark and remember your vow. Caring for someone is hard but it is the right thing to do. It’s what makes us human and often brings out the best in us. It is easy to love where there is beauty and ease, the test of you will be how to maintain it when you hit a storm. I know you can do it. I have seen you both rise to this challenge even in your brief time together.

Laugh lots. One of the best bits about knowing someone so well is that you can laugh together and even at each other without offence. Finishing off each other’s sentences and enjoying the ridiculous aspects of life. Fits of the giggles are awesome. Try to find a reason to laugh at the ridiculous every day.

But I have saved the best till last. Love is indeed all around us in its many beautiful forms – parents, children, friends, love of humanity and even our animals. Passion is however, what makes a marriage so don’t lose it. Yes you will at times suffer stress or be down but never forget that spark of love. If you have passion enough to fight, then make sure you put equal passion into making up.  I may be verging on TMI here but make up sex is often the best.

Be in the moment. Live, love laugh every day

But of course, Shakespeare said it so much better than I:

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.