Today, Lailan and I are fortunate enough to celebrate thirty years of marriage. And I couldn’t be more blessed. I have the notes from the toast my maternal grandfather, Philip Schuyler Lyon (Papoe), gave at our rehearsal dinner. I thought it would be interesting to read back through his words, and I believe he summed up his five-page toast in one simple sentence when he concluded with “to meet her (Lailan) is to love her.” He simply and accurately captured everything you need to know.
The minute I met Lailan, I really did fall in love with her. Love at first sight is real. Although…it may not always be recommended! Everyone told us, “the first year is the hardest.” That was pretty true. We spent our first year of marriage getting to know each other as we had only met in May 1987, engaged in October and married the following June. Whew! I also heard, “look out for the seven year itch,” or “ten years is the real test.” We must have been too busy with our children to worry too much about years seven and ten! Needless to say, we made it past those milestones.
Over the years, we’ve learned a lot of things and have been blessed in so many ways, but in terms of marriage, we love being reminded of our own vows every time we attend a wedding. We hold hands, we squeeze a little harder every time the pastor expresses words of wisdom we can relate to, and we both sniffle a little (O.K. I’ll admit it!) when so much love fills the entire atmosphere. So, in recognition of our thirtieth anniversary, we wanted to share a poem you may be familiar with, but is worth reading over and over again. We heard this poem last week at a friend’s wedding and it hit home once again. These are great words of advice for those thinking about marriage, those recently married, and even three-decade celebrants like us. Happy wedding season to all of you and I’m so grateful to have met Lailan on that chance encounter so many years ago. “To meet her is to love her.” Truer words have never been spoken. Thank you, Papoe!
The Art of Marriage
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
The courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.
The Art of Marriage by Wilferd A. Peterson, published in THE NEW BOOK OF THE ART OF LIVING, Simon & Schuster, New York, © Wilferd Arlan Peterson, 1962, 1963; ©Lilian Thorpe, 2004.