by Edgar J. Steele
February 12, 2006
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My name is Edgar J. Steele. This is a Nickel Rant.
My eldest daughter married today. At the reception, I was asked to offer a toast. Though speaking extemporaneously, as best I remember, below is what I said. I share it with you now as a sort of Valentine. May these words help to renew the love in your heart.
My good friend Jeffy has observed that both partners to a marriage each must contribute 75% in order to feel they are being met halfway. I commend the wisdom of his words to you.
I have three wishes for you as you begin your life together:
My first wish is that you experience true commitment. During today's ceremony, we heard you promise lifelong commitment to one another, which sounds fine, so far as it goes. Now I invite you to wake up each and every day, then choose, all over again, to be with each other.
In reality, that is just the way that we live, you know. Each partner to a marriage has a fresh choice each morning. Many are the times that I think in precisely those terms and, after considering what alternatives might exist, actually say to myself, "I choose to be married to her all over again today."
When times are tough, when you feel he hasn't said "I love you" recently or hasn't totally been there for you, look over and notice that he still is there, in fact. By simply being there, he makes clear his having chosen to be with you, all over again, that very same day. Realize that he had other choices he could have made. Recognize that reality. Make the same choice each day of your life. In this fashion, true commitment is constructed.
Commitment is not a one-time event, but a lifetime endeavor, built up one day at a time.
My second wish for you is that you experience love. Not just the sort of love we know you feel when times are good, as they are today, but true love, the sort that endures and bridges the troubles and flat spots of life. Look into each other's eyes right now. Now, think about the first moment you set eyes upon one another. What was there about that time that caught your eye? Recall the following days and what drew you together. Think about just what it was that fascinated you about the other and sear it into your consciousness right now. Do you have that thought clearly in mind? Good.
Every marriage has its troubles and its flat spots. Making a life with another takes real work. Rest assured that, of all the married people present here today, not a single one has failed to say, at least once, "Why on earth am I married to him (or her)?" Not one. When you hit those flat spots, whether next week, next month or twenty years from now, reach into your mind and retrieve that memory you just created. In that way, you will remember, all over again, why you fell in love in the first place and you will, once again, fall in love. It will sustain you and get you over the flat spots in life.
My third wish for you is that you experience loving a child, the sort of love that you taught us, your parents. Now, this is no cheap agitation for grandchildren, but there is something that only a parent really can understand. And the parents here instantly will recognize and agree with what I am about to say. The best reason for having children . . . the single, best reason . . . is that they will teach you, as you have us, that it is possible to love somebody else more than you love yourselves. Just as we do you.
True commitment, true love and love of a child. These are my wishes and my hopes for you as you start your life together.
With that, I raised my champagne glass and, looking toward my daughter and her new husband, promptly and clumsily spilled half its contents upon my wife, sitting next to me. "Flat spots like this one, for example," I shouted out over the howls of all those present.
My name is Edgar J. Steele. Thanks for listening. Please visit my
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Copyright ©2006, Edgar J. Steele
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