“Love should be as simple as possible-but no simpler.”
– Albert Einstein (sort of, not really)
I’m likely to make a couple of my friends relatively uncomfortable with this post, for which I apologize, since they are both fairly introverted. Out of respect for that, I’ll keep them anonymous…but they recently did something so profoundly beautiful and inspiring that I couldn’t write anything else today.
The got married. Now, I’ve been married a time or two, so it’s a subject I have some experience with. The first time it was a situation I had very little control over (which is typical for grooms, I hear). It was the day I graduated boot camp and became a Marine, and my parents and sisters whisked me and my bride and daughter to the Mormon Battalion Visitor’s Center, where a very pleasant but completely unknown church official read through about four pages of vows. It’s possibly significant that there is only one blurry, too-dark picture of that event; both me and my bride were still teenagers, desperately trying to do the right thing in the mess we’d made of our lives.
That’s a pretty simple wedding, at least from my perspective. I just looked young and martial and said “Yes, I will” a lot.
My last wedding was not nearly so simple. In fact, it was more of a theatrical production, which is what happens when you have a dance/technology geek and a mixed-media artist getting hitched. It was a collaboration in every way, from the choice of tuxes for me and my Best Man & Woman (yeah, that’s right, I had both) to the lighting design in the theater in which the ceremony took place. Her very religious mother almost didn’t come because of that venue, declaring “That’s where you get married if you don’t want God there.”
But we were determined to do things our way. And let me tell you, it almost killed us. We were our own wedding planners, trying to create a meaningful work out of our love and commitment, and the arguments and stress and rushed feeling was terrible. Oh, and did I mention that we were learning and choreographing a tango to do before our first wedded kiss?
It was a beautiful ceremony, I think. It felt meaningful. But it was also likely more complex than was good for our relationship, because it was such a relief when it was done. We rode to the reception in separate vehicles.
“Short and sweet. Minimal.”
That’s how my friend described his wedding. I don’t for a second believe this was due to laziness or a dislike of ritual; both of them are very discriminating epicures and artists by avocation, so it would have been very easy for them to plan out a gourmet gluten-free whiskey-tasting exquisite-view ceremony with dancing pandas and a gamelan orchestra. Madison is rich like that, and they know people.
Instead they looked at the elements that were absolutely necessary and then chose them with exquisite care: A Justice of the Peace is necessary? They picked one who’s campaign they admired last year for it’s integrity. Have to have witnesses? Fine, they pick two of their closest friends – allowing the focus to be on what they were doing, rather than wedding party antics.
And while they’re both amazingly talented photographers, the only photo posted about the wedding (that I saw) was of their hands together, showing their rings. Which were, of course, beautiful in their elegant simplicity.
I wish them well in their journey together, and feel truly fortunate to know them both. Not just for the good conversation and yummy eats; because the way they live is a reminder of the better self that I strive for.
That, truly, is a powerful kind of love.